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View Full Discussion So I've had a really good experience with this. I wish I had time to check for new firmware and re-evaluate before writing this but from my testing so far it's been great overall!
Looks Great. I really dig the triangular/trapezoidal shape. It has kind of a retro look to it like it should be sitting next to my Mom's turntable.
Works great with passive speakers like the E-MU XM7.
Robust software & drivers that really let you tune your listening experience based on your audio source and end drivers.
Connects to everything. I mainly use it on my gaming PC and definitely notice improved resolution and fidelity compared to my onboard Mobo sound which is no slouch (Z97 Sabertooth Mark S).
The amp is great even with lower impedance headphones like the M50x, AD700x or K553 Pros. Kinda hard to explain if you've never experienced it but a good amp doesn't just make your music louder it gives you MORE of it if that makes any since.
I've got my PC and Xbox One connected. I really like being able to connect a tablet/phone via bluetooth to watch YouTube videos or listen to spotify without having to alt+tab out of games. I also use the X7 as a mixer when streaming or recording gameplay and it let's me (along with the optical out of my onboard) record game sound, my voice, and TS/Skype/Curse chat all on separate audio channels via Dxtory.
NFC is easy and works great. I probably won't be switching out the op-amps but it's a very nice audiophile-centric feature.
Cons: I won't say it's cheaply made at all but it lacks heaviness I always associate with high-end audio products. I really wanted the volume knob to feel more like that of an older Hifi unit.
I haven't noticed any major popping or grating during normal playback but definitely do hear some when plugging in or removing inputs/outputs and turning the device on and off. I also wish there was a headphone sensing circuit that would slowly increase the volume when you turn it on.
It does color the sound a bit. I'd say it's on the warmer side as has been my experience with most Creative products. I prefer a warmer sound signature so that's no problem for me. You can probably get it to sound exactly how you like via the software. But for the price there are uni-taskers and DACs/Amps with a more analytical sound signature out of the box.
An LED array to show audio levels on the front would be great. And the last con is that the configuration of the surround sound made it difficult to setup with my 5.1 Monoprice system without having an intermediate receiver in between which kinda defeats the point.