Creative SoundblasterX G6 Review: THIS or GSX 1000??

the creative labs soundblaster XG 6 is an interesting little Swiss Army knife for both PC and console if it’s managed to catch your attention you’re probably curious if it can power some of the bigger headphones you’ve seen on the channel you may be curious how it stacks up to the GS X 1000 and if it hasn’t caught your attention yet it may be worth a look let’s go this video is brought to you by bookmark com bookmarks a free website builder where you can create a professional looking website with hosting in just a couple minutes by answering seven simple questions bookmarks AI engine 8 a literally build your website right in front of your face in less than two minutes and you can edit virtually every aspect of the page once it’s complete it’s awesome click the link in the description below or check them out at bookmark calm yo a bright P you’re watching fancy tech and today we’re taking a look at the Sound Blaster X g6 external gaming deck and headphone amp from creative

labs I picked this up recently on Amazon the g6 retails for approximately one hundred and fifty dollars depending on where you find it and for me that price point puts it almost in direct competition with the GS X 1000 I know that’s why a lot of you were here today’s will definitely get into that I do have to be transparent that I recently parted ways with my GS X 1000 but I know that unit very well I did have it in-house to do the a/b testing for this video I just didn’t have it around when it came time to shoot all the b-roll footage I do know that a lot of you were just here to see whether or not this unit can handle some of the big mass drop collab headphones you see me review on the channel whether you already own the phones or you already own the g6 you just need to know that in the interest of respecting your time we’ll just do it like this yes it can drive them all of them any headphone you see me review so far it can even handle the big-time power-hungry high from in he4 xx and like 42% to

anything more than that and it’s uncomfortable I was absolutely not expecting this out of a bus powered unit at all but there it is that’s why you’re here thanks so much for stopping by catch you in the next one for everybody else ready to take the deep dive here’s some timestamps I do apologize in advance because there’s so much to cover in this little unit that this review feels like it’s gonna be all over the place but try and stick with me alright I don’t want to spend a lot of time here on paper specs that stuff you guys can on your own what I do want to say here is that this product exceeds that high res audio certification you’ve seen popping up on different audio products specifically geared towards gaming over the past year or so what we’re looking at is 32-bit 384 kilohertz max over USB I point that out to say don’t get too caught up in that if you’re primarily playing games you’re listening to your musical the Spotify chances are you’re not going to pick up on the difference between 24-bit and 32-bit if you’re listening to lossless files you’re using super expensive headphones you probably want to be looking at a different product and I don’t say that to throw any shade it’s just a matter of

picking the right tool for the job in my mind the g6 and the GS x1000 both should be considered if you’re going to be majoring in gaming with a minor in music listening so that said what we essentially have here is an external deck and headphone amp in one unit with a ton of flexibility for the DAC chip it uses a cirrus logic cs4 three-one three-one got a small plastic box here it’s got a rubberized bottom it’s got a big digital volume knob which means it’s going to control the volume using the windows volume settings and it’s got an RGB X logo on the top which you can change in the song it hooks up using micro USB it’s got a 3.5 millimeter mic in plus a line in optical in and a line optical out as well you really don’t see this on units at this price point what this means for the g6 is that you can hook up virtually any source you can think up to this thing well that’s an Xbox one ps4 a Nintendo switch a blu-ray tablet your phone it doesn’t matter you can bring all that stuff in either over 3.5 millimeter line in or you can use optical Toslink in and if you’re

using optical this unit could actually decode dolby digital as well more on that later it’s worth noting that this unit is bus powered if you’re new to this all that means is that the power for the unit is gonna come over the USB cable with no additional power supply so if you’re using it somewhere other than PC chances are you’re gonna have to use a USB 5 volt power adapter plugged into a wall plug the other thing to note here is to set the SB X values the EQ values you’re gonna actually have to configure that in the software on a PC and then save that to the system before you can use those settings on the console another big note here is that chat is only officially supported on the ps4 not the Xbox one nor the switch with the light out functionality you can just use the DAC portion this unit to feed audio to like a powered monitor speaker set up an AV receiver for your home theater surround or even different headphone amp like if you wanted to try out a tube amp or something on your headphones now the GS X 1000 has the same functionality as well it

does have a speaker out but the issue with the GS X 1000 the main drawback to that unit is that sometimes you’re gonna be in a position where you have to output to a separate more powerful headphone amp to drive some of the bigger headphones not only to get the volume that you need but also the dynamics for the headphone which means that it’s not only gonna sound louder it’s gonna sound better with a proper amp a lot of people don’t believe this but that’s a subject for a different video so as I said before not having enough power to drive headphones is not going to be an issue with this unit they use what they call xampp technology which essentially means that both your left and your right channel in your headphone get their own amp so they’re not sharing the same power source creative claims that this results in better detail versus a traditional headphone amp in practice speaking specifically about detail I don’t really notice any difference in detail per se between this and the GS X 1000 but the g6 can definitely get louder and I did the majority of my detailed testing in the mast drops in Heiser 6xx so the headphones there were no slouch for me a missed opportunity with this unit was the ability to adjust the game for both the left and right channels independently the new audio does this and it was a total game changer

for me because one of my ears is marginally better than the other one so the volume knob pulls double duty is the mic volume knob as well you can change function by holding it down for a couple seconds a white ring around the outside means volume red means mic and you can mute either with just tapping this button in you can also see this indicated on the side LEDs at a glance gonna be solid for live blinking for muted and there’s also an indicator for Dolby processing outside of that controls consist of a high gain low gain mode so you can drive really sensitive ie m’s all the way up to big 600 ohm headphones I don’t have anything that big in house right now but it can also drive the 250 ohm DT 990s no problem they sound amazing with this unit action you’ll also see a button for scout mode which pulls a lot of the bass out so you can focus on footsteps bullets and other detail audio cues this works really well especially in bass heavy shooters like black ops 4 you also have a button

to enable sbx mode which activates the onboard DSP processing and you can hold down the Scout button for a couple of seconds until it blinks this gets you access to direct mode which is going to give you the most transparent highest fit highest quality way to listen to your music outside of these features or to configure them at a deeper level you’re gonna need to use the software this is another big difference between the g6 and the GS X 1000 because on the GS X everything is pure Hardware everything you need to adjust is right there on the touchscreen on the g6 what you get in exchange for using software is a ton of granularity there’s just so much here Dolby compression simulated room sizes around game specific EQ settings for SP X you can’t actually use this for music as well purists will probably skip this but casual listeners may find the EQ settings more fun sparkly energetic you also get voice changing on the mic and you can monitor your mic in it’s kind of like sidetone but it comes with a big drawback here there’s a slight but perceptible delay between what you say and what comes back in your

headphones even if you’re not using any of the audio processing at all this personally drives me absolutely nuts I’d rather not use it at all so the GS X is a definite win for this specific feature I should note here that the mic in itself is very clean very quiet very low noise floor it operates at 30 to 384 as well one major feature you’ll find lacking here is chat mix which is really too bad because it’s one of the main features that I like on the GS X 1000 this means you can have your comms something like discord in a completely different channel in your game audio and you can adjust the volume of those things independently for your mix and your headphones in my mind not having this is a really major oversight on a unit designed specifically for gaming the other big reason why people look hard at the GS X 1000 is the very convincing very high quality virtual surround sound so what’s it like on the g6 I always test all my virtual surround modes and Far Cry games because it seems like there’s always something going on in every direction the 7.1 surround here sounds really good actually it sounds very close to the GS X the only thing I notice is that it really made the mix itself feel a little chaotic like it really amplifies things that are close to you so the sound of your own weapon or when enemies are firing at you from really close it sounds really

amplified it’s actually pretty fun you can’t tone this down in the software by using creatives version of like a compressor normalizer it’s worth noting here that Windows does recognize both a 5.1 and a 7.1 driver mode there’s no real easy way to toggle in and out of this mode you have to go back out to the windows sound settings and reconfigure so for Dolby decoding let’s assume for a second that you’re using perfectly legitimate totally legal movies in either Cody or VLC right you’re gonna need to enable pass-through and your audio settings of your player and you’re gonna have to be running on the optical out of your onboard audio I tested this a lot this unit will decode some dolby stuff not DTS not at most we’re talking like bottom line basic old-school Dolby Digital 5.1 if you’re watching source files encoded with Dolby Atmos you would do way better to pay the money for Atmos headphone for Windows and use that instead I’m telling you right now movies encoded with Atmos played back through Atmos headphones is the absolute apex of movie watching unless you happen to have a full-blown real-deal Atmos setup in your home theater okay that was a lot of information I know let’s wrap this all up gsx vs g6 lightning round audio quality both these units sound very good it’s very close in real world but I’m gonna give it to the g6 because it will do bigger bit rates in more modes so gsx 1000 is limited to 16 bit the majority of the time unless you’re running it in high-res mode when you do that though it locks out all of the DSP options amp power g6 wins

here hands down this is gonna be able to handle just about every headphone you throw at it I have not tested 600 ohm headphones on this thing because I personally don’t own a pair but the GS X 1000 is gonna top out and not be able to push some of the higher impedance or lower sensitivity headphones sound shaping and EQ optimization this is gonna be a tie for me reason being is because the GS X 1000 has very limited modes but everything occurs on the hardware the g6 you can really get in and tailor a lot more the sound but you’re gonna be tied into using software compatibility winner here is the g6 because you can plug just about anything you can think of into this unit with the only stipulation being the chat functions are only gonna be available on the ps4 and the PC the GS X 1000 is only officially supported on the PC plus you have the flexibility to not just route line out but optical out as well to your home theater system this could come into play with Dolby Digital decoding in specific setups gaming features winner GS x the GS X 1000

handles both chat mix and side tone flawlessly the g6 doesn’t even have chat mix and handle side tones poorly simulated surround sound this is closer than I thought it would be but I have to give it to the GS X 1000 because it handles it really well and it’s available at the touch of a button without having to dig into window settings also the effect is a little more controlled overall in the mix than what you hear on the g6 price and value winner g6 anywhere you find it it’s gonna be at least twenty dollars cheaper than the GS X 1000 do you love the features in the presentation in the GS X 1000 but you’ve hit that limitation where it can’t drive some of the bigger headphones you might be looking at you’re going to be in a situation where you have to add an additional headphone amp and that’s gonna come at an additional cost of anywhere between fifty or a hundred dollars depending on what amp you go with that’s my take on all of it you can do the math from there now that said if you’re watching this and you already own a GS X 1000 you don’t need to feel bad about that purchase whatsoever if all the flexibility of the g6 is lost on you what you need is a PC exclusive gaming setup with really strong social gaming features you

can make the GS X 1000 with a mod mic 5 in a sin Heiser HD 5 8 x headphone which it drives perfectly and it’s gonna be a beast setup that setup will probably be considered in game for most PC gamers the g6 is pretty impressive for the price but it’s not perfect it misses in some areas that are important to me it’s small enough to be portable you can use it in the laptop scenario throw it in your laptop bag but it’s not terribly portable because it lacks the onboard battery power that we saw in their previous a 5 if you use it with a console you’re gonna have to sit close enough to it to touch the adjustments and all the configurations all the tweaks you’re gonna have to happen in the software on PC anyway if you’re planning on using the optical when you’re using it with your PC you’re gonna have to have that cable in addition to the USB cable as well so it’s just more clutter on the desk but what it’s worth the optical doesn’t sound any better or worse to me than the USB does I probably just stick with the USB I will say to that I used the previous version the g5 for a long time it was like my first baby step away from onboard audio the g6 sounds notably better than that and is amateur as it sounds I actually like using some of the SPX presets on this thing for certain types of music so is the g6 a step up from onboard audio no it’s a major leap up

from onboard audio even if you just plug this thing in and never install or load the software it all is a major step up it’s a couple of things wrong but for a hundred and fifty dollars it gets a lot of things right in terms of overall audio fidelity in terms of delivering a lot of clean sounding power it’s not gonna be on the same level as something like a Mayflower arc or the EVGA new audio the new audio actually holds the title for me now at that price point but it’s also a hundred dollars cheaper than either of those two options at the moment considering it has a mic in I can’t really think of a better way to get better external DAC and performance at this price point even if you’re using a high quality external USB mic like maybe the stack but using the proper cables with that setup you’re still gonna be spending like 70 dollars more maybe a full of – I don’t know I’ll check out both those units here really soon as always I will leave affiliate links in the description below if you’d like to get your hands on anything that we talked about today any questions over anything that we covered just hit me up in the comments below for like the first 24 hours after video goes live I do my best to answer those otherwise just check the description and come check us out on discord you can ask all your questions there that’s it for this time I’m bright beat thanks so much for watching don’t forget to hit that like button hit that sub button and until next time stay up

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