Creative Sound Blaster GC7 Review - A Feature-Packed USB Sound Card 5

Creative Sound Blaster GC7 Review - A Feature-Packed USB Sound Card


Value and Conclusion

  • The Creative Sound Blaster GC7 is available online for $170/€150. It comes with a 2-year manufacturer's warranty.
  • Great overall sound quality
  • GameVoice Mix dial is extremely useful
  • Impressive list of features, including Super X-Fi and Super X-Fi Battle Mode
  • Excellent system-wide 10-band equalizer
  • Intuitive on-board controls
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Can be controlled through a mobile app (most features of the sound card are usable on consoles)
  • Made out of plain plastic—it doesn't look nearly as good as it performs
  • C4 button LED ring brighter than C1–C3 LEDs on my sample
  • Occasional software bugs
  • Direct Mode button would be a nice addition
The Creative Sound Blaster GC7 is an excellent external USB sound card. It offers a ton of useful features, great sound quality, versatile connectivity, and an intuitive control scheme. All things considered, the $170/€150 price tag doesn't strike me as unreasonable. You can try to find a sound card with more features, better performance, and an equal number of easily accessible onboard controls for less, but you'll inevitably fail–such a thing doesn't exist.

The Sound Blaster GC7 is a stereo sound card through and through, meaning it supports headphones, gaming headsets, and 2.0/2.1 active speaker configurations. You can easily connect it to your PC (Windows or macOS), gaming console (Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 and 5), and mobile devices to use all of its features on these platforms. Creative made this possible by making the sound card fully controllable through a mobile app, which gives you full access to the Sound Blaster GC7, identical to what you'd get if you connected it to your PC and accessed it via a desktop app of the same name (Creative App). The app itself is much improved in terms of overall the user experience compared to what Creative used on some older sound cards, such as the Sound Blaster X3. I ran into an occasional software bug, but nothing that would seriously hinder the interaction with the Sound Blaster GC7.

Creative for the most part remains mysterious about the hardware used in the Sound Blaster GC7. We do know that the digital-to-analog audio signal conversion is handled by the AKM AK4377 DAC, which can work with up to 24-bit/192 kHz PCM audio files, and that the sound card uses the Super X-Fi Ultra DSP for digital signal processing. There's no word on the headphone amplifier, so I can only speak of what I've heard after testing it with a number of headphones and gaming headsets. Its tonality is instantly recognizable to anyone who played around with Creative's recent external sound cards. It produces a clean, lively sound with a healthy amount of power and has an optional high gain mode for driving more demanding headphones. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this sound card to audiophiles who own expensive, hard-to-drive hi-fi headphones, especially if they're not interested in the other features of this sound card. Those users should look into a standalone DAC/headphone amp, such as the excellent iFi Audio Zen DAC V2, which I've been seriously enjoying for the past couple of weeks.

However, if you're after a full-fledged sound card, which would imply you also need a microphone input and system-wide equalizer, the Sound Blaster GC7 has you covered. Aside from that, you're also getting the intriguing Super X-Fi and Super X-Fi Battle Mode virtual surround sound technologies, along with a number of on-board controls which give you quick access to volume control, game and chat volume balancing, bass, treble, surround and microphone gain settings, and four additional fully customizable functions. For the audience it targets, this is an endgame product.
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