What we’re writing today is the Sound Blaster X4 Review which focuses on the Sound Blaster X4 from Creative. It’s the direct successor to the company’s Sound Blaster X3 and comes with notable updates. These include a different colour scheme, an additional port, plus the SmartComms Kit.
The kit is a software solution for macOS and Windows, which we’ll discuss later in our Sound Blaster X4 Review. Before we get into detail, let’s check the product’s packaging and contents.
Our package arrived just in time for our Sound Blaster X4 Review and came in a premium-looking box. The front has an image of the product, along with Sound Blaster’s branding, compatibility, and some features.
Inside, you’ll find the X4, a USB-A to C cable, an optical cable, and the SmartComms Kit leaflet. There’s also a quick start guide and the warranty card.
Sound Blaster X4 Review – Design and Functionality
We’re also looking at the design and functions of the X4 in our Sound Blaster X4 Review. It has an excellent build consisting of a metallic dark grey plastic chassis and is a medium-sized external USB DAC.
The main point of the product’s exterior is its multipurpose dial surrounded by a shining ring. The latter’s colour changes based on the current function of the said dial.
Its primary function is to adjust the sound volume. It will glow blue to indicate the current operation. Pressing the dial will mute sounds, and the glowing ring will pulsate. Pressing it another time unmutes the sound.
You can activate the other operating modes using the left-most button below the dial. If you aren’t sure, it’s the one marked with a mic.
Pressing this mic button will shift the glowing switch from blue to red. It means the dial currently functions as the microphone’s volume controls. Like earlier, pressing the dial mutes the mic, and a red ring will pulsate again.
At the bottom, you’ll find four anti-skid pads for added stability.
The front of the sound card features two 3.5mm analogue ports: a headphone output and mic input. To note, the previous is a hybrid audio port.
When your headphones utilise 4-pole TRRS plugs, you can link them to the single port. Doing this will get the mic and headphones working.
You can find all other inputs and outputs on the rear. The first is a set of four linear ones for connecting active speakers.
The X4 supports 2.0, 5.1, 2.1, and 7.1 speaker configurations. The hybrid 3.5mm optical/linear input is an upgrade over the X3.
You can utilise the port to link external sound sources like digital audio players, smartphones, etc. When using the optical input of the X4, you’re allowing the product to manage the digital-analogue signal conversion.
The last connector on the X4’s rear is a USB-C port for linking with your PC, PS4 or Switch. It’s also for powering the sound card.
Key Features of the Sound Blaster X4
Let’s find out what makes this product a good purchase by discussing its features in our Sound Blaster X4 Review.
The X4 supports up to 7.1 discrete and virtual audio channels. It can deliver incredible audio quality with depth and detail, giving you a brand new listening experience.
Super X-Fi Headphone Holography
Super X-Fi is more than surround sound. It’s Creative’s award-winning sound technology replicating the audio quality of a high-end multi-speaker system in professional studios. That means you can enjoy the same expansive sound in headphones.
It doesn’t miss out on immersive ambient effects and audio cues since it lets you hear everything effortlessly. Even the detail of spoken dialogues is audible with a natural and lifelike soundstage, making it feel more immersive.
All you need to do is press the SXFI button on the X4 to enjoy this superior audio.
Sound Blaster Surround Virtualisation
Creative’s Surround Virtualisation delivers top-notch surround processing with optimised algorithms that determine and enhance the incoming audio’s spatial information. These algorithms optimise the data for the selected output format for a fully immersive auditory experience.
Dolby Digital Live
Windows users can enjoy Dolby Digital Live with the X4. It allows convenient encoding of audio sources to multi-channel surround sound in real-time. Dolby Digital Live simultaneously transfers data with one optical cable solution for decoding in a home theatre system.
Detect the Sound Source with Sound Blaster X4
The X4 helps increase your KDR in FPS games with its SXFI BATTLE Mode and Scout Mode.
SXFI BATTLE Mode allows you to hear gunshots and their direction. It lets you accurately detect the opponents’ location and gain an advantage. Also, it works with SXFI to deliver hyper-realistic audio with unparalleled depth and clarity.
Scout Mode is Creative’s proprietary sound mode that focuses on detection via enhanced audio cues. It enhances in-game audio detail like opponents’ gun reload and ruffling grass for you to notice their slightest movement.
Communicate Smarter with SmartComms Kit
Focus on online meetings without dealing with unnecessary microphone controls. You’ll also sound clear since SmartComms Kit eliminates background noise. This technology is the ultimate solution for the common issues on conference apps.
NoiseClean is a two-way noise cancellation technology that eliminates unwanted noise from both ends of a conference call in real-time.
NoiseClean-in detects static background noise from other users in a call. It suppresses the static noise while retaining vocals and speech. As a result, you can hear them clearly with the cleaned incoming audio. NoiseClean-out works like NoiseClean-in, but for your background noise, so you won’t have to go on mute.
The X4 now has an optical-in port. It has seven I/O connectors, making it easy to plug in multiple audio devices. You can simultaneously use external microphones, headsets, multi-channel speaker systems, gaming consoles, PC, and Mac.
The X4 turns your desktop setup into an audio hub.
Audio Balance lets you easily control volume levels between two audio sources. After setting up the X4, you can adjust the volume mix on the volume control knob. It’s excellent for conference calls while listening to podcasts or music.
Our Sound Blaster X4 Review won’t skip on the X4’s specifications, so let’s take a quick look at these.
The X4 has a PCM stereo playback resolution of 16/24-bit – 48, 96, 192kHz. For optical out, its playback resolution is 16/24-bit – 48, 96, 192kHz. Surround sound 7.1 is PCM 16/24 – 48, 96kHz, while Dolby Digital Live is 16-bit, 48kHz.
The headphones’ amplifier has a normal gain of 32-149Ω and 150-600Ω for its high gain. SnR/THD is 114 sB/0.001% while its ADC Dynamic Range is 104dB THD+N 0.0017%.
For its measurements, the X4 is 130.5 x 130.5 x 40.6mm and weighs 384g.
The X4 supports Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4 & 5. It also works with Android and iOS mobile apps. Plus, it uses a USB-C interface for power.
Lastly, it comes with a limited 1-year limited hardware warranty.
Hands-on with the Sound Blaster X4
We put the X4 to the test, so we’re sharing how well (or not) it worked. But before we get into that, our Sound Blaster X4 Review will discuss two creative apps for the product.
The X4 can work without any software, but you’ll miss out on a lot of features. With this product, you can use the Creative App and SXFI App. Both are available on Windows, Google Play, and the App Store.
Creative App allows customisation of button controls, equaliser adjustments, and access to Sound Blaster technologies. On the other hand, the SXFI App creates your Super X-Fi profile for you to enjoy the SXFI Headphone Holography.
You can tweak the X4’s settings in these apps to achieve the best audio quality. The equaliser allows adjusting each value to suit your preferences. You can also set the direct mode for a pure audio output without effects.
The X4 delivered an outstanding audio quality that matched the more expensive Sound Blaster products. It managed to drive our high impedance headphones with ease.
The available customisation options on the Creative App allowed us to use different sound signatures. We also adjusted each value on the equaliser to achieve our ideal audio quality. The mode button made toggling between presets easier.
The scout mode is for highlighting your opponent’s footsteps or gun reloads. With it, you’ll enjoy a solid and wide soundstage while on music mode.
Sound Blaster X4 Review Summary
Creative has offered another innovative audio solution with the X4. It’s another excellent Sound Blaster product with many unique features, making it perfect for gaming, music, and movies.
When we tested it for our Sound Blaster X4 Review, we had a more enjoyable listening experience. It enhanced all the audio content we tried. It ranged from music to in-game and movie audio.
This product gave a more realistic and immersive sound, which gave us an all-new listening experience.
The X4 performed excellently, and we had no issues with it. We also took advantage of the software that further enhanced its audio quality.
Overall, the Sound Blaster X4 is impressive, which is why it’s something we highly recommend.