Creative Sound Blaster X7 - Detailed Review & Impressions
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TeeReQs

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They would work in any configuration, and could dial in sound to a person's preference. I may play around with that, but after the Burson's complete swap is written. I would think the Burson duals and Sparkos singles would be an interesting swap, since the Sparkos duals are so expensive. I have no idea when they'll ship to me, so Yethal is the only one I believe who could even attempt this. I think someone may have already done a review with a mixture of the two, but I could definitely be wrong.
This could be interesting! More work for you @Yethal :D
 
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Yethal

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GarrHaal

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Could you test gaming sound quality too? Sbx effects etc. And of course movies.
 
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untore

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@Yethal can you confirm that drivers do not work on the latest version of wine? Latest stable is 2.0 which is the one that added HID support
 
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Yethal

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  @Yethal can you confirm that drivers do not work on the latest version of wine? Latest stable is 2.0 which is the one that added HID support

Actually, the X7 mostly works on Linux. Both USB and Optical inputs are recognized by ALSA and fully supported, analog output (2.0 and 5.1) is recognized, digital output is recognized. The only thing that doesn't work is switching between speaker out/RCA out/headphone out (since all three are contained within a single interface) and microphone. I tried installing Creative Control Panel in Wine and it didn't crash immediately but it didn't recognize the X7 either. I'll try manually attaching the X7 to Wine instance and see how it goes.
 
I also tried installing Creative Control Panel in ReactOS VM but all I achieved was a bluescreen.
 
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untore

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Actually, the X7 mostly works on Linux. Both USB and Optical inputs are recognized by ALSA and fully supported, analog output (2.0 and 5.1) is recognized, digital output is recognized. The only thing that doesn't work is switching between speaker out/RCA out/headphone out (since all three are contained within a single interface) and microphone. I tried installing Creative Control Panel in Wine and it didn't crash immediately but it didn't recognize the X7 either. I'll try manually attaching the X7 to Wine instance and see how it goes.
 
I also tried installing Creative Control Panel in ReactOS VM but all I achieved was a bluescreen.

make sure you have readwrite permissions on the hid dev, see here
 
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Yethal

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make sure you have readwrite permissions on the hid dev, see here
What might work (but will require some testing) is manually adding the pci device as a drive in Wine config. Unfortunately X7 exposes a schiitload of those and I don't know which one need to be attached to Wine instance in order for the X7 to recognize the device as plugged in. I have to leave the house right now but I should be back in a few hours so I'll test that later. In the meantime I suggest seamless virtualization since this actually works now.
 
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That's brilliant!

Also, I achieved greatness. I finally managed to get the Creative Control Panel working under Linux!



Distro I use (QubesOS) runs all software inside tiny lightweight virtual machines so I setup a Windows VM, slimmed it down, assigned a USB controller to it via VT-d, installed the driver inside the vm and enabled seamless gui. Entire virtual machine consumes less than 512mb of ram and uses one cpu thread.


What might work (but will require some testing) is manually adding the pci device as a drive in Wine config. Unfortunately X7 exposes a schiitload of those and I don't know which one need to be attached to Wine instance in order for the X7 to recognize the device as plugged in. I have to leave the house right now but I should be back in a few hours so I'll test that later. In the meantime I suggest seamless virtualization since this actually works now.
 
Sennheiser Stay updated on Sennheiser at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/SennheiserUSA https://twitter.com/SennheiserUSA http://www.instagram.com/sennheiser https://sennheiser.com/
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Lol, the hunter in my GIF is saying "Clever girl" in admiration of your success, but I have no idea what all the teeth and Old Man Rayman could mean, haha!
 
Sennheiser Stay updated on Sennheiser at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/SennheiserUSA https://twitter.com/SennheiserUSA http://www.instagram.com/sennheiser https://sennheiser.com/
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Yethal

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Lol, the hunter in my GIF is saying "Clever girl" in admiration of your success, but I have no idea what all the teeth and Old Man Rayman could mean, haha!

This is a picture from the "Glorious Linux Master Race" series of memes which by itself is a spoof of Glorious PC Gaming Master Race. Two penguins symbolize Tux (Linux' mascot), smiling guy in the background is Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux and bearded Rayman is Richard Stallman, creator of GNU and Free Software Foundation.
 
Althouh, I do believe this image is a more accurate depiction of what it's like to run Linux on a daily basis:

 
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Op-amp review update: Burson v5i were sent yesterday. Yes, for the past ten days the package was just sitting there in Hong Kong post office doing nothing. Looks like the review will wait a bit longer.
 
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Op-amp review update: Burson v5i were sent yesterday. Yes, for the past ten days the package was just sitting there in Hong Kong post office doing nothing. Looks like the review will wait a bit longer.

Burson just mailed me their op amps. Looks like our reviews may hit Head-Fi around the same time! Going to be a great week. Burson's, M1060, and PC37X!
 
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(copy/pasted my review from the review section)

This is an upgrade (SS3601 and SS3602)

Pros: Clarity, detail, black background, transparency, slight increase in power

Cons: Slightly too large to use the X7 cover, not the cheapest upgrade in the world (if you go for all 4 op-amps)


First, a little about me. Skip this if you want to get right to the meat and potatos.
I've only really been getting into audio since August 2016, with my purchase of the Sennheisher HD 598 paired with my (at the time) Asus ROG Phoebus sound card.
My eyes were opened to just how good sound could.. sound.
I've always had an interest in audio, being a guitarist and gamer, but this being said - I am not a well experienced audiophile, but I am a hobbyist with a bit of an obsession.
Also, thank you Andrew Sparks! He was an absolute pleasure to deal with, would reply quickly and answer any questions I had. I will note that I received a slight dicount for this purchase, as it was of 2X single and 2x dual op-amps.

Gear used 

Creative Soundblaster X7 (which these op-amps are in), 2x Sparkos SS3601 single op-amps, 2x Sparkos SS3602 dual op-amps,  Hifiman HE400i, AKG K712 Pro, Fidelio X2, Little Dot 1+ (with Mullard M8100 tubes and original X7 dual op-amp), Klipsch RP-160M bookshelf speakers.
 
Impressions
The Creative X7 was already a completely satisfactory amp/dac, in which I could find no faults. I was debating buying another amp/dac such as the JDS Element, but decided first after reading some reviews that I would squeeze the most that I can out of the X7.
Well, I'm glad I did. The differences aren't going to be like going from on-board to the X7, or like going from the HD 598 to the HE400i. However, the sound didn't improve in one area - it was improved all around, in a seemingly even way. Sound became louder, more transparent, details were a touch easier to pick up on (some new details in songs were brought to light), I could turn up my volume higher with the X2 before I would hear the noise floor and overall it helped for gaming, as imaging seemed to pick up a touch of accuracy.
I've been leaving the X7 exclusively in high-gain mode, I don't have the ears to notice an improvement apparently, as some say there is a fuller sound to high gain, but any of my headphones are powered easily though they are all sub-100ohm.
I received my Klipsch speakers only a week before the Sparkos op-amps, and I broke them in with pink noise and media for around 50 hours. Switching the op-amps was noticable with the speakers, as well as while using the LD1+ tube amp and X7 only as a DAC.
I have not used any other op-amps to compare to aside from the stock ones.
 My overall impressions are that if you like the Creative X7, and you want as much as you can get out of it - this is worth it. It's like the stock op-amps had the X7 at 85%, while this upgrade brought it up to 100.
 

 
 
 


I ended up making little feet after this photo, so the X7 now sits higher


 
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