Today we are testing the Sound Blaster X1, a Hi-res USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier with Super X-Fi® from Creative, a name known in the enthusiast audio department. This new USB-C device allows you to use your favorite wired ⅛″ / 3.5mm headset and connect it to your PlayStation, Nintendo Switch console, or even your phone. Come check out our review of this new device!
Discover details you’ve never heard before with the Sound Blaster X1.
Designed specifically to deliver powerful and pristine audio to your headphones, the super compact Sound Blaster X1 upgrades your audio quality instantly to high-resolution playback with its built-in AKM 4377 DAC. Coupled with the Ti/Burr-Brown™ INA1620 dual audio operational amplifier, the Sound Blaster X1 amplifies and delivers crisp audio to further enhance your listening experience. In simple terms, the Sound Blaster X1 acts as the middleman between your device and headphones to give your audio a clearer, louder, and more impactful boost along with Super X-Fi® Headphone Holography.
Connect it directly via USB-C to your PC, Mac, PlayStation® consoles, or Nintendo Switch™, and it enhances your device’s audio with little effort. It also comes with playback and mic mute buttons, as well as SmartComms Kit via the Creative app on PC and Mac, for a fuss-free way to communicate online during meetings or even in-game chats.
The Sound Blaster X1 is a USB DAC – Digital to Analog Converter – that takes the audio of a device like a computer, cellphone, or gaming console and converts it to an analog signal. This device allows you to use your favorite wired ⅛″ / 3.5mm headset with your newer devices, provided they have a USB-C port.
The device is slightly bigger than a typical USB key and is light, weighing only 15 g / 0.5 oz. I liked how sturdy the device looks and the textured metal finish that is soft to the touch. I really like the form factor of this device. I even used it for some of my daily walks while it was plugged into my cellphone in my pocket – the USB Type-C connector is also solidly hooked.
There are 4 buttons on the Sound Blaster X1. There’s one for Volume Up and another for Volume Down for the built-in amplifier. The main button on top enables or disables the Super X-Fi® audio enhancer. The last button is used to control the microphone’s muted state. It would have been nice to have a small notch on the Volume Up and Down buttons in order to be able to change the volume when the device is sitting in my pocket during a walk, but that’s about it.
In addition to converting digital audio signals to your analog headset, the built-in controls on the device allow you to amplify the volume of your headset independently from the incoming sound signal using a high-precision AKM 32-bit DAC that can deliver up to 115 dB SNR at 24-bit / 96 kHz.
Using this device also allows you to drastically enhance the incoming sound signal with Super X-Fi®, Creative’s sound technology. By simply pressing the round button on the upper part of the Sound Blaster X1 device, the audio signal will instantly be enhanced to Surround, delivering a rich depth. The result is really impressive and a huge step above the regular analog headphones’ sound quality. I also liked that when the device is plugged into a USB-C device, the LED color changes depending on the Super X-Fi activation status: when disabled will have an orange LED lit, and when it is enabled, the LED is solid green.
You can also use it for office meetings, and there’s an active two-way Noise Cancellation feature that works at the microphone recording and headset playback levels. You can mute your microphone by pressing the round button between the Volume Up and Down buttons, and the X1 will confirm muting by changing the LED color to a solid red for a few seconds.
Sound Blaster X1 and PlayStation
I connected the USB Type-C connector to my PlayStation 5 console, and the Audio Output Device was almost instantly recognized as a USB Headset. It then delivered the audio through my headset. Not only does the PlayStation 5 recognize this as a 3D Ready USB Audio Device, but enabling Super X-Fi on the X1 in games was truly amazing, adding surround sound and reaching sound effects I wasn’t able to hear before!
The Sound Blaster X1 is a solid device allowing you to use your analog wired headphones with modern hardware. I liked the device’s small and light form factor and how sturdy it was. Pressing the Super X-Fi button drastically enhances the audio quality, and the result is amazing. If you have a wired headset you would like to keep, then this is a device you should consider.
– In: USB Type-C
– Out: ⅛″ / 3.5mm Headphone-out Jack (4-pole, CTIA)
Creative Sound Blaster X1 Package and Contents
1 x Sound Blaster X1
1 x USB Type-C to Type-C
1 x Quick Start Leaflet
You can purchase your Creative Sound Blaster X1 right here (MSRP $69.99).
This Creative Sound Blaster X1 review is based on a copy provided by Creative.