Creative recently introduced one of the most interesting USB sound cards in the company's history, the $120 Sound Blaster X3. Creative refers to it as a "Hi-Res 7.1 external USB DAC and amp sound card with Super X-Fi for PC and Mac". This short description doesn't really do the Sound Blaster X3 justice. It's a feature-packed external sound card equipped with a couple of interesting technologies and an intuitive controlling scheme, which lets us tap into most of its features by using the on-board controls. Many of its capabilities can be accessed through a mobile app as well, which comes as great news to anyone who is after an external sound card for their PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch since they'll still be able to make use of most of what the sound card offers. That isn't the case with sound cards that depend solely on a Windows/MacOS driver.
The Creative Sound Blaster X3 can be combined with headphones, gaming headsets or active speakers—2.0, 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1 speaker configurations are supported. Thanks to the built-in TOSLINK connector, it can also be connected to any newer external AV receiver, stereo amplifier, or a pair of higher quality active speakers. That gives the Sound Blaster X3 a lot of potential uses, although the proximity to a PC is obviously its natural habitat. In this review we'll examine the design, extensive features, and input/output quality of this interesting sound card. Read on to find out what you're getting for your money!