Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC and headphone amp ZZ090 (AV review)

Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC and headphone amp solves the issues of poor sound and low volume from USB host devices like PC, Mac, PS4/5, Nintendo switch and some USB-C smartphones.


This gum packet-sized device plugs into the USB-C port on the host device and has a 3.5mm port on the other to connect cabled gaming headphones and music to studio standard headphones. No, you cannot expect a $109.95 device to perform like one costing 10-20 times that, but it does an amazing job of supporting the full specs of whatever headphones you plug in.


To be techy, Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC has

  • 24-bit/96kHz range (if you want more the X3 and X4 go up to 32/24bit/192kHz)
  • Playback resolution 16 or 24bit/44.1/48/96kHz
  • Ti/Burr-Brown INA1620 dual audio operational amplifier with integrated thin-film resistor pairs and EMI filtering to deliver high output power with extremely low distortion and crosstalk
  • AKM AK4377 DAC
  • Can drive headphones from 16-600Ω
  • Handles streams to 7.1
  • 3.5mm 4-pole supports microphone headsets as well
  • Microphone 16/24bit, 48/96kHz
  • Creative App (Windows or Mac) allows for personalisation and tweaking (settings stored on the device)
  • Smart Comms (Windows only) cleans up mic and background noise (NoiseClean-in and NoiseClean-out) as well as auto-mute
  • Supports SoundBlaster Super X-Fi (all devices). EQ, Crystal Voice (PC/Mac)
  • Smartphone compatibility tested on Android
  • Website
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • RRP $109.95 but shop around
  • CyberShack Creative news and reviews

The Creative App (Windows tested) – Exceed

It is the App that Windows should have, providing sound modes, Super X-0Fi, Acoustic engine, Equaliser, SmartComms, Crystal Voice, Mixer, and Scout Mode.

The acoustic engine is very effective; You can read more about it here.

  • Surround – Creates unprecedented levels of audio realism by producing virtual speakers around you. (ON/OFF; Range: 0 to 100).
  • Crystaliser – Makes music sound as good as the artist originally intended by ensuring that every audio detail is heard. (ON/OFF; Range: 0 to 100).
  • Bass – Dramatically improves the sound experience by expanding frequency quench tones. (ON/OFF; Range: 0 to 100).
  • Smart Volume – Intelligently minimises abrupt volume changes by automatically adjusting the loudness of your audio playback. (Night OR Loud; Range: 0 to 100; ON/OFF)
  • Dialog+ – Intelligently enhances voices in music and movies for drastically clearer vocal range. (On/Off; Range: 0 to 100).

Who is it for?

Anyone who uses a cabled headphone (with or without a mic), and must connect via USB. It caters for gamers to audiophiles (although there are higher-end models for this audience). The mic support means it is suitable for video conferencing.

It does not claim Android support but will improve the sound on almost all of them because the DAC/Amp is much better than the onboard ones. It also works with USB-C iPad and iPhone with a Lightning to USB-C female adapter.

CyberShack’s view – Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC and headphone amp ZZ090 is a potent package

It’s a consumer-grade DAC/Amp with benefits. It is also a low-cost, near audiophile standard DAC/Amp that will materially improve the sound from PC, Macs and more. It also may work with Android and that means 3.5mm connectivity.

Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC and headphone amp ZZ090

$109.95 but shop around







Ease of Use





  • USB-C powered
  • Works with a wide range of devices
  • Creative App adds value
  • Definite sound improvement
  • At the price, it’s a real winner


  • None really for the price