What are the main differences between Soundblaster’s G3 and G6? Should you bypass the G3 altogether? Is The G6 a snap purchase? Who do these products benefit? All of these answers and more, comin’ up!
Greetings comrade and Welcome aboard.. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music .. all over again, so.. don’t want to read?!
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Admittedly, both of these combo Amp/DACS feel pretty light, and dare I say cheap in the case of the G3. The G6 is rather plastic-y, but the G3 is even lighter, smaller, and feels rather flimsy in your hand. To be expected for around $50.
The G6 actually feels pretty solid in your hand, it’s just kind of a lightweight, or a featherweight if we’re thinking in terms of Boxing.
Fortunately, both have padded feet on the bottom that prevent them from moving around too much. The G3’s sports 2 built in horizontal pads towards the top and bottom, while the G6’s is one giant pad that covers the entirety of the unit.
Both of the pads do a fairly admirable job of keeping the units in place, so no real complaints there.
Aesthetically, the G6 is much cooler and more futuristic looking, while the G3 is more of a utilitarian type of product.
The G6 looks more like something Harrison Ford might purchase if he needed to blast his way out of a mess.
Both units have a 3.5mm headphone jack, a mic jack, and an optical input, but the G3’s optical in appears front and center while the G6’s is at the back. The G6 also has an optical/line output, while the G3 does not. This is a great feature if you plan to connect the dac to separate speakers, but not everyone will utilize it.
Both light up, but the G3’s is a halo ring light vs. the X of the G6. The G6 does also have a halo ring light behind the volume pot to indicate what mode you’re in. More on that in a sec.
While the G6 has a micro USB input on the back for connection to your various devices, the G3’s is a non detachable mouse looking tail that terminates in a USB-C. It does come with a USB-C to A adapter, so don’t fret. You can plug it into your laptop, PC, Console with no problem. For the Nintendo Switch, you’ll just remove the adapter. You can also utilize the USB-C jack if you have a MAC, or in my case, a Lenovo X1 Extreme with USB-C ports.
To enter mic mode on the G6, simply push and hold the volume pot on the front. The halo ring light will switch from a cool blue to bright red.
Now you’re ready to scream obscenities at people you don’t know and will never meet in person.
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Aside from all that silliness, the G3 is a little different with regards to mic mode. Instead of pushing the volume pot, you’ll simply use the switches on the side.
There’s a switch for the mic on/off on the left with a volume rotary dial, and a switch on the right for when you’re simply listening to music (VOL), or mixing your voice with the game audio.
To me, the G3’s method is actually simpler and more straightforward. For the G6, you set the game audio first, then press and hold the volume pot to enter mic mode and set the mic audio second. It may take a couple of tweaks, but it’s still pretty self explanatory at the end of the day.
Let’s get into some of the features for each though.
Both the G6 and G3 have SBX, and Scout Mode features, but the G3 does not have the extra gain. On the G6, you’ll tick a switch on the right hand side for Scout Mode. With the G3, just press the middle button once for a powder blue color, which indicates “Footsteps enhancer mode.”
Ticking the switch to “MIXING” results in a Green, Amber, or Teal color depending on where the volume is at. Now just adjust to taste.
While I’d feel comfortable driving pretty much any headphone with the G6, I cannot say the same for the G3.
You’ll mostly want to stick to low impedance, high sensitivity headphones with it. It will have trouble with many mid-fi offerings like the HD600, HIFIMAN DEVA, K702, etc. It’s important to note that Creative doesn’t provide specific power output numbers, but they do say the G6 will drive up to 600 Ohm headphones. I think that’s about right. It’s a lot of power in your hands..
See video for the kicker^ 😂
Both have their own version of an add-on app: SoundBlaster Connect for the G6, and SoundBlaster Command for the G3. You can also download an app for your phone for quick modifications while you’re PC gaming. Creative has made things incredibly easy for you lazy a** couch potatoes who haven’t moved from your indentation for some 98 years.
Both of these apps do roughly the same things, but the G6’s has the customizable color options that I did a separate video on, which you can see here:
SoundBlaster Connect Demo
You can tweak a lot inside the apps, from EQ, to your SBX profile, the mixer, etc.
One thing to keep in mind is that the G3 is not compatible with a SexBox One, while the G6 is. Just make sure to use the supplied optical/line cable from the XBox to the G6. PS4 users will simply plug and play via USB. Both are also compatible with Nintendo Switch as well.
I’m not going to go into everything the G6 does, as I’ve already talked about it ad nausea. I’ll leave links above and below to my review and video. Be sure to check those out and let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I’d be more than happy to help you out.
The most important distinction here is the sound. Does the G6 sound markedly better than the G3? Let’s take a gander.
Headphones Used: Koss KPH30i
Source: Tidal Hi-Fi, Spotify Premium
For the purposes of keeping things consistent, streamlined, and pragmatic, I used the easy to drive Koss KPH30i to compare. This prevents me from having to worry about power requirement issues with other headphones, and constantly trying to achieve the right levels when going back and forth.
You’ll notice the G3 is clear and fairly crisp sounding, but it’s dry in comparison to the more lush, inviting sound of the G6. This makes sense as to me; the G3 sounded better when I was gaming than it did when I was simply listening to music on my laptop. The dry nature of it reminds me of the Audio Technica ATH AD900x, a long respected and recommended gaming headphone with some of the same characteristics.
Like the G3, it’s perfect for picking out tiny details and sounds in a fast paced environment. In other words, it’s raw, transparent, and fairly unforgiving.
It’s simply not as elegant sounding as it’s more expensive counterpart, and to me this is part of where your extra money goes. The G3 is certainly no slouch, but to me it doesn’t measure up. HAHA see what I did there? Because ridiculous DAC measurm… nevermind.
Dry is perhaps the absolute best way I can describe it. By that I mean it’s a bit papery sounding, while the G6 dons a more professional type of presentation. The G3 is just a bit outclassed here, and it shows.
So what do I mean by “papery”?
Why you askin’ so many questions, homie?
It’s hard to explain. Like voices and instruments just don’t have the depth and realism as they do with the G6. The G6 also has a slightly warmer tone to my ears, just a tad north of neutral at about a 1 Ohm Output impedance.
The only real issue I have with the G3 is it’s lack of cable slack. Because it’s not detachable, plugging into the PS4 and sitting on my couch with a pair of headphones is barely do-able. With the G6, I have plenty of cable and can sit comfortable in most any position.
I just prefer the G6 more. I use it more, I rely on it pretty much every day, and it’s super easy to transport from my living room to the studio. I keep 2 micro USB cables in each spot, so it takes less than 30 seconds to get set up and running.
This is one case where I would absolutely recommend the more expensive product, because to me it’s worth it to own a G6 and then some. Out of the 9+ Amps and DACS that I have on my desk right now, it certainly gets the most use.
It’s incredibly versatile, it’s power packed with more features than an industrial sized vibrator, and sounds incredible. I mean that. I really was not expecting a product specifically tailored to gamers to sound like something an audiophile would fawn over, but boy was I ever wrong.
The G6 very well could be all anyone could ever need, and I truly mean that. It is a snap purchase, so…
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.