Creative Sound Blaster X4 Overview
Being an external sound card, the X4 is designed to sit on your desk, or near your console, depending on your use case. In this review, we will focus solely on PC connectivity, though the X4 does support use with multiple current gaming consoles. If you are anything like me, despite having a fairly large table top, desk space is at a premium.
Thankfully, the X4 doesn’t have too large of a footprint, measuring in at 130.5mm x 130.5mm x 40.6mm (5.14in x 5.14in x 1.6in). The Sound Blaster X4 features a dark gray plastic body with a few hints of black and silver here and there. There is also a bit of colored lighting as well, but we will touch on that a bit later on.
Taking a look from the top down, we have a very prominent round dial that is used to adjust levels across multiple settings, depending on your mode and setup. In most cases however, the large dial will be used to quickly adjust volume or mute your audio by pressing it down. Surrounding the control dial is a lighted ring that will change colors depending on the function you are controlling, and it will also pulse at times to indicate the status of the setting you are controlling. For example, when at the default setting of volume control, the ring glows blue. If the dial is depressed to mute audio, the ring will stay blue, but will fade in and out as a visual indicator of the status. The dial is also illuminated from underneath by matching LED lighting.
The other functional items found on the top of the X4 are three control buttons that are used to control Audio Balance, Mode, and Super X-Fi. Accompanying each button is a multi-color LED indicator which helps you determine the setting you are adjusting, as well as the status of certain features and modes found on the X4. Each of these buttons and their functions will be covered more in the usage portion of this review.
Moving over to the front of the unit, we find two 3.5mm audio jacks. The left jack is for connecting an external microphone, while the right jack is for connecting a headset or headphones. As the Sound Blaster X4 not only functions as a sound card, but a headphone amplifier as well, it can power headphones with a resistance of up to 600 ohms.
The back side of the Sound Blaster X4 has quite a few more ports and connections, all of which make this a very versatile portable sound card. Starting on the left side, we have a cluster of 3.5mm ports grouped together by a bracket and text indicating that they are controlled by the Line Out functions of the sound card. This cluster of four ports include Front, Side, Rear, and Center/Sub, which can be used for 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1 surround sound speakers. To the right of the Line Out section is a single 3.5mm jack for Line/Opt In connections. This is most commonly used for connecting game consoles, TVs, or even mobile devices to the Sound Blaster X4 to gain enhanced audio quality from those devices. Next up is the Opt-Out port for connecting the X4 to a traditional AV receiver, allowing you to take advantage of a home theater system for a shared audio experience. Last up is the USB-C connection, used to not only power the X4, but to provide connectivity when used with a PC or Mac.
The base of the X4 is quite plain, with four rubber feet at the corners to keep it in place.