The Sound Blaster X1 is a stable, cheap, and versatile DAC from Inventive that boasts a transparent and detailed efficiency with whichever headphone it’s partnered with. The Tremendous X-Fi tech is extra miss than hit, and the EQ choices don’t all the time have as huge an impact on the sound however regardless the X1 delivers a constant expertise.
- Clear, balanced efficiency
- Punchy, weighty bass
- Tremendous X-Fi extra miss than hit
- EQ doesn’t all the time have a pronounced impact on audio
- Higher efficiency accessible (for more cash)
Tremendous X-FiUpmixes stereo sound into 3D audio
CompatibilityWorks with Home windows PC, Mac, and PS4, PS5, Nintendo Change consoles
Inventive appCustomise the efficiency of the Sound Blaster by means of an app
Inventive has had a protracted presence within the audio market and the Sound Blaster X1 acts as considered one of its reasonably priced options for bettering sound high quality.
Audio is consumed in varied methods, from laptops, tablets, to smartphones, however typically we join our headphones on to a tool, which means most aren’t conscious the sound might be improved with only one small machine.
And that’s what Inventive’s Sound Blaster X1 seems to do, not only for music however for watching films, taking video calls, and enjoying video games – a jack of all trades at a low-cost worth.
- Onboard buttons
- Ok building
The mass of the principle casing is gentle (15g), the primary signal of its reasonably humble asking worth, however the building right here is nice sufficient – it’s not overtly plastic or low cost in look. It’s larger than the THX Onyx or Earmen Eagle, however that’s as a result of it comes with onboard buttons.
There’s a multifunction button (play/pause in addition to mute on/off), quantity management and activation of the Tremendous X-Fi function, all of which offer good, clicky suggestions when pressed and I’ve had no compatibility points utilizing them on Android, iOS, and Home windows PC units.
There’s a pleasant shiny end to the Tremendous X-Fi button that additionally helps in finding it. The lettering on the housing is in gold which provides a pleasant look in opposition to the black background. The silver trim at both finish additionally provides a pleasant contact. There’s a bit of LED gentle subsequent to the X-Fi button that signifies whether or not X-Fi mode has been activated or not.
At one finish is a USB-C port and on the different is a 3.5mm headphone out. The previous is for attaching a USB-C to USB-C cable to attach and energy the Sound Blaster X1 and is the one technique of connection as there’s no USB-A attachment offered.
- Integrates X-Fi holography know-how
- Helps 600ohms headphones
- Two apps: Inventive and Tremendous X-Fi
Like a variety of Inventive’s true wi-fi and full-sized headphones, the Sound Blaster X1 helps the corporate’s X-Fi holography know-how. This upmixes stereo content material into virtualised 3D sound to offer the impact of audio showing across the wearer. It’s supported throughout PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Change, although so far as I can inform the PS4 doesn’t have a USB-C connection…
Powering the efficiency is an AKM 4377 DAC that helps as much as 32-bit audio, although the Sound Blaster X1’s max sampling price hits a ceiling of 24-bit PCM as much as 96kHz.
Frequency response is 10 – 20kHz and Inventive says the DAC can drive headphones as much as 600 ohms. There’s no help for MQA or different hi-res audio codecs.
There are two apps, the principle one being the Inventive app that’s accessible on PC and Mac. Right here is the place the efficiency might be customised. You possibly can change between completely different sound modes, together with ones constructed particularly for video games comparable to Fortnite and Overwatch, in addition to music and film EQ settings.
The Acoustic Engine function is actually enhancements by one other identify, providing a alternative on whether or not to give attention to voice, improve or lower the bass, enhance vocal readability, and improve digital encompass sound, of which the Sound Blaster X1 claims to have the ability to create as much as 7.1 channels.
Crystal Voice goals to reinforce the readability of calls with its two-way noise-cancellation that removes undesirable noise, although this function is just for Home windows PC and Mac. Scout Mode is a gaming-focused function that highlights element so you may hear extra of your environment, just like the footsteps of a participant behind you. To me that seems like dishonest.
The opposite (embedded) app is anxious with the Tremendous X-Fi holographic audio the place you may obtain and mate your listening profile to the Sound Blaster X1.
Sound High quality
- Clear, balanced efficiency
- Punchy bass
- Spacious soundstage
So far as the advantages of plugging within the Sound Blaster X1, it’s a stable however unspectacular efficiency. If all you’re after is a larger sense of element and an expanded soundstage, that’s precisely what the Sound Blaster X1 gives.
A take heed to the Mrs Coulter monitor from Alexandre Desplat’s Golden Compass, the Inventive treats the tinkly piano notes delicately, the trailing edges of treble notes cling within the air, properly fading away. Shifts within the dynamic vary are dealt with astutely, with a pleasant weight to the booming string devices that instantly settles down, the bounce between loud and quiet is dealt with properly.
With Lee Scorsbee’s Airship Journey I discover myself wanting to show the sound up even louder (in a great way). There’s a clear, exact tone to the string devices, with first rate weight offered to the percussion – I might need for a bit of extra depth to the low finish of the frequency vary, however the stability achieved is nice with nobody side of the frequency vary hogging the limelight.
The tone of the Sound Blaster X1’s efficiency does rely on the headphone it’s partnered with. With a Sivga Robin SV021 over-ear it sounded lean, crisp, and fairly sparing, particularly with the midband of frequency vary. A excessive impedance headphone within the Sivga SV023 (300ohms), and the Sivga asserted its personal presence with extra heat to low frequencies, with smoother vocals smoother too; whereas with a pair of Meze Traditional 99, and the sonic signature of the headphones was largely unruffled.
The Inventive Sound Blaster X1 doesn’t search to remodel the soundstage as such, merely to feed music with a finer sense of element, readability, and enlargement. Past that it isn’t essentially the most adventurous-sounding DAC – it doesn’t assault Detach from Interstellar with a lot zeal – the Inventive appears comfy with actually amplifying what’s there reasonably than ‘tampering’ with it.
With Kendrick Lamar’s United in Grief from Mr. Morale & The Massive Steppers, the midrange is equipped with good readability – I can hear each phrase of Kendrick’s fast-pitched rhymes with readability – bass is punchily described and by no means overbearing, whereas the Sound Blaster X1 preserves a great rhythmic stream with the fixed drum beat within the background.
With different tracks from the album – N95 and Die Laborious – there’s extra physique to the bass however the tight and taut sense of punchiness stays, with the bass including to the power ranges of Die Laborious specifically.
Phoebe Bridger’s vocals within the Stranger within the Alps album are ably elevated above the remainder of the instrumentation. The Inventive enlarges and extends the dimensions of the soundstage, bringing her vocals nearer to the ear and digging out a bit of extra element from her tender vocal intonations. The small particulars missed listening by means of the three.5mm jack have a larger presence on the Sound Blaster X1.
With an iPad Professional and podcasts on the prepared I discovered the Sound Blaster X1 gives clear and clear efficiency with vocals, together with first rate weight to bass, spacious soundstage, and pure tone. You possibly can anticipate the identical with video content material – watching Seinfeld on Netflix and Silo on Apple TV+ (with a great weightiness to the Apple TV emblem). It’s constantly clear, clear, and detailed.
The virtualised 5.1 and seven.1 doesn’t yield the efficiency I’d have thought, at the very least with YouTube movies and PC gaming. It’s spacious however I can’t decipher a lot distinction by way of the place the sound is coming from or positioned.
Switching to Tremendous X-Fi, there’s a bigger sense of distance in relation to foreground and background sounds, and it doesn’t unduly alter the tone of the characters’ voices. I discover the bassy register of Widespread’s voice is a bit of stripped away although, music is extra distant and with bass the a part of the frequency vary that’s most affected.
Swapping between Tremendous X-Fi and the stereo with music and I desire the latter over the previous. The best way X-Fi renders music typically sounds synthetic and positioned in entrance of the listener reasonably than wrapping round, whereas stereo is wider and expansive.
Do you have to purchase it?
To wash up audio at a cheap worth: The Sound Blaster X1 does a stable job in offering clearer, cleaner, detailed sound.
If you would like higher efficiency: It’s half the value of an admittedly increased spec (and music centered) DAC like Earmen Eagle, however the Eagle is a step up by way of readability, element, and sharpness.
Who wants a transportable DAC? The reply is anybody and everybody who listens to music continuously. Do you want the Inventive Sound Blaster X1? In the event you’re after a DAC that provides a constant efficiency at a really reasonably priced worth, then presumably.
The quantity of customisation it gives is welcome, although I’d query whether or not some EQ choices have that huge of an impact. It is also used as a mic with headphones to wash up audio or for video calls, so it has a number of strings to its bow.
I nonetheless discover the Tremendous X-Fi extra miss than hit nevertheless it’s not a vital. The Inventive Sound Blaster X1 is a stable, cheap DAC for music, films, gaming, and video calls that’s a step up from an inside DAC of laptops and smartphones.
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The Sound Blaster X1 isn’t a part of the certification programme Microsoft has for licensed merchandise, so it’s unlikely to work with any Xbox console.
Inventive Sound Blaster X1
9.7 x 67 x 175 MM