Great Audio Comes From The Sound Blaster G6 HiRes Gaming DAC And USB Sound Card With Headphone Bi-Amp
Computer Vs. Console Gaming Can Be All About The Audio
Computer gamers expect that they’re going to be responsible for the hardware that makes the game fun. And even though a lot of attention is paid to the graphic card (i.e., the video seen), that doesn’t mean that audio isn’t just as important. So again the hardware that makes the audio sound its best is left up to the gamer — do they add an internal audio card or go with an external? Either way the choice is theirs. Not so with a console gamer — the video card is built in and that’s that, and pretty much the same can be said for audio. Sure you can stick in a pair of headphones or connect to a powered speaker, but that doesn’t alter the audio for the better like a hardware device would. So what can a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One or Nintendo Switch gamer do other than grin and bear it. Well that gamer can do better than something by relinquishing well under $200 retail for the Creative Sound Blaster G6 HiRes Gaming DAC and USB Sound Card With Headphone Bi-Amp.
What You Can See Tells You What IT Can Do
Now there’s a good reason for the name having all those words, but let’s start with what we see — a really cool looking aluminum chassis with control buttons, a kind of massive volume knob and a series of different inputs and outputs. It’s also obvious that it’s not ever going inside a computer. Plus there’s Dolby Audio imprinted on one side, along with other naming stuff and its own name.
So before we get to what it does, let’s go for what it says and what that means — the box itself is chock full of this information. At the end (near that big knob) is a 3.5mm jack for a microphone, with the same output at the other end for a pair of headphones (you get a small panel with LEDs to indicate which of these have been plugged in). Checking the box points out that, unlike conventional headphone amplification where the left and right (stereo) channels are amplified all at once, the G6’s discrete custom made amp works at improving the audio streams by amplifying each individually. It’s also designed to drive at its peak efficiency performance-grade sensitive 16U in-ear monitors all the way to gaming headpones and studio-grade 60U headphones. So expect to spend a few $$ to get some good headphones so the G6 can do its job — remember GIGO is garbage in, garbage out and if the headphones are crap it doesn’t matter how good the signal going into them is going to be.
What’s Inside As Well As Outside
On the same side as those LEDs noted above can be found 3 buttons/knobs: the Scout Mode for , the SBX mode for , and the Gain <L R> for . Getting back to the name, we’ve explained the Bi-AMP so that leaves HI-Res, which is obvious in that the quality of the sound ins’t going to be junk, that the chassis is holding a DAC — standing for Digital To Audio Converter — and USB Sound Card which means that the G6 can be connected through USB. Actually that’s not just how it can connect: it uses a USB to connect to a computer (Mac/PC) or PlayStaton 4, laptop or Nintendo Switch, with the same side having a digital optical input for sending a signal from an XBox One or a digital device like a Blu-ray player. This optical in comes along with an optical out for use with powered speakers. Headphone/speaker switching of course is there for your use, as is game-voice volume balancing.
How about another word on that DAC — it’s an ultra-high 130DnB DNR, Hi-Res. What that all means to put it plainly is that it has digital noise reduction. So the audio streams now being played can be 32 bit 384 kHz PCM streams that are authentic and realistic to the ear. Added tech that’s too complicated to go into (and not needed) works to fight against signal distortion that ruptures the quality of the audio performance. And since there’s Dolby Digital decoding and the ability for 7.1 channel sound (virtual to fool your ears and the audio processing is customization to give you clearer voices , accurate cues and bass boosts — should you be using this in a computer with Sound blaster Connect software — hey it’s not an ad but you got to expect Creative who makes this to tie it in with their other product lines). So the results are audio cues that seem more true to life. All this works towards making the audio more valid for gaming. It’s a big deal.
Finally let’s take a moment to note about computers — because the G6 is portable and mobile there’s no reason it can’t be used on a PC or a Mac for gaming along with a console. Other than having a USB input on the computer/laptop, you’d expect the computer to be fairly modern and not 10+ years old to take advantage of what the G6 has to offer. Creative says Windows 7 or greater and Mac OS 10.9 or greater so that’s no stretch at all (forget about XP which apparently some people continue to use even now). Remember you’ll still need quality headphones or a a quality powered speaker. And the results will be worth it.