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Creative Sound Blaster X7 - Detailed Review & Impressions

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by earfonia, Feb 22, 2015.
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  1. mbyrnes
    Speaker settings for surround speakers depends entirely on the speakers. If your fronts are full range, run them that way. Using the 80hz crossover is for small speakers with no bass. You hand the bass off to the sub because the speakers aren't capable of hitting the proper notes.

    Personally, it's probably user dependant. If it does what you say, I'd enable it, and see if you like it. I would think it would boost bass, which may or may not sound good with your selected headphone. I'll have to try this!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  2. slayer6288
    The reply didnt load disregard this
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  3. slayer6288
    Using AKG 712PROS. Not sure which sounds better. But since the headphone is capable of hitting those since there isnt a sub as you know with headphones I wonder what is best.
  4. mbyrnes
    Yeah that is why I think it might depend on the headphone. It's essentially EQ from the sounds of it. Hopefully I can try it out soon enough
  5. TeeReQs
    I always enable full range speakers in windows.
  6. Tacanacy
    I have a Lyr 2 connected to X7, are there any settings I'm supposed to change on the X7? I used a Modi 2U before, and I don't think Lyr 2 was this loud with it. Am I double-amping?
  7. Moxx88
    I was lucky and able to get a brand new soundblaster for 90 bucks. Im very happy so far in terms of gaming and movies but wondering if its possible to add another dac / amp into the chain especially for music.

    Does it make sense?
  8. bigbeard
    Hey, I just moved from a soundblaster Z to an x7, due to space issue inside my pc.

    When I had my Z, I had optical out to my Schiit DAC and AMP with the processed sbx sound sent over the line, for gaming.

    In the x7 control panel, under speakers, there is also an option to do this...it is worded differently but I am assuming it is the same thing, right?

    One problem I have when I do this is that I am unable to control my volume level from windows, for the optical out going into my dac/amp from the x7. I am able to hear, and strqangely, able to mute, but not able to control volume level. Can anyone help me fix this problem?
  9. Fotopaul
    You can indeed output the processed signal to optical out on the X7. However, it's a digital signal, so the volume control is done on the receiving end. In your case the DAC/AMP.
  10. bigbeard
    do you think there would be any benefit to running my setup that way, as opposed to plugging the headphones directly into the x7? using the schiit Bifrost uber with asgard 2 amp on my sein hd800?
  11. halcyon
    Just did the double Sparkos SS3601 and SS3602 full OpAmp upgrade for my X7 (replaced the original NJM2114Ds and the LME49710), because, why not? I also upgraded the power supply to a non-switched, linear, regulated, audio-quality 24V/3A PSU. Also Installed iFi Audio USB Noice filter with ANC.

    Result: extremely sibilant output even on my THX-00 headphones with no EQ (in direct mode). Can't imagine how these would sound on my LCD-2.2 (non-fazor) or some bright pair of headphones.... ugh. Not a nice result.

    I would not recommend Sparkos OpAmp upgrade on X7 to anyone who is sensitive to sibilance.

    Otherwise, the clarity and extension on this upgrade is, imho, well worth the price of entry, unless you want to go the external DAC/AMP route.

    Test tracks that I've listened to hundreds of times, and which I'm intimately familiar with on many systems and which are not known to be of bad quality or very sibilant on other systems (for those interested) :

    Meiko : Playing Favoriters (full album) [Chesky],
    Rajaton Vocal Ensemble: Butterfly [Plastinka]
    Rebecca Pidgeon: Spanish Harlem [Chesky]
    Cantus: What Shall we do with the drunken sailor [Cantus Recordings]
    Riley Lee: Moon Shadows [Narada]
    Urna : Chiwgaiin shili [Oriente Musik]
    Lumen Valo: Piae Cantiones [Sigillum]
    Philip Glass: Floe [Sony Classical]
    Kodo: Bird Island [Red Ink]
    Air: Lucky and Unhappy [Virgin]
    Lenni-Kalle Taipale Trio: Invisible Beauty Of My Flower [Naxos]
    Claire Martin: With Every Breath I take [Linn]

    All FLAC format using Foobar2K (WASAP2/ASIO2).

    Time to start EQing this output.... Youtube can become unbearable to listen to with Sparkos and un-eq'ed output.

    Thanks for all the people who have posted in this thread and helped with the OpAmp discovery on X7!
  12. juicetoon
    I seem to have a problem with my Soundblaster X7.

    This is what my mic input sounds like when the volume hits a certain point: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1gIyzzKXDwjXaGKi_xD_fKFjzjhxNhGcX

    I don't hear this clipping/distortion when I monitor/listen to the Mic Input using the Sound Blaster X7 Control Panel (pushing the volume to the same level). This leads me to believe that the issue lies with the Windows drivers Creative has developed, as I believe the X7 Control Panel interfaces directly with the unit.

    Maybe one of you have run into the same issue, and an alternate driver could fix?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  13. razorpakk
    Can someone elaborate on the difference between Direct mode on/off?

    What I mean by that is Direct Mode makes a massive difference, but what it is exactly? Can any other sound card do something similar?
  14. Yethal
    Under speakers tab enable virtual surround for line/optical out and set the output to line out only (not line/speaker out). THen set the volume on X7 to maximum so it outputs full 2V RMS over the RCA out. No, you're not double amping.

    Yes, you can add another amp via the RCA out or another dac via optical out. While the X7 is a pretty capable device on its own, you may want to push the sound quality of your setup even further by adding more devices to the chain so, yes it does make sense but only if you're dissatisfied with how your current setup sounds.

    IIRC you can only control the volume of the optical out if the output device is set to X7 Speakers and not to X7 Optical Out in Windows Sound Settings. But why would you want to use a digital volume control on the X7 instead of the volume control on the amp?

    Sounds like the microphone gain is set too high, set the gain to a lower value and check whether the issue persists.

    In non-Direct mode every input going into the X7 is routed to an internal digital mixer and mixed together to produce one output stream. In order to do that X7 needs to resample all input streams to a common sampling rate (48kHz) which (in case of CD quality music) is a non-integer resampling (44.1kHz -> 48kHz).
    Direct mode bypasses the internal mixer and routes the single input (USB or S/PDIF) directly to the dac without any resampling.
    As for the difference, it is definitely audible but it's not a night and day difference. Sound becomes slightly clearer and there is a bit less distortion in the highs.
    I don't think any other card can do that however most other cards don't have to as they're either a single-input devices (PCIE cards) or have multiple inputs but only one of them is active at the same time (most external dacs)

    Guys please, if you plan to respond to this comment, please do not quote the entire thing, just the part where I respond to your specific comment.
  15. juicetoon
    I don't have my gain set high i.e. I am not using any Mic Boost.

    The Mic Monitor within X7's control panel does not exhibit the same distortion, at the same volume. It's only when I listen to it using the Windows sound panel/as a recording device.
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