Sound BlasterX G6, subject of this review, it's the new one DAC made by Creative: a device that converts the audio signal from digital to analog, and which can substantially improve the sound quality of your gaming system. The G6 is a multi-platform device, so it supports PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch: you can connect it via micro USB cable (included in the package) or optical cable (also included), depending on the case. Does it really do what it promises? Is it only aimed at those with a high end setup? Is it worth the money it costs, specifically 149,99 euros? Let's find out together.
The first impact with the device is extremely positive: the package is small and elegant, with clear references to the color tones that characterize the Sound BlasterX line, black and red. Once the box is opened, the sensations are even better: the "box" has very small dimensions, is compact, weighs about 140 grams and conveys an impression of discreet solidity thanks to the quality plastics used, including the rubberized and non-slip one in the bottom. Seen from above, the device presents on the left side the optical inputs and outputs, as well as the micro USB connector; on the right side the 3,5 mm jack inputs for headphones and microphone, as well as a wheel for adjusting the volume able to give a good feeling of consistency. On the long side there are the switches for the activation of the Scout and SBX modes, as well as the one for the amplification of the gain on two levels. When connected, the Sound BlasterX G6 elegantly sees the X on the body light up with a customizable RGB LED, the wheel with a white light and the small lights that signal the presence of peripherals. In short, it is a very nice object to look at, and the possibility of being able to power it via USB even on Xbox One (even if you have to use the optical cable for audio transmission) is a not insignificant extra: the fewer wires there are around and the better.
The main feature of the Sound BlasterX G6 is the dual Xamp amplifier, present for the first time in a device of the series. Compared to most DACs, the system takes care of amplifying the two audio channels individually, for a definitely better performance. The specifications, after all, speak for themselves: 130 dB with noise reduction, 1 ohm output impedance (up to 600 ohm for headphones), 32-bit / 384 kHz engine, Dolby Digital decoding and presence of the Scout Mode. What is it about? A solution that specifically emphasizes certain sounds in games in order to give us an edge in competitive experiences. Think of the steps of the character controlled by another player, or of a weapon firing in the vicinity: identifying its position in space can be of great help, and this is precisely the goal of this mode. Similarly, 5.1 or 7.1 virtual surround allows you to enjoy games in which the breadth and richness of the scenery make the difference: for example, the newly released Shadow of the Tomb Raider, with its Peruvian jungles full of possible pitfalls, but also the villages full of life and NPCs each dedicated to their own activities; or the upcoming Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which will take us on a far-reaching adventure set in ancient Greek times, in the midst of spectacular battles that also take place aboard ships in the open sea.
We tried the Sound BlasterX G6 with a few titles on PC and Xbox One, getting great results but some important differences in terms of setup. As sometimes happens, in fact, the device can be customized and exploited to the maximum only by using the Sound Blaster Connect software on the Wndows platform: in this way it is possible to fine-tune the various settings, recall different very valid presets and create new ones, thus drawing the sound experience around your needs and tastes. On consoles, this is not possible and you have to settle for options limited to physical buttons: a shame. That said, the difference in the quality and definition of the audio that is obtained using this DAC is evident, especially in the presence of a high-end implant or headset.
In the aforementioned Shadow of the Tomb Raider we found ourselves "hearing" the scenario in an unprecedented way, perceiving sounds that are usually barely mentioned, to the benefit of involvement. In a very similar way, we once again plunged into the ancient Egypt of Assassin's Creed Origins and its vast cities, full of life, finding them even more fascinating. The tension? The atmospheres? DOOM guarantees both with its variable environments, going from dark corridors to wide spaces in which to fight using the great mobility of the character and his devastating arsenal. There is obviously a reason behind these renewed sensations: the uncompressed audio that developers scramble to insert into their games has a potential that we rarely exploit, a bit like playing 4K HDR on a CRT TV. It therefore seems useless to specify it: the G6 can only be useful if you have the opportunity to exploit its potential.
Sound BlasterX G6 is a beautiful, compact, practical, well-designed and convincing device from every point of view. Audio enthusiasts will find a product that does its job very well, amplifying and improving the signal in multiple ways, thus giving full legitimacy to high-end systems and headsets; all at a price that we consider adequate, especially considering how much DACs of a certain level are sold.
- Great audio enhancement
- Elegant, compact, successful design
- Works with all platforms ...
- ... but only on PC is it exploited to the fullest
- The price is fair, but far from low