Creative Sound Blaster X3 Review





For the nit-picker and nerdy one here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets. For all the other, you can just go to the next page to see how the amp performs.


Super X-Fi

So, what’ the deal with Super X-Fi ?

On paper, it’s supposed to “capture the listening experience of high-end multi-speaker system in a professional studio, and recreates the same expansive experience in your headphones using computational audio intensive techniques to custom it audio, or every individual, through a sophisticated Head and Ear-Mapping process.”

Put more simply, Super X-Fi is a hardware/software solution that combines an “ultra DSP” and various software enhancements to recreate a large sound stage and multi-speaker system, for your headphone. Creative isn’t the first and won’t be the last, to try that, but as for now, it looks like they are the ones to offer the most popular solution. And, truth be told, it’s pretty amazing… when it works.

It’s a bit echoey and sometimes crudely artificial, but when it kicks, music gets that “live” sensation, as if the soundstage suddenly opened up. So yeah, it’s a gimmick, but a good one.


Usually, brands advertise strongly what chip they’ve been using for their DAC, but not in that case.

Creative uses its own Super X-Fi ULTRA DSP, an SoC that embeds both the DSP and the DAC. The DAC supports 16/24/32bit PCM files – which is pretty common now –  in stereo mode AND surrounds mode – up to 8 channels, which isn’t pretty common – in USB.

The Sound Blaster X3 supports 32-600 ohms headphones, and in High-Gain, the amp can output up to 2.9Vrms @ 600ohms. Dynamic Range reaches 115dB, THD is as low as 0.0004% and, last but not least, the internal ADC supports 24bit/192kHz recording.

All in all, Creative adds up the numbers and label everything under the exotic Super X-FI name, but we’ll need to confront all of that. Hope this isn’t just some marketing.

Full specs

  • Type : USB Powered DAC
  • DAC : UltraDSP Super X-Fi
  • AMP : UltraDSP Super X-Fi
  • USB : customized chipset
  • Sample rate : PCM : 8Hz – 192kHz (16/24/32bits) native 
  • Outputs : 3.5mm headphone out / Discrete 5.1 / 7.1 
  • Optical Out  : Toslink
  • Dynamic Range (Stereo) : 115dB (DAC) / 104dB (ADC)
  • THD (Stereo) : 0.0004% (DAC) / 0.0017% (ADC)
  • Supported headphone impedance: 32-600 ohms
  • Input : USB-C / Line-In / Mic-in
  • Size : 129mm x 129mm x 40.6mm
  • Weight : 330g

The article continues on Page five, after the click here

4.4/5 - (188 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.


  • Reply April 16, 2020

    Tom Lee

    Thanks for the review! I happen to see the X3, and I have been thinking to choose it over the Mojo. Could you elaborate a bit when saying its amp section is better than the Mojo considering there’s no amp section in the Mojo?

    With its design, I guess it is mainly used for desktop not portable. I am also curious to know if there’s noise isolation implemented in the X3 i.e would the electrical noise (RF noise) coming from the computer to the DAC be eliminated? And if there’s a DAC connected through its optical out would the noise be eliminated too before the signal is sent to the DAC? The Mojo doesn’t have such noise isolation which raises my concern, but it is understandable because the Mojo is made for portable usage.


  • Reply April 17, 2020


    Creative provides usb analog multi-channel DAC/sound cards with little to no compatibility with linux, and this one makes no exception.
    Too bad.
    There was a linux friendly product called Aim ultimate usb audio which is now discontinued. I’ve been using mine for 6 years and I fear the day it may stop working, because there’s no true replacement device available at such a price and quality level, even from Asus.
    Unless you know about one!

  • Reply April 29, 2020


    Hi there, nice review. Could you elaborate more on the SXFi effect on multi-channel content?
    As I understand from its spec sheet, you could also choose use SBX profiles for mutli-channel.

    Are there any comparisons between SBX and SXFi?

    If I am not wrong, PS4 can only output a stereo signal to the X3. Are you able to test and compare the SXFi with other virtual surround sound systems(e.g SBX, Dolby Atmos for headphones) with 5.1/7.1 content on the PC?

    Finally, I have read on forums that the latest firmware update from Creative cleared a lot of sound issues with the X3. It was released at the end of April.

  • Reply July 7, 2020


    “it doesn’t work with non-certified Super X-Fi headphones”
    Ok. I stop reading here.

  • Reply April 21, 2021

    J Law

    This is the very reason i got this X3 is to revive my Z-5500, but after plugging it in like i usually do and switcht o the 6 CH direct input…no sound comes through the x3…when i’ve detected audio working on windows 10

  • Reply May 4, 2021

    James Harrison

    Creative has always provided center channel AND subwoofer through the SAME output. You just need a Y-splitter from the center/sub out and one part of the Y will be the sub output and the other will be the center. I don’t know why they do it this way, but they do, and it actually works. You’ll probably never read this comment, but just thought I would give you the solution since you asked for it.

  • Reply August 10, 2021

    David Novak

    The Creative SXFI THEATRE have a great sound quality!

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