It might not get as much attention as the visual side of things but audio has always been a huge component of the gaming experience. Whether it’s about team communication in online multiplayer or simply enjoying the soundtrack, having good sound is crucial to the gaming experience, and between various headsets, speaker configurations, soundbars, amps and internal and external sound cards there’s no shortage of options for gamers to improve their sound quality. Epos offers the GSX 300 as an entry level external sound card for those who wish to give their sound quality a shot in the arm without investing a ton of money of having to put forth much effort.
External sound cards are a lazy person’s dream since they’re easy to install but there are other benefits to having them. One of the jobs of the GSX 300 is to act as a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) which as the name implies converts the digital signal from ones and zeroes into analog soundwaves so the loudspeakers in your headset can play the sound. This process is important as any mistakes that occur in this process will be noticeable and unpleasant during playback. Having this conversion happen away from the PC reduces the risk of electromagnetic interference adding noise to the signal. This is more common to happen when lower power devices (such as audio) are in close proximity to high power devices (such as PSUs and high end graphics cards). This can be prevented in all in one systems with proper shielding but that isn’t always taken into account when assembling PCs and having the sound card as an external peripheral avoids those complications.
The GSX 300 is a simple and intuitive device. It connects to the PC through USB and then the user can attach a headset and separate microphone if they wish. There is a big dial to adjust the volume level and one button to switch from stereo to surround sound or through different presets. The GSX 300 can technically connect to any device with a USB port, such as a PlayStation 4 or docked Nintendo Switch, but doing this doesn’t take full advantage of what this device is capable of. It’s meant to be used on PC with the Epos Gaming Suite software, and doing that does make a difference.
Using the GSX 300 on PC with the Gaming Suite software gives the user more options to shape the sound. It can switch between stereo and digital 7.1 surround sound, and which one of those to use depends a lot on the source audio. Gaming with the surround sound does create a more immersive experience and music or movies that are mixed for surround sound sound great in this setting. Music mixed for stereo systems sounds thin in the surround sound setting. There’s also a few different EQ presets and the user can adjust the levels to shape the sounds to their liking.
Playing with the software settings and switching between stereo and surround is done with intuitive controls. The button on the soundcard can be set in the software to switch between different user profiles or to switch between stereo and surround sound, with a blue light for stereo and a red light for surround sound. In stereo the sound rate is high resolution 24 bit/96 kHz and for 7.1 virtual surround sound it is 16 bit/48 kHz though high resolution sound is planned for surround sound in a future update. Tweaking the settings is best done while listening to something since you can hear the changes in real time which makes it easier to fine tune everything. Different headsets react differently to the settings as well, since headsets designed for surround sound tend to sound better with the digital surround sound setting than stereo headphones.
The GSX 300 is a good entry level external sound card. It retails for $79.99, and for that price point does a good job of giving the user sound customization options and a jump in overall audio quality. It won’t make a $20 pair of headphones sound like audiophile grade equipment but with the proper adjustments in the Gaming Suite will improve the audio signal, making whatever headset the user is wearing sound better than just plugging it into the computer directly. The Epos GSX 300 is a great option to consider for people who want to improve their PC sound and chat quality without having to install new components or spend a lot of money.