While I was able to get the X7 and XM7 speakers setup without installing anything. To take full advantage of all of its features you do need to jump online and download its software. The software is a little hard to find but you can find it on their support website or HERE. Once there you should also grab the latest firmware as well to make sure your X7 is up to date. So the software pack includes a few programs but really it all comes down to the “Sound Blaster X7 Control Panel”. In the control panel you first go through a quick setup wizard that will ask if you plan on using speakers or headphones (or both), then from there it prompts for things like high impedance headphones as well as asking specifically if you are using the XM7 speakers. The last question asks if you have setup the X7 with their high wattage power adapter, if you do they will turn up the wattage on the X7 for you. Once through that you are dropped on the main page of the software.
The program has its main menu down the left side with all of your settings on the right. Down I the bottom left corner we have a volume control on every page and you can flip between your headphones or speakers on the fly. If you go up in the top right corner, you can also find a dropdown menu where you can get into a few other options including running the setup wizard again. Our first option page is the SBX Pro Studio, if you guys had the chance to check out our previous reviews of the E1 and E5 you would have seen this as well. This is where you can turn on as well as tune a few different audio boosts. Personally I prefer my audio to be mostly untouched so I avoided using this on my day to day use, but I did get into it a little in my performance testing and will talk about that later.
The next page is the CrystalVoice page. This page combines the settings for the microphone array on the front of the X7 along with their CrystalVoice tuning that is the microphone equivalent of the SBX Pro Studio that spoke about in the last paragraph. Specifically, you can get into echo reduction and tune out background noise as well as tune the microphone arrays focus to cover the whole room or what is directly in front of it. I was especially impressed though that you have an EQ option for the microphone, you rarely have the option to tune that at all.
The next page is Creatives “Scout Mode” a gaming specific mode that you can turn on that will tune your in game audio to focus on footsteps and gunshots to hopefully be able to help pinpoint where the person. The idea is to gain a bit of an advantage before they hear your footprints as well.
Next is the speaker page. Here we can finally get into your audio experience a little. Specifically, here you can help the software understand what speaker setup you are using. By using the XM7’s there is an option directly for them and when you use them they give additional options to select if you want an energetic, neutral, or warm sound from them. Here you can also tune a power subwoofer if you are using one with the XM7’s as well. This page also has tabs up top to let you calibrate your speaker location. That page lets you input how far the speakers are away from you on each side to have the best audio experience even if you aren’t centered in between the speakers. The polarity option up top will test the speaker wire polarity and give you the option to invert the output if you have your speakers wired up wrong. The best option in my opinion though is the direct mode option that basically hard wires your speakers, avoiding any tuning at all to give you the purest output possible.
The headphones page is nearly bare compared to the speakers page but we do have a direct mode option just like the speakers. The only other option here is the ability to turn on high gain mode for headphones that have an impedance of 600 ohms.
The cinematic page should be renamed the Dolby page because all you find here is the option to set how much work the Dolby dynamic rage control will be doing. You can set it to full, normal, or down to a night mode.
It might sound crazy but I think what I liked the most about the X7 software was to have quick access to a full mixer unlike the basic mixer built into windows and into most software. Here you can change the overall volume of course, but below that you can tune or mute each input that the X7 has including the USB host and Bluetooth options. Beyond that, each input can be selected and you can tune the left and right side balance. They even included the microphone array here, you control how much of the microphone array you hear over the speakers/headphones, that is why I have it muted of course. Then down at the bottom you can expand the recording mixer as well where we have all of these options again but with all of the recording inputs.
The last page is simple and right to the point, you can turn on the EQ. With it on you have a dropdown list of standard settings or you can set it to your preference and then save it as an option as well.
Well just like the mobile DAC the X7 also has its own mobile app, this is especially great if you aren’t using the X7 for PC audio like I am. With a mobile app you can dig into settings for the X7 while listing to mobile audio as well as audio for a home theatre or console gaming setup. To get it up and running on Android (it also works with iOS) you need to install the Sound Blaster X7 Control app as well as a background app called Sound Blaster Services. You can find both on google play.
Once everything is all setup the X7 Control app opens up with two pages of options to pick from. Each option for the most part matches a page on the PC program as well. This isn’t really a big surprise given the app is there to give the same control to everyone who isn’t using the X7 with a PC.