Home Amps/DACS Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

by Stuart Charles Black
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Big shoutout to the folks over at Creative for sending this demo unit in exchange for a review/video. I am not sponsored by them; just giving my thoughts and impressions.

Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

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Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

Table of Contents

Build & Features
Photo Gallery
Video Review
Quick Comparisons
Final Word
Music, Film, Television, & Gaming

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

The G6

The G6 is an example of an Amp that came along and made me re-think my solid stance on the FiiO K5 Pro, much like an amazing woman can come along and cause you to change your stance on love and the infinite amount of possibilities that it can bring.

The reason is that like the K5 Pro, the G6 is similar in that it also works in a myriad of ways and becomes a valuable asset in the studio as well as in your living room.

Why is that? Well, let’s get into it!

Build, Aesthetic & Features

First off, the G6 is light but still seems robust, resembling something out of Blade Runner.

If Harrison Ford were to listen to music during his downtime, this amp would certainly be the gadget he’d use to do it with. 😀

There’s a nice pad on the bottom that prevents it from moving around at all (incredibly important), and I find it really pleasurable to the touch.

The main portion of the unit has a brushed aluminum look but is mostly built of plastic.

There’s a black stripe running vertically down the center, with the SoundBlasterX Logo engraved in the middle.

The color of the X can be modified to your liking as well, adding to the nerdiness! Just download the SoundBlaster Connect app for your desktop.

From here you can adjust the color of the X, its blinking speed, and it will even blink to your tunes.

SoundBlaster Connect Demo

Note: You can’t see it in the video because I didn’t know about it yet, but if you hover over the line with your mouse, it will turn into a small pen. Now you can actually draw out the FR response however you like! It’s pretty amazing. Once you’re finished drawing, let go. Now the line will be modified according to whatever you drew, and it’s incredibly precise.

On the front, the digital volume dial is backlit and will control the volume in Windows as well.

This is pretty handy as it means you’re not fiddling with both to achieve the desired levels. 

You can press it in once to mute, or hold it for 2 seconds to cycle between the headphone input and the mic input.

You’d obviously use mic mode if you’re gaming with something like a V-Moda Boom Pro, Ant Lion Mod Mic 5, etc.

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

Hold for 2 seconds to go into mic mode.

On the back, there’s a micro USB input for your console/PC, a combo line/optical input as well as a combo line/optical out.

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review


Pretty neat. This basically means you can use it with almost anything. Let’s take a look:

Console Gaming

The great thing about the G6 is that it’s truly plug-and-play with a PS4 via USB.

You don’t need to worry about a separate power source/brick, and you don’t need to worry about an optical cable.

With the K5 Pro, you did.

Both the K5 and G6 are instantly recognized by your console though.

A very welcome feature for us lazy folk who hate having to go into settings.

While you may find it cumbersome to transport the K5 from your living room to the studio/bedroom, with the G6 you likely won’t.

Just snag 2 micro USB cables for each room.

When you want to move it, just unplug and re-plug it.

It’s nice and simple. No hassle. Takes about 20 seconds.

Important note: For Xbox users, you WILL have to utilize the supplied optical cable to get it fired up.

If your source is something like a Blu-ray player, just utilize the line in on the G6 as well.

PC Gaming.

This is just as straightforward. Plug it into your PC, fire up a game, and chill out.

Mobile listening.

Also, use the line input on the G6.

I was able to get it to work with my Android but keep in mind if you use a 3.5mm to 3.5, it still needs bus power.

Very important.

If you want to be all “American” about it, you can use a micro USB to micro USB, because freedom and stuff.

This will drain your phone’s battery quicker but is still a viable option on the go.

Also use the line in for something like a Nintendo Switch or other portable media player (DAP, etc.)

Speakers/Separate Amp.

Use the line-out function to hook up to separate speakers (such as the Eris e3.5) that have line-in or RCA-in!

With the latter, you’d just use an RCA to mini.

In The Box

To support all of that, we’ve got a micro USB cable, an Optical/Line hybrid cable, as well as the Amp/DAC, a Startup guide, and some other miscellaneous paperwork.

The possibilities are pretty much endless because auxiliary (or 3.5mm line) is just about the most common way to connect various types of devices.

I would have liked to see the inclusion of a high-quality 3.5mm interconnect and micro-to-micro in the box though.

The hybrid 3.5/optical is cool, but you can only use it if there’s an optical port available on any given device.

3.5 to 3.5 is a lot more convenient and should have been included as well given how versatile this amp/DAC is.

Lastly, the Amp/DAC is perfect for Gaming if you ALSO like to play competitively with a mic.

Let’s take a gander:

Common Headphone/Mic Setups

  • If you have a gaming headset (more consumer, think Turtle Beach) with a built-in mic, you would just plug the headset into the left side and use mic mode (red).
  • If you have headphones like the SHP9500 with a V-Moda Boom Pro, you would still just plug into the left side. The boom pro plugs into the 3.5mm jack (replacing the stock cable) on the 9500’s ear cup, and the other end runs into the Amp.
  • For Gaming headphones (more audiophile) with an Ant Lion Mod Mic, you would plug the headphones into the left side and the mic into the right side of the G6.
  • For gaming headphones (more audiophile) with an Ant Lion Mod Mic Wireless, just plug the headphones into the left side.

On-board features

In addition to all that, you’ve also got some options on the side of the unit that in my opinion make it stand out from other Amps & DACs.

Scout Mode

This is perhaps the biggest selling point of the G6 for gamers.

Scout mode allows you to hear detail with such pinpoint precision that it’s almost uncomfortable.

Soundstage gets better, and everything opens up considerably to the point where directional cues become much easier to discern (footsteps, gunfire, reloads, etc.)

It basically puts a magnifying glass on everything, revealing it to you on a more intimate level.

Not only that, but sounds are incredibly distinct and have an element of clarity that simply astounds me.

With a good set of headphones, this sentiment only gets stronger.

The great thing about Scout Mode is that it also works great for just listening to music if you tend to like your sounds spaced out.

For competitive gaming, I’m not sure how much more you could ask for.

Long press the Scout Mode button disables all DSP inside the unit and activates direct mode; the only mode that supports 32-Bit/384kHz PCM.

SBX & Gain

This mode toggles surround profiles on and off and sounds especially great with a Genre like Jazz and a headphone like the Philips SHP9500 or AKG K702.

Jazz is difficult to replicate effectively, but the SoundBlasterX with a more open headphone does the job admirably.

In addition to that, we’ve got a pretty helpful gain switch that will power some more demanding headphones.

You can also take it over some sweet jumps.


Creative claims you can drive headphones up to 600 Ohm, and I don’t doubt it for a second.

This thing is power personified. It’s f’ing INTENSE.

In fact, I would advise you to be careful with this monster. It’s libel to slap you across the face if you’re not paying attention.

For headphones about 150 Ohm and under, keep it on low gain.

An example would be my Philips SHP9500; it doesn’t need much power.

This is because the 9500s have a low impedance and are very efficient.

Instead of boring you with specifics, here are some good resources if you’re a bit new.

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

For anything above 150 Ohm and/or about 97dB Sensitivity and below, you’ll want to use high gain.

Headphones like the Sennheiser HD600, AKG K702, HiFiMan 400 series, etc. will need some more juice to get pumping loud enough.

Fortunately for us, this bad boy has heaps of power and gets freaking LOUD asf.

Like, hide your kids hide your wife loud.

With the HD600, I’m only at 22/100 on high gain right now (a comfortable listening level).

That’s a ridiculous amount of headroom.

You can imagine how powerful this thing is and could certainly drive pretty much any headphones.

Add to that, high gain isn’t even that necessary with the HD600.

I could comfortably drive them to loud listening levels on low gain just the same.

But wait, there’s more.

X Amp feature

This is a second huge selling point and likely contributes to the intense, clean, and loud sound you’re getting.

The X Amp inside basically means that each channel (left and right) is amplified separately.

So if you’re gaming and there’s a loud sound on your left (like an explosion), the amp doesn’t compensate by using some power from the right channel.

All sounds are given equal treatment. This is great for consistency and balance.

Speaking of balance, how does this puppy perform?


The G6 is an Amp + DAC rolled into one, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing a separate DAC to go along with it.

You may also refer to it as an external soundcard.

What the heck is a DAC, you ask? Well, that’s a big can of worms that I’ve talked about ad-nausea.

The cool thing about the G6 is that it has an output impedance of 1, which means it provides a very neutral and honest representation of sound.

A low output impedance ensures consistency across various impedance loads and the G6 understands this well.


It works great for film as well, as I found myself watching more Netflix than I generally would otherwise.

Put simply, it became hard to even consider using anything else; I started to prefer the G6 over my beloved K5 Pro because of how open and clear everything became.

With the G6 and a headphone like the AKG K612/702, you really get a sense of the subtle detail apparent in movies.

You’ll start to hear faint things going on around you, to your left and right, to the back, and even vertically!

With gaming, it was more of the same.

I mentioned the reload phenomena in my Fallout 3 vs. New Vegas vs. Fallout 4 article, but Bethesda’s sound design really took center stage with Fallout 4 in particular.

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

Hangin’ out with some homies.

I think the combination of a headphone with good imaging (K702/K612), the open, detailed quality of the G6, and the great soundscapes present in Fallout 4 are part of the reason why I never wanted to leave my couch.

In fact,

It took me quite a while to sit down and write this review, and I think in large part that has to do with just how immersive an experience the G6 can provide.

It’s almost like you’re completely shutting out the real world, and all that’s left is you inside the game environment.

This happened to me watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well.

There are some really emotional moments towards the end of the movie, and the combo mentioned above only amplified that sentiment.

The incredibly intimate experience brought me to tears as the credits rolled, and in large part that’s due to the G6’s excellent rendition of the sound and dialogue, whether that be with Scout Mode, SBX, or otherwise.

With films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Mystic River, the tension was so heightened that I found myself kind of squirming around in my seat a lot.

“The suspense is terrible! I hope it’ll last.” -Willy Wonka
-Willy Wonka

I think oftentimes, headphones get a bad rap.

A lot of purists and audiophile snobs swear by speakers, and there certainly is merit to that.

There’s truly nothing quite like a good 5.1 surround sound setup, but I find myself freaking out more at a good headphones’ ability to provide near-perfect imaging and Soundstage, to the point of me constantly ripping them off and looking around in bewilderment.

“Did that sound come from ground level?” “It sounds like someone’s walking outside on the gravel.”

I live on the second floor and I could have sworn there were times when I thought the sound was coming from the left of me and down, or to the right in the next apartment, or in back of me.

In rewinding the movie I found that not to be the case. It actually came from inside the headphones!

I think the reason it’s so cool is because of the illusion.

In reality,

a headphone really shouldn’t be able to do that if you think about it.

That’s what surround sound is for.

The fact that a small driver in a headphone can achieve such grand results is truly a testament to how far technology has come.

Fallout 4 is infamous for these directional cues, making me think someone is knocking at my door or shuffling around outside.

It can be frightening at times in the dead of night when everything’s mostly quiet and you hear a sound that could in theory have come from beyond the scope of a small apartment.

What the G6 did was it came along and put a magnifying glass up to all of that, so instead of just freaking out a little, you can now wet yourself too.

And if peeing your pants is cool, consider ME Miles Davis.


Photo Gallery

Click to see the G6 in action!

Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review
Hangin' out with some homies.
Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review
Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC ReviewCreative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review
The Troops.
The Zen is a great Amp/DAC combo for those just starting out!
The G6 is a fantastic all around Amp/DAC for the gamer in YOU


Video Review

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Quick compare…

Quick comparisons

Here I’m just going to provide some quick A/B tests with the G6 vs. various other Amp/DACS I have in the studio.

For the sake of consistency and simplicity (as well as an even playing field), I tested the G6 with SBX and Scout Mode OFF. All tests were done with the Sennheiser HD600 running Tidal Hi-Fi and Spotify Premium.


I usually spend the first couple of minutes getting the levels on each DAC the same so my impressions aren’t skewed towards one or the other based on volume (which a lot of people unknowingly do).

Then I go back and forth exhaustively.

If there’s a difference, I will note it.

If there is none, I try a new track to see.

If still nothing after a few tracks, I write it down.

If some differences manifest, I also take note of them.

It’s also important to re-calibrate from song to song because of, you guessed it, the way a song is recorded.

It varies from track to track and artist to artist.

What I listen to

I mostly stick to tracks I’m familiar with and try to test out a few different genres as well.

Test Tracks

  1. The Japanese House – Clean
  3. Chon – Nayhoo
  4. Emily Krueger – Stuck
  5. Kevin Garrett – Factor In
  6. Cabu, Maribelle – After 9
  7. HONNE – No Place Like Home (feat. JONES)
  8. Chelsea Cutler – You Are Losing Me
  9. Kev Brown – Albany
  10. Zoology – Unravel
  11. Cosmo’s Midnight – Snare (feat. Wild Eyed Boy)
  12. Emily Rowed – Pinball
  13. Klyne – Ecstacy
  14. Golden Vessel – Shoulders (feat. Mallrat and Elkkle)
  15. MF DOOM – Potholderz (feat. Count Bass D)
  16. 9th Wonder – BlueFroSoul!!!
  17. 9th Wonder – BreadWonderSoul!!
  18. Alkaholiks – Read My Lips
  19. DRAMA – Forever’s Gone (Listened to full Album GALLOWS, 2016)
Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review

The Troops – From Left To Right: G6, DF Red, E10K, K3, K5 Pro, hip-dac, Zen.

G6 vs. iFi hip-dac

It seems as though the hip-dac puts some meat on the song vs. the more airy, clear sound of the G6.

It’s a subtle difference but is noticeable on certain tracks.

The hip wants you to enjoy the music more (it’s warmer), while the G6 prefers you to be a bit more analytical about it.

The hip seems to have a thin layer of syrup over the top of the music.

G6 vs. E10K

The G6 and E10K also sound very similar, but the E10K may be slightly cleaner sounding overall.

It’s a very crisp sound, perhaps a bit more neutral overall than the G6.

Emily Rowed’s voice on “Pinball” sounds ever so slightly more sterile, forward, and abrasive on the E10K, which echoes sentiments from past comparisons to other DACs.

The E10K is still a fantastic Amp/DAC and holds its own vs. its higher-priced competitors and brothers though.

G6 vs. FiiO K3

The G6 and K3 sound even more similar than the E10K, simply because the K3 is a bit more polished than the E10K.

If the E10K had a hint of grain, the K3 cleans that up, sounding more professional and high-end.

Keep in mind the difference is very subtle, given that the K3’s output impedance is very similar to that of the G6 (1 vs. 1.04)

G6 vs. DragonFly Red

The G6 is a fantastic all around Amp/DAC for the gamer in YOU

The sound of these is also pretty similar, almost identical actually.

If the hip-dac could be a smidgen warmer than the G6, The DragonFly may be a tad more open and airy in some instances, but by and large, you’d be hard-pressed to find a huge difference here.

The DragonFly claims an output impedance of less than 1 Ohm, but I’m not sure what that means exactly.

If I had to guess, I would say it’s not as close to zero as something like a Magni, Objective 2, or ATOM, but also not awfully close to 1.

I would peg it somewhere in the middle (maybe 0.5 – 0.7).

G6 vs. FiiO K5 Pro/K7

The K5 Pro/K7 to my ears sounds a bit warmer and more smoothed over than the G6, but it’s subtle.

It’s not flabby or loose, it’s just more relaxed and laid back.

Still, because the G6’s output impedance is 1 vs. 1.2 for the K5 Pro, the difference between these guys isn’t that significant.

In reality, they sound more similar than you would think!

G6 vs. iFi Zen

I want to say that the Zen has a slightly crisper overall sound than the G6.

The G6 seems just a bit glazed over, like a Krispy Kreme Doughnut. It’s warmer and a bit “hazier” sounding.

This makes sense since the Zen has an output impedance of less than 1, while the G6’s is right at 1.

Again, the differences are subtle in passing. In other words, you probably won’t care. It’s almost unintelligible.

This entire test has only proven to me once again that DACS are super unimportant and overrated in the grand scheme of things.

I just so happen to have a lot of them at my disposal.

What’s the final word?

Closing Thoughts

While both are extremely versatile, I would recommend the G6 first if you’re a gamer/avid film buff and the K5 Pro second.

If you’re more likely to mix and match Amps & DACS, and also need something for your turntable, studio monitors, and/or plan on keeping it in one place and not moving it (like I will be doing), I’d recommend the K5/K7 first and the G6 second.

The K5 Pro also gives headphones a bit of a warmer and more smoothed-over flavor vs. the crisp attack of the G6. The differences are still pretty subtle though.

Just know that the G6 is THE gamer’s choice hands down.

At the end of the day, I was fairly shocked at how good the G6 is, wholeheartedly recommend it.

Learn More:


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Creative SoundBlasterX G6 Amp/DAC Review!!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Is the G6 worth YOUR hard-earned dollar? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!


Music, Film, Television & Gaming

More to come! Keep in mind I listened to a lot of music, but it was mostly individual tracks rather than full albums. I will be demoing some more albums in the future though. 🙂

Kevin Garrett – Made Up Lost Time (2020)

Caribou – Suddenly (2020)


Fargo (1996)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Everybody’s Everything (2019)

Drive (2011)

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Blow (2001)

Alpha Dog (2006)

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Mystic River (2003)

The Wicker Man (1973)

No Country For Old Men (2007)


Bloodline (2015 – 2017)

Better Call Saul (2015 – present)

Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – present)

Love (2016 – 2018)

Arrested Development (2003 – 2006, 2013 – present)

Twin Peaks (1990 – 1991, 2017)

The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964)


The Outer Worlds (2019)

Fallout 4 (2015)

Uncharted 2 – Among Thieves (2009, Platinum Trophy Unlocked)

Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception (2011)

Creative SoundBlasterX G6


Overall Features/Versatility









  • Incredibly Versatile
  • Great Feature Set
  • Nice Balance of Warmth and Detail
  • SoundBlaster Connect Add On


  • Build could have been more robust
  • Would have liked to see a 3.5mm interconnect

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Tiago March 29, 2021 - 6:12 am

Hello Stuart,
Do you know if I can connect the G6´s 3.5mm out into the Zen CAN´s 3.5mm in?
I want to use the G6 as a pure DAC for my Nintendo Switch.


Stuart Charles Black March 29, 2021 - 3:04 pm

Hey man! Yeah just set the G6 up with the Zen CAN; works great! Just make sure you have a solid 3.5mm interconnect cable 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

Tiago April 3, 2021 - 10:52 pm

Hey, just connected the g6 using 3.5mm to RCA, as you said, works great!
Thank man!

Stuart Charles Black April 4, 2021 - 2:14 pm

My pleasure man! So glad you’re enjoying it 🙂 Reach out anytime!

pep April 30, 2021 - 5:09 pm

Stu , which of those can drive dt880 600 ohms?
And hd6xx?

Stuart Charles Black May 3, 2021 - 5:07 pm

Hey man! The G6 advertises up to 600 Ohm so I think you’ll be fine. Do note that I haven’t used the 600 Ohm version of the 880 though. The G6 has a lot of power though and easily drives 6XX. 🙂 Let me know if that helps!

Chris August 23, 2021 - 2:46 pm

Hey, quick question. I have just found out about the thing called IFI CAN. I thought a DAC is all I needed. Read a lot about IFI DAC and CAN combo. As I have the g6 already can I pair it with IFI CAN? Or g6 has something from both worlds? Any articles you recommend on the topic? Thanks.

Stuart Charles Black August 23, 2021 - 2:54 pm

Hey man! Yeah, you can pair it with the Zen Can if you want. Just use 3.5mm to RCA from the G6 into the Zen CAN.

Glad you asked. Check out the series as I cover all bases: https://homestudiobasics.com/ifi-zen-vs-zen-v2-upgraded/

Keep me posted with questions!!

EmojCrniBole October 2, 2023 - 8:15 pm

Well G6 does have DSD support (DSD over PCM) and that is still true DSD just optimized for USB connections, G6 can play DSD64 and DSD128. Of course in direct mode.

G6 can handle 600 ohm headphones but don’t expect that you can crank them at their max volume, they can with EQ hit 100dB, which is fine (that I got with AKG K240 Monitor later production and AKG K260 Professional using on high gain), the high gain (+14dB) and XAMP is only that give G6 chance for 600 ohm headphones “adequate” using.
Warning for 600 ohm users, disable RGB light because temperature can go very high in matter of months up to one year, headphone jack will become loose and you will need to solder it again. With RGB off you will eliminate that risk and your G6 will also be happy, oh one thing to do, every Windows power saving optimization for USB disable, or you can also do it in BIOS for any case. Windows with power saving settings can make G6 don’t get enough power for optimal operation.

Impedance is more close to 2 ohm than 1 ohm, Creative did lie about that, as also 130 dB (in reality is 120 dB, don’t get wrong you will get deaf or destroy 16-32 ohm headphone drivers).

I don’t recommend using Scout mode in Urban environment because it will destroy your ability to accurately locate enemies (if more NPC or players are present Scout mode is going to deteriorate even more), forest and desert environment are going to benefit using Scout mode.

Stuart Charles Black October 7, 2023 - 2:52 pm

Thank you for the comment! I was not aware it supported DSD. I will have to add that in.


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