Audio control at your fingertips is key for any gamer or content creator. The ability to take all of your sources into one device and manipulate the mix and the output, something small that can sit to the side of the desk and not take up too much landscape, and overall ease of use makes for a better streamer and, more often than not, a more alive gamer. The people at Creative found a… creative solution for this with the Soundblaster GC7, a USB DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) with a ton of on-board control and audio enhancement to increase your overall experience.
The Soundblaster GC7 is roughly 50% larger than my cell phone, so it is not going to take up a lot of space on you. It has three knobs (Volume, Game/Voice Mix and a knob to adjust the values of the controls in the centre). In addition, there are five buttons to control different aspects of the audio, four buttons that can be customized to do quite a bit and a mute button for the microphone.
The back of the device has a line-in jack as well as a line-out, a toggle for high and low gain, optical in/out ports, a USB-C Port, another toggle to swap between Mobile, Console and PC Controls (The instructions will give you specific guidance as to how you set up for each scenario). If you are not plugging into a PC, the USB Port is still necessary to power the device. The power button seems like an antiquated idea with a USB-powered device. It is one of 6 devices on my desk powered by USB-C and is the only one with a power button.
The front of the device has jacks for your headphones and a 3.55 mm jack for a microphone. I find this limiting for a microphone jack because of the sheer small number of mics with a 3.55 mm plug. I, personally happen to have access to a couple of lavalier mics that could do the trick, but otherwise I am stuck with headset audio only. The ability to add any mic into the interface through the software would have been a very simple fix while still offering this setup for gaming only setups where the headset audio is probably just fine.
“The Soundblaster GC7 is roughly 50% larger than my cell phone, so it is not going to take up a lot of space on you.”
Creative’s Software opens up a lot of the Soundblaster GC7’s functionality, unleashing a ton of acoustic enhancements to improve your listening experience. The Sound Mode is built with a bunch of presets including gaming, music and movies, but also specific presets for games like Genshin Impact, League of Legends and a great deal more.
The Acoustic Engine has a number of controls available to you, including Surround, a Crystalizer to clarify your sound, Smart Volume to level off the loudness and Dialog+ to enhance voice in music and movies. It is really a simplified version of most of the other controls you will find on here. There is a whole 10-band equalizer in the software, and you also have Scout Mode which, according to the software, is “designed to help you hear beyond what you see such as footsteps, speech and weaponry handling acoustic characteristics without involving the use of explicit frequency shaping for a complete gaming experience.”
Your custom buttons can be configured in the software to toggle any of the above settings as well as set it as a media control to play/pause or navigate between songs, launch an application, file or URL, input text or trigger a macro in the form of a keystroke. This doesn’t quite get you to the level of a Stream Deck in terms of its controls, but it gives you some simple functionality that will be helpful in the end.
“Creative’s Software opens up a lot of the Soundblaster GC7’s functionality, unleashing a ton of acoustic enhancements to improve your listening experience.”
A huge addition to the Soundblaster GC7 is the addition of Super X-Fi, a Creative-owned processing service that actually runs on a separate app (but can be launched from the Creative app). When combined with Super X-Fi products, the app uses computational audio to give you less of a headphone experience and more like something where you are immersed in full cinema sound.
A price tag of $169.99 USD is a reasonable price for the gaming community to get behind because it is not limited to any one type of gamer. It hooks up to all your consoles and your PC without issue and can do so simultaneously, switchable from the device itself. It gives you all the control you need within your reach.