Sound BlasterX G6 First Impressions
Today, Creative Labs announced the launch of the Sound BlasterX: G6 external all purpose external sound card and ampliphier, with the ultimate goal of turning your less than stellar headset into a device that rival headsets that cost hundreds of dollars more. We’ve had the opportunity to use the G6 for over a week now, and are incredibly impressed with the results!
One of the biggest big selling features of the Sound BlasterX: G6 is the universality of the product. Although best used in a PC desktop setting – more on this later – the G6 is also compatible with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and even Nintendo Switch. We don’t get into the technical side of all these devices on GamesReviews, but we do know when something sounds good. For those that need it, however, let’s jump into the specifications!
From Creative, “The Sound BlasterX G6 is a high-resolution gaming DAC amp and USB sound card capable of 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DoP playback. The ultra-low 1 Ohm output impedance perfectly drives performance-grade sensitive 16 Ohm in-ear monitors all the way to professional gaming headsets and studio-grade 600 Ohm headphones. It features Dolby Digital decoding, 7.1 virtual surround sound, sidetone-speaker volume control, and Sound Blaster’s legacy of impressive sound enhancement technologies.”
That is a lot of mumbo jumbo, and while audiophiles will definitely have a good understanding of what that all means, the common folk just see a lot of numbers, abbreviations, and the $149.99 price tag. So what does this device actually do? Enhances those headsets you have lying around your house, boosting their audio capabilities to rival higher end sets. And when you have that great headset that is a few years old, but you don’t want to part with it…the Sound BlasterX G6 is the device for you.
The average gaming headset all come with the same internal capabilities, most importantly the speaker size. It’s the capabilities that are not consistent from headset to headset, such as digital surround sound. This is where the G6 shines. While many gaming headsets have great internal features, the headset themselves don’t necessarily take advantage of them as much as they could. With an external sound card and amplification device like the Sound BlasterX G6, each and every headset can be pushed to the max.
This doesn’t mean your 10 dollar earbuds next to your chair will sound like a 100+ dollar headset. They will sound better, sure, but the devices you use are still limited by the speaker size, etc. What it does mean, however, is that you can take your 3 or 4 year old device that you love – perhaps because of the comfort, the way it’s designed, etc. – and use the G6 to enhance the audio negating the need for a new set. Let’s look at that further.
A number of years ago, Creative Labs sent me their flagship gaming headset, the Sound BlasterX H7 headset. At the time, it was a fantastic headset, but over the last two years, better sets have come out from other companies that take the audio experience just a step further. That being said, I’ve often returned to the H7 headset because of the comfort and feel, and took a hit in audio performance to use a headset I really loved. When plugged into the Sound BlasterX G6, the audio quality is vastly improved. Although the differences are not mind blowing, swapping back and forth between the sound card and the standalone headset did provide some noticieable differences, especially when you factor in the subtle changes you can make to the audio experience on the sound card itself.
But I wanted to take the G6 one step further. Off came the Creative Labs H7 controller, and on went a 3 or 4 year old, Steel Series headset that retailed around 79.99 when released. Released back in 2015, the Steel Series Siberia 200 has seen better days, and has quickly been dwarfed by headsets from across the industry. While the amplification wasn’t quite as good as the H7 – which in turn was not as good as the Stealth 300 from Turtle Beach which was just released this year – it still performed much better with the device than without it.
Although the G6 works with all devices – one of the main selling features in my opinion – it doesn’t work that well in a living room setup such as the one I tested the device in. If you are using a computer desk and large monitor to play all your games, in a close and intimate environment, the G6 makes a lot of sense. But when porting that experience over to a living room, it just doesn’t work as well, and that isn’t a fault on the device, but the nature of gaming in a large room. With headsets plugging directly into controllers, the length of the cords are much shorter than they use to be. Couple that with short cables provided in the box – perhaps longer cables from Creative could have helped this issue – I’d have to it fairly close to the TV to make the entire system work well together.
But that is the end of the major criticisms of this device. The price seems right; at 149.99, more people will likely pick this up to continue using older devices, rather than drop big dollars on a gaming headset. With the G6, players can consistently buy older model headsets and enhance them using this device.
If you are looking to create a better audio experience for yourself, but want to keep using that favourite headset that is a few years past its prime, take a look at the Sound BlasterX G6. You will not be disappointed!
- Works with EverythingDesigned to work with PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC. Designed to work cross-platform, the Sound BlasterX G6 utilizes an optical connection for PS4 and Xbox, USB connection for PC, and a line-in for Nintendo Switch. Additionally, the Sound BlasterX G6 also works in Nintendo Switch USB Dock mode.
- 130dB DNR, 32-bit 384kHz DACUltra-high dynamic range of 130dB. The advanced 32-bit oversampled multi-bit modulator with mismatch shaping technology eliminates distortion, ensuring audio is streamed with the highest level of detail and fidelity.
- Support for Hi-Res Audio FormatsHigh-resolution 32-bit 384kHz PCM and DoP audio formats ensure that music is delivered with true authenticity and accuracy.
- Award-winning Xamp Discrete Headphone AmplificationThe custom-designed Xamp headphone amplifier features discrete components through all stages of amplification in a bi-amp design. Each audio channel is individually amplified to deliver a whole new level of pristine audio fidelity in an authentic, unaltered lossless model. The ultra-low 1 Ohm output impedance perfectly drives performance-grade sensitive 16 Ohm in-ear monitors all the way to professional gaming headsets and studio-grade 600 Ohm headphones.
- Game-Centric DesignThe Sound BlasterX G6 is designed with PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox gamers in mind. With gaming-specific features such as Dolby Digital decoding and Sidetone volume control, the Sound BlasterX G6 provides an incredible improvement over default motherboard audio. Adjust headphone/speaker playback volume and sidetone volume to optimize chat and game audio with a touch of a button.
- Industry-Leading Audio Processing TechnologyEnjoy full audio customization and enhanced audio realism with immersive 7.1 surround virtualization, accurate cues, bass boost, and in-game voice communication enhancements with the Sound Blaster Connect audio suite.