Creative SXFI Air Headphones — Bluetooth and USB-C
These new full size over-ear headphones from the creative people at Creative Labs are different, really different. Standard Bluetooth wireless audio works as expected, delivering very good sound across all genres of music. An enhanced Bluetooth experience is available by imaging your head and ear with a custom photo sequence, and then using Creative’s dedicated SXFI app for a personalized sound.
It gets better. Headphone controls are embedded in a touch panel on the left ear cup. This takes a while to master and is worth the effort. Ear pads are replaceable. A micro SD card slot allows for self-contained listening anywhere and everywhere. An unusual nano-boom microphone is part of the left ear unit.
The included USB-A to USB-C cable works both for charging and computer playback. I have been listening for weeks to all sorts of music and video content on my 2015 MacBook Pro with the Creative SXFI Air Headphones plugged into the Mac’s USB port. Question for the company: How about including a USB-C to USB-C cable that connects your fine headphones to all new Macs?
The native and SXFI-enhanced Bluetooth listening experience did well from the start, compared to wireless headphones I have reviewed and used in the $150-200 price range. Creative Labs asks people to be patient and give their new personalization technology a chance. Weeks later, I agree with them. The enhanced “audio holography” sound is like nothing I’ve ever heard, although you need to spend time with it yourself to know how useful it is for you.
The best kept secrets about these Creative SXFI Air Headphones are their comfort in spite of substantial size and weight, and their surprisingly crisp performance as computer headphones with that USB to USB-C cable. Eyeglass wearers can get by with the earpieces clamped over the temple segments of their spectacles, or tip their glasses slightly to avoid unwanted pressure on their temples. All users will appreciate the instant operation and natural sound performance of these headphones when plugged into a Mac’s USB port. This is how I listen most often to the SXFI Air headphones.
The digital sound processing that is in effect while these headphones are connected to a Mac is gentle and unobtrusive. Music playback and stereo separation are spacious and clear without much audio coloration or artificiality. Creative Labs is doing something unusual in their sound signature that is not easy to describe but is easy on the ears, head, and budget.
It will help potential purchasers to read consumer and technical reviews to get some perspective on what is on offer for $160 U.S. There is tremendous value here, although audiophiles need not apply. These are medium-priced, high-quality, long-lasting, good-sounding, ultra-versatile full size headphones that don’t fold up or fit in your shirt pocket. As always, make sure you are well-informed what you are buying, plus what you will hear and feel.
Creative Labs remains the market leader in affordable innovation in audio gear for consumer product satisfaction. I use their speakers, amplifiers, and headphones regularly and I recommend their new Creative SXFI Air Headphones with enthusiasm.
MyMac Review Rating is 9 out of 10.