Yesterday, Creative announced their latest DAC, the Creative Sound Blaster X4,
The X4 is the upgraded successor to the well-received Sound Blaster X3, but looking at the product pages and press release, not that much has changed.
Creative Sound Blaster X4 vs Sound Blaster X3
The new X4 has 114 dB audio clarity and 24-bit/192 kHz high-resolution playback.
The older X3 model actually has a better output spec with 32-bit / 192 kHz playback.
Both appear to have the same 600Ω headphone amp
The X4 then has a combo Optical / Line-in jack, while the X3 has just a line-in jack
Dynamic range is slightly different with 114 dB on the X4 vs 115 dB on the X3.
The main advantage of the Creative Sound Blaster X4 seems to be that it works with the new SmartComms Kit rather than the Sound Blaster Control Panel.
I used this with the Creative Sound Blaster Play! 4 and it works well. The main reason to want the SmartComms Kit is the various features it has for the microphone.
- VoiceDetect automatically unmute your mic when you speak, and mute when you stop.
- NoiseClean helps eliminate background noise such as fan noise
- NoiseClean does the same, but in reverse, cleaning up the audio from other people on the call/stream
Both the X4 and X3 work with PC, MAC, PS5, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. However, the SmartComms is only on Windows 10.
Price and Availability
Creative Sound Blaster X3 Hi-Res 7.1 Discrete External USB…
- SUPER X-FI TECHNOLOGY CINEMATIC AUDIO HOLOGRAPHY |…
- 7.1 DISCRETE, VIRTUAL SURROUND, AND DOLBY DIGITAL…
- VARIOUS CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS |The X3 is highly…
- CUSTOMIZABLE EQ PRESETS WITH BUILT-IN AUDIO…
The older Creative Sound Blaster X3 has an RRP of £129.99 and it rarely drops in price by much on Amazon.
The new Creative Sound Blaster X4 is £134.99 direct from Creative.
This is a bit of an odd one, there has been a bit of a downgrade with hardware, but with the popularity of streaming, Zoom calls etc there are significant advantages to be had with the SmartComms Kit.
With the price difference being negligible you will have to weigh up which features you want from your DAC. I’d say most people will get more benefit from the SmartComms Kit than from the higher 32bit audio on the X3.
Full Press Release
Creative Technology today announced the launch of the Sound Blaster X4, the upgraded successor to the well-received Sound Blaster X3 which sports nifty new smart features and better connectivity. The latest USB DAC features both discrete and virtual surround sound powered by Sound Blaster, the award-winning Super X-Fi headphone holography and Dolby Digital Live to deliver the ultimate movie, gaming and music audio experience. With the new SmartComms Kit (for Windows) offering auto-mute and two-way noise cancellation, the Sound Blaster X4 makes online communication easy and fuss-free for users working from home. In addition, the Sound Blaster X4 also comes with a plethora of connectivity options and convenient controls for a hassle-free set-up right out of the box, making it the ideal all-in-one audio upgrade for PC, Mac, PS5, PS4 and Nintendo Switch users.
Sound Blaster X4 offers the ultimate audio upgrade with greater connectivity, hassle-free controls and smarter features all packed into one compact form factor.
Enhanced Audio Experience
The Sound Blaster X4 comes equipped with the capability to drive studio-grade headphones of up to 600Ω with 114 dB audio clarity and 24-bit/192 kHz high-resolution playback. The latest DAC also supports up to 7.1 discrete and virtual surround with three different surround sound delivery options – Super X-Fi (on headphones only), Sound Blaster Surround Virtualization and Dolby Digital Live – that offers greater surround envelopment, depth, immersion and ambience effects for the perfect movie, gaming and music enjoyment. With Super X-Fi, users can experience high-definition holographic audio as though there is a high-end multi-speaker system set up within the headphones with exceptional clarity and powerful bass for a more immersive audio experience.
On the other hand, the Surround Virtualization technology powered by Sound Blaster’s audio expertise works ideally for discrete speaker systems as it is driven by algorithms that can enhance the spatial information of the incoming audio and optimize it to offer users a complete and immersive auditory experience.
For Windows users, the Sound Blaster X4 also features Dolby Digital Live for convenient encoding of any audio sources to multi-channel surround sound in real-time.
For Simpler yet Smarter Communication
With the all-new SmartComms Kit, the Sound Blaster X4 serves as a versatile sound card that can offer users a simpler yet smarter way to communicate online. The VoiceDetect Feature allows users to speak freely without worrying about the mute button as the mute status switches based on voice detection — the microphone gets unmuted instantly when the user’s voice is detected and is muted automatically when no further speech is detected. There is no need to meddle with any buttons, and users can stay focus on the conversations without any disruption.
On top of that, the two-way noise cancellation feature also works to reduce unwanted static background noises during online calls at both ends — NoiseClean-in for incoming audio and NoiseClean-out for outgoing audio — to deliver crystal-clear communication. Whereas, the CrystalVoice technology works to enhance the voice for clearer recordings and in-game communications. For users looking to explore more interesting features, the Voice Morph can offer that fun element as it changes the user’s voice into different characters and accents with a list of tuned profiles.
These features are all conveniently accessible and customizable through the all-new Creative app, which is a new software platform available on both desktop and mobile with an integrated user interface across Creative’s products.
Fitted with a newly added optical/line-in port, users have a more comprehensive range of options to connect the Sound Blaster X4 to multiple audio devices, from external microphones and headsets to PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and even the multi-channel speaker systems to instantly upgrade the audio quality and transform one’s desktop setup into an one-in-all audio hub.
The Sound Blaster X4 offers users hassle-free controls with a sleek turn knob design and an elevated look and feel compared to its predecessor. It is also fitted with dedicated buttons for Audio Balance, Audio Mode selection, Super X-Fi mode, as well as a speaker (Line-out) and headphones switch button to make it easier to toggle between devices.
Users can also easily control the volume levels between two audio sources with the Audio Balance feature on PC, Mac, PS5, or PS4. Once the setup is done, users can simply adjust the volume mix on the volume control knob by turning the knob left to right, and vice versa— a feature that will come in handy for users during conference calls while listening to music or podcasts, or while communicating in-game with teammates.
The Sound Blaster X4 also comes decked out with customizable EQ modes —Music, Movies, and Footsteps Enhancer—each of them specially tuned to enhance audio for different types of content to deliver the optimal audio experience.
With excellent audio performance, greater connectivity options, and smarter features, the Sound Blaster X4 is the perfect all-rounder sound card to work, learn and play from home with.
Pricing and Availability
Sound Blaster X4 is attractively priced at US$149.99 and is available at Creative.com.
For more information, visit www.creative.com/SBX4
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Posted by Mighty Gadget Blog: UK Technology News and Reviews