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Audio

At $400, this compact Sound Blaster X7 amplifier aims to shatter any audiophile's expectations

Creative Technology's Sound Blaster X7 is designed to be a powerful amplifier in a compact box. The device is slated to cost $400.

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The Sound Blaster X7 is a powerful amplifier in a compact design. Dong Ngo/CNET

Sometimes things are made to be extreme. Case in point: the Sound Blaster X7 amplifier from Creative Technology.

Created to be the "biggest, baddest, boldest Sound Blaster ever," the new device is an ultra-high-end external Sound Blaster with a 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution 127dB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and 100W-capable audio amplifier combined in a compact box that's not bigger than most computer desk speakers.

The amplifier can take audio from virtually any of the popular sources, including:

  • Digital High-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to a computer.
  • Digital USB Host connectivity to select iOS/Android models for direct high-quality, lossless audio streaming.
  • Optical S/PDIF-Input connectivity to televisions and gaming consoles.
  • Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology with one-touch Bluetooth pairing.

It also features an RCA Line-In (Right and Left) option for analog connectivity to other various audio sources and a 3.5mm Mic-in.

This basically means you can use the X7 with any device, be it a computer, smartphone, tablet (including an iDevice with a Lightning connector) or even an HDTV, via a wire or wireless connection. After that, when coupled with capable speakers, the amplifier promises to deliver extremely clear and powerful high-resolution audio for games, music and movies.

For outputs, the X7 has gold-plated two-way binding post terminal connectors for passive bookshelf and tower speakers, 5.1 analog connectivity for surround sound, optical S/PDIF-Output connectivity, a 1/4-inch (6.3mm) headphone out and an 1/8-inch (3.5mm) headphone out.

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The X7 supports all popular audio inputs and outputs and has a built-in advanced amplifier. Dong Ngo/CNET

Among the X7's other features, you can control it via multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS or Android, using the Sound Blaster X7 Control Panel software (for computers) and the Sound Blaster Central mobile app (for mobile devices). Both desktop and mobile applications give full access to customizing the X7's settings.

The Sound Blaster X7 is not cheap, unfortunately, costing $400. But if you're an audiophile who wants to get the best out of your sound system or just want to impress your friends, it's time to save up since the X7 will be available for purchase in December.