Which Gaming Speaker Is Right For You? Bountie Checks Out Creative’s Sound Blaster X Line

Since the dawn of video gaming and PC gaming, music and sound has always been the key element in making us enthralled in the adventure. Headshot sounds and frags from the latest esports shooter, confirmation clicks on menus when on a turn-based civilization-building game, and appropriate scores in a role-playing game of the fantasy and/or sci-fi nature: it all means nothing if you can’t hear it well and crystal clear.

Which is why you need the right speakers to do the job, to make sure that you’re comfortable with your purchase. The kind of speakers that can play the loudest head-banging piece of rock without a lot of boom and unintended reverb. The kind that can differentiate where that gunshot is coming from on a map. The kind that fits to the all-purpose gaming and PC-using lifestyle. And the kind which isn’t going to wring your wallet dry.

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We have three speakers from Creative’s Sound Blaster X line: the Katana, the Kratos S5, and the Kratos S3. Each of them have a specific target gamer in mind.

But which one should you get? Which one is worth the money you’ve saved up for? Well, Bountie is here to help in figuring out which one is right for you, complete with the speaker’s specifications.

Sound Blaster X Katana — The Sleekest Sound Bar You’ll Know

We can’t help but notice how Creative’s hallmark speaker is a cut above the rest. Pardon the sword-based puns.

The SBX Katana sound bar -a fancy all-in-one speaker built for living rooms and horizontal surfaces- is ergonomically-sound upon first glance. You can place this on any flat surface, plug in your essentials, and then there’s your awesome sound coming out from this sexy metal vision of the aural future.

Setting up this bad boy is easy: the instructions from the box comes with diagrams on how it works. It doesn’t take up much space at all and can fit just fine below monitors and TVs. The subwoofer will take up some space, but it’s optional and it still works wonders when placed far away from the main highlight.

We’ve connected it to our PCs via USB and Bluetooth connection. It works like a doll. We had it playing music from smartphones via Bluetooth connection effortlessly. We plugged it onto the PS4 and the sound’s great, though we have to adjust the volume through the PS4’s volume setting instead of on the soundbar itself. Other than that minor inconvenience, the sound and voice processing is a thing of beauty. In a regular living room space with 330 or so square feet, we can hear every single game sound, every music beat, every piece of percussion in awesome fidelity.

We did not hear any booming effects when playing rock music and hits; every high hat, rhythm guitar work, and percussion beat was crisp, clear, and loud in all the right tones. We can even detect where exactly are the trumpet ensemble’s blaring is coming from thanks to the 7.1 sound feature and well-crafted aucostics of the Katana and its subwoofer companion.

We should bring up the lighting from the sound bar: it’s beautiful and there’s a few settings to make it brightly-lit and colourful. It may not react to the music and sound it’s playing, but it’s still worth a look to see lit up all the same.

We recommend the Katana if you have some money to burn for all-in-one soundbar speakers, Even so, it does not break the bank and delivers great and crisp sound for your living room gaming habits.

👍 High-quality audio

👍 Sound bar design saves space

👍 Looks stylish and lights up real well

👎 Price point might be steep for some

Price: SG$419
Specs
Power output:

  • Main unit: 45 W RMS (15 W RMS x 2 Mids + 7.5 W RMS x 2 Tweeters)
  • Subwoofer: 30 W RMS o Total: 75 W RMS / 150 W Peak

Frequency response:

  • Main unit: 150 ~ 20,000 Hz
  • Subwoofer: 20 ~ 150 Hz

Product Dimension (W x H x D)in :

  • Satellite(23.6 x 2.4 x 3.1)in
  • Subwoofer(5.1 x 13.1 x 11.8)in

Package Dimensions (W x H x D)in:

  • O/Box (7.3 x 18.6 x 26.5)in
  • C/Box (8.2 x 19.5 x 26.9)in

Product Weight:

  • Main unit: 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)
  • Subwoofer: 4.0 kg (8.8 lbs)

Connections:

  • Bluetooth 4.2: A2DP audio, SBC CODEC, Up to 2 multi-point connection.
  • Aux in: 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Optical Input: Compatible with PCM and Dolby Digital input signals up to 24bits 96kHz
  • USB FlashDrive: Playback MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC and APE files
  • Computer (USB Audio): For 24bit 96kHz playback for stereo/5.1/7.1 playback
  • Headphone Jack: 3.5mm 3-pole/4-pole Jack with signal detection
  • Mic In: 3.5mm Stereo Jack with signal detection

Color:

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Sound Blaster X Kratos S5 — Dropping The Bass

The SBX Kratos S5 sits in the middle class and is at a respectable SG$229. However, its performance definitely exceeds expectation. The sound that comes out of its 2.1 system can easily be comparable to its higher end counterparts. Creative puts extra effort in ensuring the loud, booming audio gamers crave for is ever-ready, complete with a wired volume control.

The Kratos S5 is a USB speaker system which you can easily into your PC or Mac to start playing around with it. When we first tried the Kratos S5, we connected it to a Macbook pro and it works perfectly. You would, however, need additional cables to connect to your TV or PlayStation 4 console.

Our favourite feature about Kratos S5 is the Sound Blaster Connect application that allows us to control everything from the comfort of our seat. Thankfully, there are software versions for both Mac and PC. We absolutely love the Aurora Reactive lighting system that you can customise using the Sound Blaster Connect application. All those pretty lights!

The Kratos S5 is a little bulky which, to us, is the only downside. The two satellites plus the subwoofer requires more space than the Katana’s slim sound bar. Another pointer to add in comparison to the Katana is that Kratos S5 does not have Bluetooth connectivity.

If you want a great set of lit-up desktop and PC gaming speakers and don’t mind the old-school approach, you can’t go wrong with the Kratos S5.

👍 Fully customisable sound and light system (Sound Blaster Connect Software)

👍 Awesome solid and loud audio for gaming

👍 Adjustable bass from subwoofer

👎 Requires lots of space; bulky

👎 No bluetooth connectivity

Price: SG$229

Spec

Product Weight:

  • Right Satellite: 0.586 kg / 1.29 lbs
  • Left Satellite: 0.513kg / 1.13 lbs
  • Subwoofer: 2.445 kg / 5.39 lbs

Product Dimension:

  • Satellite: (HxWxD): 160 x 96 x 100 mm / 6.3 x 3.8 x 3.9 inches
  • Subwoofer: (HxWxD): 247 x 178 x 218 mm / 9.7 x 7 x 8.6 inches

Connector type:

  • Line In: 3.5mm Stereo Jack / RCA Jacks
  • USB Host Audio: Type B Micro USB Jack
  • Mic: 3.5mm Stereo Jack
  • Headset Out: 3.5mm 4-pole Jack
  • AC Power — 2 Pin power socket

Color: Black

Design:

  • USB Host audio via micro USB cable on PC or Mac
  • 3.5mm Integrated Mic in for external Mic input
  • Works with Sound Blaster Connect1 software on PC
  • Analog audio devices with a 3.5mm/ RCA output

Sound Blaster X Kratos S3 — Small Wonder

For the low, low price of SG$119, you are getting what you’re paying for with the Sound Blaster X Kratos S3. You have one left and right speaker, complete with a decently-sized subwoofer. All three of them have a great solid build to them. It’s not too heavy yet it feels like it can take a punch or drop or three.

After setting this speaker easily to our computer of choice, we let loose with a bit of Spotify playlist featuring 80s pop and 80s rock crooning. We also tried the speakers out with some competitive titles like Overwatch to get the feel and volume of the shots fired. We’re proud to say that the Kratos S3 is loud enough for your standard living room setting, though it isn’t as crisp and detailed as the above Sound Blaster entries.

A word of advice: you will need to place your subwoofer closer to you because it’s meant to be up-close and personal. You’re not going to get the full bass if it’s a few inches away from your computer. Plus, you need to keep the cable for the left speaker snug and fit since it gets loose sometimes. But them’s the breaks if you want to go budget.

The SBX Kratos S3 sits slightly higher above the budget speakers pedestal. Get it for your PC you want to get the most out of your low-range audio device.

👍 Pretty good audio

👍 Affordable

👍 Hardy and sturdy speakers & subwoofer

👎 Subwoofer not powerful enough

Price: SG$119

Specs

Product Weight:

  • Right Satellite: 0.586 kg / 1.29 lbs
  • Left Satellite: 0.513kg / 1.13 lbs
  • Subwoofer: 2.445 kg / 5.39 lbs

Product Dimension:

  • Satellite: (HxWxD): 160 x 96 x 100 mm / 6.3 x 3.8 x 3.9
    inches
  • Subwoofer: (HxWxD): 247 x 178 x 218 mm / 9.7 x 7 x
    8.6 inches

Packaging Weight:

  • O/Box: 4.5 kg / 9.92 lbs
  • C/Box: 9.9kg / 21.83 lbs
  • Packaging Dimension:
  • O/Box: (HxWxD): 415 x 275 x 225 mm / 16.34 x 10.83
    x 8.86 inches
  • C/Box: (HxWxD): 430 x 290 x 475 mm / 16.93 x 11.42
    x 18.7 inches

Connector type:

  • Headphone Out: 3.5mm 3-pole Jack

Molded Cable type:

  • Line In: 1.5M cable terminated with 3.5mm Stereo Jack
  • AC Power: 1.5M cable terminated with 2 Pin power
    jack

Color: Black

Warranty
• 1 year limited hardware warranty

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Originally published at bountie.io on January 31, 2018.

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