To put the X7 and the XM7’s to the test I have been using the setup at my desk for a few months. This means I tested it while working as well as gaming. The reason testing while working is important is because day to day I work while listening to music or with a movie or TV show on in the background. A lot of my testing was done using Pandora but Creative did send over a trial of Tidal, a lossless music streaming provider. On top of all of that testing I did test with my own lossless files as well. So how did the combination perform? Did it out perform the Corsair desktop speakers that it replaced?
Well the easy answer to that is a huge yes, going from the SP-2500’s that performed well to the X7/XM7 combination was night and day. For starters going with the X7 and XM7 combination took up a lot more space on my desk, this could have been avoided a little if I wasn’t running a low sitting monitor stand that forced me to turn the speakers on their sides. Of course this wasn’t exactly space I was using every day as the speakers do sit behind my monitors. The audio performance was an even bigger change. The SP-2500’s sounded good but listening to the X7/XM7 combination was crisp, clear, and had a much better range on the high end. On top of that even with the lower powered X7 I never really needed more power or could push the XM7’s to their limit. Really the only noticeable change that was a downside was that while the XM7’s had good bass, they lacked the chest pounding lows that a dedicated sub provides. It’s a good thing that the X7 supports adding a sub, I will be looking at adding one soon to add a little to the experience.
I mentioned the combination having a lot of power but to put things in perspective. With my old setup I would run the windows volume all the way up and day to day would have the corsairs at about 1/3 volume turning them up to at least half way when jamming. With the X7/XM7 combination you only use the windows volume setting, but at most day to day I could run it at 16, turning it up to 20 (out of 100) when kicking it up. This was a huge change initially, I felt like I could hardly turn them down in fact but I quickly adjusted. On the fly volume changes were easy with the large metal volume knob on the front of the X7. Pushing the volume button in to mute on the other hand was difficult, the X7 would just slide across my desk every time.
On top of the good performance with the XM7’s that were designed to work with the X7, I spent a lot of time testing it with a nice pair of headphones as well. For my testing I used V-MODA Crossfade M-100’s and with the X7 pushing them the audio quality was even better than the XM7’s, especially on the low end. To turn my M-100’s into a headset I used the V-MODA boom microphone kit plugged into the X7 and at times I also just went with the microphone array in the front of the X7. The combination of the X7 and the M-100’s with a boom mic was especially effective with friends in TeamSpeak commenting that I sounded like I was sitting right next to them, something they have never said in the past with any other microphone. The microphone array wasn’t as effective as it did pick up noise from around the room, especially the mechanical keyboard between me and the X7. That said the array sounds good, much better than a lot of other cord free setups.
While I mostly used the X7 with my PC. I really came to appreciate the flexibility that it offers. Especially when wanting to play audio from my phone or tablet. Syncing via bluetooth was quick and easy by using NFC and once synced the audio quality was better than expected although still limited by the bluetooth platform. Playing via the host USB option was much better, basically turning my tablet into a music controller and keeping it charged at the same time.
I mentioned earlier that I typically prefer to run a mostly pure audio experience. That said I couldn’t exactly test the X7 without trying out some of the options on the SBX Pro Studio. While I prefer a raw sound I will admit toying with the crystallizer and bass settings I was able to improve a little on the lack of bass of the XM7’s. The bass setting is actually a great feature, here we can set the exact crossover frequency that our speakers start to have issues with the bass preventing the X7 from pushing bass to the speakers that could cause damage or more importantly cause distortion. The crystallizer option is a little cheaper cleaning things up and just adding a little more to the highs and the bass from what I can tell. The smart volume option could also be useful, it helps prevent sudden volume changes, especially when set to night mode.