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Creative Labs Sound Blaster X H7

Posted

Pros: Audio performance/ Software

Cons: Desired RGB lighting



The Sound Blaster X H7 is my new favorite headset. If you don't already own one, you should. I used to and still do love the Cloud ii headset from Hyper X. This headset is designed alot like the cloud ii, and that's a good thing. The H7 comes with tons of extra features, and sounds awesome. This headset improves upon the Sound Blaster X H5 and adds all the desired features that were lacking. Get ready to dominate your foes, and experience sound like never before. Lets see what makes the H7 clearer,louder,harder, and better.





The specifications are as follows:
  • Audio ProcessingBlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro
  • Audio Drivers50mm FullSpectrum
  • Headset Frequency Response20Hz ~ 20kHz
  • Audio TechnologiesBlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro, Scout Mode
  • Interface3.5mm Stereo Input, USB
  • Supported Operating SystemsMac OS X v10.8 and above, Windows® 10, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows® Vista

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Windows
  • Intel® Core™2 Duo or AMD® equivalent processor (2.8 GHz or faster recommended)
  • Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard
  • Microsoft® Windows 10 32/64 bit, Windows 8.1/8.0 32/64 bit, Windows 7 32/64 bit,
  • Windows Vista™ 32/64 bit SP1 or higher
  • 1GB RAM
  • >600 MB of free hard disk space
  • Available USB 2.0 port (High Speed recommended with driver)

Macintosh
  • Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.8 or higher
  • 1GB RAM
  • >600 MB of free hard disk space
  • Available USB 2.0/3.0 port

BlasterX Acoustic Engine Software for Windows
  • Intel® Core™2 Duo or AMD® equivalent processor (2.8 GHz or faster recommended)
  • Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard
  • Microsoft® Windows 10 32/64 bit, Windows 8.1/8.0 32/64 bit, Windows 7 32/64 bit, Windows Vista™ 32/64 bit SP1 or higher
  • 1GB RAM
  • >600 MB of free hard disk space

Analog Connection
  • Available analog connector for headphone/microphone on PC/Mac/Android/iOS/PS4/XBOX devices

WARRANTY
  • 1-year Limited Hardware Warranty

Packaging



Creative shipped the H7 in a standard UPS box. The H7 packaging is rather simple, but definitely showcases the product well.



Un-boxing the H7, you can see it is well packaged. The contents included with the headset are stored safely behind the well placed headset.



The package contents included are:

Sound BlasterX H7 Headset
  • Tethered cable including inline control - 0.4m / 1.3ft
  • USB Type A to Micro-B USB braided cable length - 1.5m / 5ft
  • 3.5mm 4-pole to 4-pole jack braided cable length - 0.8m / 2.6ft
  • Quick Start Leaflet

Examining the headset truly shows how well it is designed. The metal frames stood out, and bendable mic. Lets take a closer look at how the headset was designed.

Design



That logo is just gorgeous, and simple. It screams I'm here to win. As with most high-end manufacturers of PC gaming products, the color scheme is black /red. On the H7 it can be configured to glow or breath with the red LED. You will find this matches most hardware.

The H7 professional 7.1 gaming headset is built with the most powerful and versatile BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro. This technology combines large responsive 50mm FullSpectrum audio drivers to offer best in class audio for gaming immersion. Made for the discerning gamer, Sound BlasterX H7 combines comfort and durability with the best audio performance available, with a built-in 24 / 96kHz USB DAC for high definition digital audio immersive gaming.

Creative uses bleeding-edge audio algorithms, and the engineers have crafted an audio engine optimized for gaming. The Sound BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro is a suite of fully customizable audio processing technologies developed and tuned specially for the Sound BlasterX H7 to deliver new levels of audio immersion and precision for the ultimate competitive advantage.



The headset can be used for surround sound using the USB amp or as an analog device. The H7 uses two custom settings that give total control for your entertainment. You can easily switch between analog or digital USB mode for an immersive experience.

When connected via USB mode, you will have a choice of selecting BlasterX acoustic Engine profiles to improve your audio experience, as well as X-plus mode designed for specifically tuned audio profiles for popular games.



The H7 is really light and feels really comfortable on your head. The product has soft plastics, memory foam, and polished leather to a sturdy metal frame. The frame is super light and flexible. You can honestly game on this headset for hours, and feel no discomfort. The band is made of reinforced steel and aluminum.



The H7 uses 50mm FullSpectrum drivers. the 50mm drivers deliver powerful bass and clarity. They are rated at 118dB/mW. The H7 is among the loudest gaming headsets I have tested. You can feel every explosion and gunfire as you immerse yourself in your games.The H7 also uses a tilt driver design that implements a mini acoustic chamber that creates clarity across the frequencies, and better sound separation for more detailed audio.



The detachable noise reduction microphone is just as flexible as the cloud ii. I absolutely love this design. The microphone can easily be removed which allows the H7 to be more compact. This allows you to use the H7 as a normal pair of headphones.



The H7 inline remote has extra functionality. It allows you to control music,volume, and voice calls. You use the micro USB to connect the H7 for full immersion or use the 3.5mm jack for analog. The centered mic on/off button is easily switched, and the volume is controlled by a slider.



The braided cables are really flexible, and do not get tangled. I really like to point out the small things, and this was a well picked design feature that is convenient.The included cables provide enough length to reach your computer if it sits on the floor or the desk.



The H7 offers seamless connectivity with other devices:
  • Use the USB input to your PC or PlayStation® 4 and enjoy the full digital audio experience that your game has to offer!
  • The 3.5mm 4-pole jack cable option can be used with any smart device such as your iPhone and iPad, as well as our present gaming consoles with analog headphones output such as Xbox® One2.

Software



The software that comes with the H7 is the same pro software that is used for the Sound Blaster X G5. The Blaster X Acoustic Engine Pro is feature rich and well optimized to deliver true audio performance. The cloud ii and other headsets sometimes don't include software, which is a negative for anyone looking to optimize their audio experience for themselves.

The software is really easy to install and setup. You need to install the software from Creatives website. Make sure you choose the correct Operating system. It would of been nice to have the software included, but most manufacturers require downloads for most products today.



Once you install the software you will be able to set up your various profiles and setting for the H7. When you launch the software you will have a screen showing your connected H7. You can see an indicator of your volume level and an interesting surround demo. The surround demo is really cool and allows you to adjust a virtual helicopter around. This works rather well and really showcases the sound cards ability to distribute virtual 7.1 surround sound. All the different Settings in the software can easily be turned on or off with the power symbol.

Some settings automatically get disabled when others are turned on. Scout mode for instance turns of the acoustic engine, and vice versa.



The profile tab allows you to control and select different profiles for your G5. You can create up to three custom profiles, or use one of sever built-in profiles Creative has added.

Creative has several built-in profiles for different gaming styles:
  • Adventure and action
  • Driving simulation
  • First person shooter
  • Specific games even have built-in profiles like Dota/ Call of Duty/ Counter-Strike Global offensive

They offer several more to fit really anyone's style of gaming.



The acoustic engine tab has settings for:
  • Surround
  • Crystalizer
  • Bass
  • Smart volume
  • Dialog plus

These settings are all adjustable, and you can play demos above to test your settings. The demos include:
  • Fist person preview
  • Movie preview
  • Music preview



The equalizer allows you to create custom settings as well as several preset profiles.

The profiles included are:
  • Acoustic
  • Classical
  • Country
  • Dance
  • Flat
  • Jazz
  • New age
  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Vocal



The scout mode tab offers proprietary software that allows you to hear your enemies from further away. This gives you a distinct tactical advantage in your games.You can create several hotkeys for your games to quickly turn this feature on or off. I tested this feature in Counter Strike Global Offensive, and you really can hear footsteps of your enemies louder than having this feature disabled.



The Voice FX tab offer the ability to have some fun. Using the H7 detachable microphone provided clear and crisp voice in all my testing. Voice FX allows you to change your voice and disguise yourself against others.

It offers several built-in profiles to change your voice from neutral to:
  • Alien brute
  • Alien infiltrator
  • Deep voice
  • Demon
  • Dwarf
  • Elderly
  • Elf
  • Emo
  • Female to male
  • From up north
  • Male to female
  • Marine
  • Munchkin
  • Orc
  • Robot
  • Scrappy kid
  • Unstable



The advanced settings tab allows you to configure your headphone configuration as well as your other modes like surround sound. It also provides testing for your output, and a mixer to adjust the volume levels for playback. The other feature available to the H7 is the Illumination feature. This allows you to select the breathing or static effects for the red LEDs on the H7.



The other software available to the H7 is the X-Plus Configurator. This software is specifically developed with pro-gaming requirements. When configured X-Plus relegates non-critical audio cues specific to popular games. It bumps the audio cues for an extra gaming advantage. There are a number of popular game titles available, but I will specifically testing Overwatch, and Counter-Strike Global Offensive.

Testing

I wanted to test Overwatch and CS go to truly show off the ability of the H7. THe X-Plus advantage is going to be tested in both games. I also will test scout mode individually.

The test bench used for testing is as follows:
  • Motherboard- Z87x-UD3H
  • CPU: Intel Core I7 4790K
  • Network Card- netgear AC 1200 USB
  • Cooler- H100i GTX V2
  • Memory- Anarchy X 16GB DDR3 2800MHz
  • Video Card: EVGA NVidia Geforce GTX 970
  • Storage- PNY CS2210 480GB
  • Power Supply- Corsair TX750m
  • OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
  • Headphones- Sound Blaster X H7

Counter Strike Global offensive really adapted well to scout mode. I did have a competitive edge when it came to hearing m enemies sooner. The directional audio is well situated to handle what direction footsteps were coming from. Overwatch did struggle a little as this game isn't specifically geared towards footsteps. I did hear subtle ques from enemies behind me, which would count as a competitive edge.

Effects Off
Effects On
Blaster X

Using X-Plus mode was fantastic. It really does work like intended. In CS go you can hear the differences in each audio example. The X-Plus provides deeper audio ques, where the Acoustic Engine Pro deals with deeper bass. The firs stream is X-Plus off, Second is on, and third is for Acoustic Engine Pro.



For Overwatch I took a video stream to show the visual aspect to the audio ques. You will notice with X-Plus on, the audio ques do offer a tactical advantage over your enemies.

I tested the high gain microphone provided with the H7, and it sounded extremely clear. I used tests like Skype, and Ventrilo. Masking your voice with Voice FX is really fun and a nice extra feature Creative provides in the blaster x software. It does seem to be an improvement over the H5.

Music, movies, and games all sounded as expected with the H7. You can expect a bit more fidelity when selected the proper movie or music profiles Creative provides in the Blaster X software. I testing various songs, and movies with the different profiles. I found using the build in profiles provided the best listening and viewing experience.

Conclusion



There are very few negative things about this headset. The H7 truly stands out to be one of the best headsets I have ever tested. I would say that adding RGB lighting to the headset and allowing the buyer to change to the color would improve the headset. I have a feeling this is coming our way soon. 2016 is the year of RGB lighting.

The H7 delivers fantastic performance for the price. The USB amp is plug and play, and is easily configured through Creatives software suit. The ability to swap between analog and digital makes the H7 extremely versatile for any situation. The USB amp can be plugged into teh PS4 for easy use. The positional audio and surround sound works really well, and the X-Plus software is my favorite thing about this headset. Just by selecting your favorite games profile you will automatically get specific audio ques to give you an advantage. I highly recommend you buy the H7 if you love PC gaming. You can buy the Creative X H7 on Amazon right now for $130.
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X H7
Description:

Gaming 7.1 Surround sound headset

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