Creative SXFI Gamer Review - Battle Mode Almost Feels Like Cheating 10

Creative SXFI Gamer Review - Battle Mode Almost Feels Like Cheating

Value & Conclusion »

Microphone Performance

The Creative SXFI Gamer headset is equipped with the detachable CommanderMic microphone. Creative considers it to be their best microphone to date, which I can confidently agree with. The microphone has an integrated pop filter, as well as something Creative calls "SXFI inPerson Microphone Technology," which essentially tries to distinguish human voices from ambient noise, suppress that noise, and enhance audible speech. This unique microphone also has a built-in monitoring (sidetone) feature; meaning, you'll be able to hear your own voice through the headphones, almost as if the headphones were open-back. Microphone monitoring is a common feature on higher-quality USB and wireless gaming headsets, although we can usually turn it on and off and adjust its "loudness." Neither is possible with the CommanderMic, which sounds like an issue, but really isn't. Microphone monitoring is implemented beautifully; you'll hear your own voice much better than on a normal closed-back headset lacking the feature, without any increase in background hiss, which is sometimes the case with lesser implementations of microphone monitoring.

To review the microphone's sound and compare it to similar headsets, I used the Adam A7X speakers and Shure SRH840 headphones (both fall into the studio monitor category). I connected them to Audiolab's M-DAC, a high-quality digital-to-analog converter that functions as an external sound card when connected to a PC. Testing was done in Discord, Skype, and Audacity, and I also used Audacity to record the sound from the microphone. The sound was recorded with microphone sensitivity set to 100% and was not postprocessed or edited in any way.

For reference, this voice recording has been made with the Rode NT-USB, a high-quality studio microphone:

This is the sound recorded by using the detachable CommanderMic microphone that comes with the Creative SXFI Gamer headset:

First, let me say I really hope I'm pronouncing the name of this headset correctly, and that Creative was fully aware of what they were doing when they named it "sexify." If not, sorry about that! Either way, as you can hear, the CommanderMic sounds absolutely fantastic. My voice sounds natural, clean, completely uncompressed, and has a nice amount of warmth and bass to it. This is very close to what I'd sound to you if we were talking face to face. My teammates on Discord, one of whom is also a professional gaming headset and microphone reviewer, couldn't believe I'm communicating through a microphone connected to a gaming headset instead of an external studio microphone. At first, I thought they're crazy, but after recording these samples and carefully examining them for myself, I have to agree. Creative did a stellar job with the microphone, and that makes it an interesting option not only for gaming, but also for serious Zoom/Teams/Skype videoconferencing, Twitch/YouTube streaming, and other more demanding tasks.

To test the noise suppression technology, I recorded a sample where I talked into the microphone and mashed my mechanical keyboard at the same time. The keyboard is equipped with Cherry MX Red mechanical switches. Take a listen.

The mechanical noise of my keyboard is greatly reduced, while my voice is still stays perfectly clean and natural. I can hear no artifacts caused by the suppression algorithm. Excellent!

To compare the CommanderMic with other popular USB gaming headsets, including some that are significantly more expensive than the Creative SXFI Gamer, do listen to the following samples. As far as I'm concerned, none of them come close to the CommanderMic. Sennheiser is the only one who can really compare, although their microphones are tonally quite different, somewhat airier, but with less depth.

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May 16th, 2022 02:25 EDT change timezone

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