Creative X7 LE Amp and E-MU XM7 Bookshelf Speaker Review
Most of what we need to say here is covered in the video, so we highly recommend watching that for a more in-depth take on the X7 LE.
The quality of the audio produced by this combination of outstanding amplifier and excellent speaker arrangement is fantastic. Everything we threw at it was handled with aplomb. You have to start with the looks and we think the Creative X7, particularly in its limited edition white, is a gorgeous piece of hardware. It's small enough to tuck away somewhere and yet attractive enough that you can give it pride of place without it appearing to be an appropriated piece of PC hardware. It wouldn't look out of place in an audiophiles dream arrangement. There is a minimalist aesthetic going on that is just pleasing to the eye. Demonstrating what a clever design this is it might not look a complicated affair with multiple inputs, but round the back there is everything you could hope to find. We can't fault the looks at all.
The audio is spectacular. When you're spending this much money it's easy to be afraid that the compact nature will negatively effect the sound quality, but if anything the opposite is true. By virtue of its small stature the amazing audio fidelity is even more impressive. You'd have to start spending serious amounts of money to get a notable improvement, and anything that would give you a bigger eargasm would end up being infinitely less portable than the X7 or make your desk feel all unballanced like a fully fledge power amp. If you're a total bass junkie then you may want to attach a dedicated sub but the connections are all there to keep that upgrade path nice and simple.
If we have a negative it would be the software, which falls victim to the old Creative issue of not being amazing. For years now their hardware has consistently been far better than the software departments efforts to keep up, and the X7 is no exception. Fortunately it's not a deal-breaking situation because the it does seem to work for long enough for you to set it up before it goes bandy. Once it does start acting up (ours at least) just double click and then leave it for 10/15 minutes, once it has fully started up properly it does appear usable at least for a while. If you are a set it up and leave it person then youll be fine, it is incredibly frustrating that the hardware seems at very least to be amazing but the whole package ends up with a dark cloud hanging over it due to some glitchy software.
Although you can use an array of speakers with the X7 the E-MU XM7's are designed to work with the X7 amplifier and the combination of the two is like a waterfall of sonic bliss. The hardware on both items is fantastic and perfect for the user that has everything. Whilst the software might not be up to snuff it's something that can easily be remedied and we love the Creative Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition enough in its regular state for it not to affect our gifting of the OC3D Performance Award to the Creative Sound Blaster X7 LE and E-MU XM7 combination. Yes it is very expensive but the quality of audio this combination delivers is outstanding.