Creative SXFI AMP Review: A truly noticable difference

SXFI AMP product

Headphones can be a slave to the device you are using, namely a cellphone. When using them, you are stuck with whatever audio DAC hardware the cellphone includes. So in many cases, you’re not utilizing the capacity of those expensive headphones. Creative’s Super X-Fi (SXFI) AMP will help you achieve the full potential of your headphones on nearly every device. The SXFI AMP I reviewed was the USB Type-C variant, but it is also available for Apple’s Lighting connection as well. Let’s take a closer look.

Specs and Features

  • Audio
    • DAC: AKM AK4377
    • SNR: Up to 120dB
    • Supported Input Format: 2.0/5.1/7.1 Channel, 24-bit/96kHz
    • THD+N: Up to -110dB (0.0003%)
    • IMD: <0.0022%
    • Crosstalk: <-75dB
  • Amplification
    • Gain: 3X
    • Max Power (16 ohm): 425 mW
    • Max Power (32 ohm): 370mW
    • Max Power (300 ohm): 52mW
    • Max Power (600 ohm): 26mW
  • Connectivity: PC, Mac, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android 7.0+, Low-jitter Asynchronous USB UAX2
  • Physical
    • Wired
    • Aluminum body
    • Matte-black fine-textured anodized
    • Dimensions & Weight: (in) 0.4 (D) x 0.7 (W) x 2.6 (H), 15g
    • Connector: (Input) USB Type-C, (Output) 3.5mm Jack

sxfi amp holography

Design

The SXFI AMP is very slim and compact with a sturdy feel thanks to the textured aluminum body. It has a premium feel chrome accent across the edges on top and bottom. The buttons on the face of the SXFI AMP are well spaced. There are on/off, volume up, volume down, and pause/play buttons with a firm click feel when pressed. Each of these buttons is clearly marked. There is a 3.5mm jack input at the top with the USB Type-C output at the bottom.

The on/off button doesn’t necessarily turn off the device, but adjusts the SXFI experience. In “off” mode, I was still able to amplify the quality of audio. However, turning the AMP “on” will enable the SXFI experience. So what is the SFXI experience like?

SFXI Experience

I will start by saying that many have tried but few succeed. The SXFI experience will literally end headphone headaches. I say this because with normal headphones, even with 5.1 or 7.1 virtual surround sound, the audio will still apply pressure on the head. It’s as if I have speakers 1 inch from my head, which they are. With SXFI enabled, it will cast that sound from what feels like a further distance, as if you have high-end 7.1 surround sound multi-speaker setup about 2-3 feet from your head. This effect is called holography.

It is because of this effect that there is less pressure on the head, allowing me to listen to music for hours on end, without a headache… at all. Several other companies have attempted this effect, but they only felt as though it was an eco. The SXFI AMP will produce mids, highs, and lows and very high levels while maintaining absolute clarity. Due to the spacing of the drivers, the lows will impress you. I saw a dramatic improvement with other headphones I used with the SXFI AMP as well.

I was also sent the Creative Aurvana Special Edition SXFI certified headphones to get the full experience. While using the SXFI certified headphones, I experience an even more fine-tuned audio, especially in the mids and highs. The SXFI app, which is available for Android, iOS, PC, and Mac, creates a personal tuned experience. There are some presets available, but I found that I could enhance it to my personal preference very easily. The mobile app will specifically provide a very personal experience.

SXFI App

The SXFI app can be used to adjust the equalizer available within the app, but it also personalizes personal audio in a very interesting way. Using the camera on my phone, I took pictures of my ears (left and right) and head (front). Using this information, the app will customize the experience to the shape of the head and ears. This is important because of how the ear grabs sounds.

My wife and I have different ears, and we both noticed a better quality experience when creating profiles for our own ears. The app uses complex algorithms and computationally intensive techniques to custom fit audio, for every individual, through a sophisticated Head and Ear-Mapping process. It’s very innovative.

Things to Note

The SXFI AMP doesn’t only work with music in the app. I was also able to listen to music through Spotify, watch movies with Netflix, and play games on my PS4. When using it on Spotify, ensure that you change the settings in the Spotify app to allow for extreme/very high audio streaming quality. This part is important since getting the best quality available for the SXFI AMP will make all the difference. I also set several custom audio profiles for the different uses.

While using Netflix, I had to create another audio profile because the one I used for Spotify felt too distant and watered down. I was able to create a more cinematic experience very quickly. The same goes for gaming on the PS4. Each uses different ways to express their audio, so I would definitely recommend setting about 3 custom audio profiles.

While using the SXFI AMP on PS4 via USB, it will hijack the microphone too, even if there isn’t a microphone on the headphones being used. I was unable to play with the Aurvana SE headphones and talk with friends. There are other SXFI options available with a microphone, so if chatting is important, look down that road. The SXFI AMP is not compatible with Xbox One, but Creative said they are working with Microsoft to find a solution.

Final Reaction

I think the SXFI AMP is absolutely necessary for those that want the best audio experience for mobile. As for gaming, It will work fantastically for audio. It’s truly an immersive experience. Just make sure the headphones have a microphone. I have a Dolby Atmos speaker setup in my living room, but when the kids are asleep, I will 100% use the SXFI AMP and listen to movies with my headphones as to stay quiet without losing that cinematic audio experience. I love the holography that the SXFI AMP provides and find myself wearing headphones more often.

The SXFI experience is magical and I can’t get enough. For the price of $149.99, the SXFI AMP will be bundled with the Aurvana SE SXFI certified headphones. There are plenty other SXFI certified headphones that are available on the Creative website, and other products as well. Like the Sound BlasterX H6 headset I reviewed not long ago. In the end, all I can say is that you have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.

Score: 5/5 Atoms

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About author

Nick Keogan
Nick Keogan 30 posts

I've reviewed gaming and tech for over 10 years now. I'm a family man based out of Utah. Grew up in the Greater Washington DC Area.