Headset and audio creators have been attempting to recreate surround sound using a pair of stereo headphones. And in fact, there is an entire catalog that lists a variety of software standards that strives to provide you with an immersive experience.
Yet with Creative, they chose to take a different route with their Super X-Fi or SXFI Amp. It is a hardware solution designed to provide you with an audio listening experience that’s akin to a top-notch multi-speaker system, but via your headphones.
Sounds interesting? If that’s the case, then sit back and relax, because we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ll check out the specifications, features, performance, and everything else about the Creative SXFI Headphone AMP to see if it’s something worth purchasing.
But first, what’s inside the box?
Creative SXFI Headphone AMP Review – What’s in the Box?
The Creative SXFI Headphone AMP comes in a similar-looking package with the Creative Outlier Air. The front part of the box displays an image of nature, with Super X-Fi written at the top-left corner of the package. At the bottom portion of the box, you will find the name of the product written in bold, black fonts over a white background. Above this, you will read the words “Experience Magical Audio Reality”.
Inside, you will find the Creative SXFI Headphone AMP itself, together with other items such as the USB-C to micro-USB adapter, a USB-C to USB-C cable, the user manual, and quick start guide for your reference.
Creative SXFI Headphone AMP Review
The Creative SXFI Headphone AMP’s external amplifier takes the size of a finger, which is relatively small, and that’s a good thing. In general, it works as a short cable extension, but with a button included.
The case of SXFI Headphone AMP is aluminum-made and has two buttons along with it: one is the power off/on switch. It manages the holographic effects, while the other is the volume controls and pause/play button in the middle.
It has a simple yet stylish exterior since it doesn’t have an IPX rating for being sweat-proof since people don’t utilize amps while working out. Also, the additional weight would make listening more challenging. Overall, it’s a well-built device that’s durable, robust, and aesthetically pleasing.
The Creative SXFI Headphone AMP has a gain of 3x and a maximum power of 425 mW (16 Ohms), 370 mW (32 Ohms), 51 mW (300 Ohms), and 26 mW (600 Ohms).
It can connect with computers that use Windows 10 Creator’s Update (version 1703), High Sierra Linux, and macOS 10.13; the PS4, Nintendo Switch, and mobile phones with Android 7.0 and above. It has a low jitter USB UAC2, and it doesn’t require any diver.
For the dimensions of the SXFI Headphone AMP, it is 67 x 17.5 x 8.7 millimeters (H x W x D). It has a total weight of 15 grams. It features a USB-C input connector, and a 3.5-millimeter TRRS jack for its output connector.
3X Amplification Power
The SXFI Headphone AMP provides 3X amplification gain to deliver powerful audio. It supports headphones with high impedances that reach up to 600 Ohms to power studio-grade models using your mobile devices. With the SXFI Headphone AMP, you can enjoy the full specifications of your high-end headphones wherever you go.
The SXFI Headphone AMP utilizes a separate 128dB AKM 32-bit DAC to deliver maximum audio fidelity with perfect quality that yields up to 0.0003% THD and 120dB SNR.
The AKM DAC is well-known for offering fidelity to reproduce sound with high precision. It supports and ensures high-resolution audio playback, allowing you to hear every single detail in your audio.
As mentioned earlier, the Creative SXFI Headphone AMP is not larger than a finger. Even with that size, it delivers exceptional audio clarity and performance. It features a single aluminum unibody with an anodized black finish that has a fine texture. Also, the SXFI weighs a total of 15 grams, which makes it highly portable.
Personalized Immersive Audio for You
Super X-Fi technology imitates the audio quality of a high-end multi-speaker sound system of a professional studio. It recreates the audio’s original depth, realism, detail, and immersiveness in your headphones.
Everyone has unique head and ear shapes, which affects how we hear sounds. The Super X-Fi technology utilizes Artificial Intelligence to personalize your headphones’ audio and give you better listening experience.
Using the Product
Setting up the SXFI Headphone AMP starts with downloading the SXFI app, which is available in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. The SXFI App is relatively new, and it’s not yet available in some countries, so you might have issues searching for the app.
Once installed, you will have to create an account by registering with your email, then personalize your profile. To do this, you will take photos of your ears and face so it can customize the best settings for audio based on the shapes of these.
After that, you can select which headphones you’re using through the SXFI App. Go to the settings menu then find yours from the provided range of brands and models. Usually, you will have to choose “Unknown headphones.” If you’re using earphones, select “Unknown In-Ear.” Creative continuously expands this selection so you can use more headphones with the amplifier.
Now, you should be over with changing the settings in the SXFI app, so let’s proceed to save your settings to the SXFI Headphone AMP. When you plug the amplifier into your mobile phone, it will automatically upload and save the settings you’ve made. When you’re finished with this step, you will get a message that says, “Configuration done!”. You can now listen to your favorite songs or enjoy the immersive sounds when you watch movies or play video games.
For the performance of the Creative SXFI Headphone AMP, we tried using it with the Super X-Fi disabled and compared it with the audio quality it delivers when enabled.
We first tested the SXFI Headphone AMP without enabling the Super X-Fi technology and surprisingly, it was better than using the headphones alone. For starters, the amp is for headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms, which was great since it was capable of driving a wide range of models.
We tried different types of headphones with this amplifier, and every model had an impressive audio quality. The overall sound is better than what we’d usually get from an official Pixel 3 USB C to 3.5-millimeter dongle. The reason for this superior audio quality is the SXFi Headphone AMP’s AK4377 DAC. Overall, its sound quality without the Super X-Fi technology is good, with a slight emphasis on the low-end.
It’s good to note that the Creative SX-Fi Headphone AMP is not the ultimate solution that will make cheap headphones sound great. However, this effectively enhances the audio quality of your mid-range headphones.
Now, let’s see what this amplifier can do when we enable the Super X-Fi technology.
With the X-Fi Technology enabled, the headphones delivered increased soundstage. It feels like the headphones are playing music not only from both left and right sides but also above and below, giving the audio a 3D effect. While that’s one good thing about enabling the feature, it also brings more than the increased soundstage. While listening to music, we noticed an increase in the mid-bass and treble. The overall audio became fuller and richer, which is something we appreciated.
All in all, the SXFI Headphone AMP is an excellent enhancement for our headphones, and we enjoyed listening to our favorite songs with this. Also, it enhanced the sounds in our games and movies, which made our entire audio experience more fun. While the amp alone already performed well, enabling the Super X-Fi technology allowed our headphones to deliver better sound quality. When enabled, this feature makes a lot of improvements to your audio to provide the best quality for you. We truly appreciate the Creative SXFI Headphones’ excellent performance, so we’re giving it our two thumbs up.
The Creative SXFI Headphone AMP is a great tool to enhance your headphones’ audio. We had a lot of fun using it while playing games, watching movies, and listening to music, thanks to the Super X-Fi technology. With this amplifier, the headphones delivered enhanced audio that sounded a lot better than what we expected. We also like the compact design that makes it highly portable. Because of that, we were able to enjoy high-quality audio wherever we went. If you’re looking for an amplifier that can enhance your headphones’ sound without having to purchase high-end models, the Creative SXFI Headphone AMP is perfect for you.