If I had to describe CES 2019 in one word, it would be audio. Indeed, the strongest impressions from the trade show this year, at least for me personally, are from the audio sector—be it EVGA getting into the sound card market, Sonarworks going mobile, or Sennheiser finally releasing their AMBEO soundbar for purchase. But, and arguably just as awaited as the Sennheiser soundbar, was Creative's Super X-Fi technology coming out of demo form. Indeed, it was at CES 2018 that I first got a glimpse into this with a private demo that made use of a rudimentary switching box, but the overall effect was astonishing to where I simply had to know more. It took longer than I wanted, and I am sure Creative would have rather had this out sooner too, but getting it right was key, and I had my first look at the finished version this year. At the risk of spoiling the review for you, I will just say that you owe it to yourself to read this review and look into the technology more. This review, however, is also of one of the key ingredients to that experience, and thanks again to Creative for providing samples for TechPowerUp to go over.
Creative's name for the experience is Super X-Fi Headphone Holography, and it may sound weird or even just marketing spiel at this point. All you need to know right now is that their goal is to provide an audio experience on your headphones that mimics surround sound better than ever before by implementing hardware and software signal processing alike. This technology is built into multiple products at launch already, but the SXFI amp is quite possibly the most important in terms of accessibility and effect. This review thus focuses on the SXFI amp, and we begin with a look at the specifications below.
Creative SXFI Amp
AKM AK4377, up to 120 dB SNR
2.0/5.1/7.1 channel, 24 bit/96 kHz
THD + N/IMD/Crosstalk:
Up to -110 dB (0.0003%)/< 0.0022%/< -75 dB
3x gain, up to 425 mW@16Ω, 370 mW@32Ω, 51 mW@300Ω, 26 mW@600Ω,
Win 10 (ver. 1703 and newer), macOS 10.13 and newer, High Sierra Linux for PCs, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android devices on Android 7.0 or newer
Aluminium unibody with matte-black fine textured anodized finish and chrome ring