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EPOS GSX 300 Review External Sound Card DAC

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Listening to beats out of the computer is fine but, if you can appreciate the difference in sound between mid-high end audio you are truly missing out! While a lot of audiophiles invest thousands in high quality audio, you really don't have to if you're using a good external sound card DAC such as the EPOS GSX 300. 
The bottom line is if you own a computer an do gaming, listen to music, do content production, watch movies and/or stream videos, you need good sound! Having a quality external DAC/amplifier combo is an essential part of a sound tech setup, which comes with the added benefit of not having to upgrade headphone/speaker gear as often.
The EPOS GSX 300 is a small DAC/Amplifier combo (7.1 sound card and external amplifier) designed to make headphone drivers sound louder and better. Aside from improving the sound quality of stock headphones, the EPOS GSX 300 gives you access to other options such as Surround Sound, Side Tone and Frequency settings via the EPOS Gaming Suite software. 
The EPOS GSX 300 is compatible with all analog (3.5mm) headsets, although if the headset has a combo jack (audio and microphone), you will need an audio splitter. The GSX 300 also has a limitation of impedance from 25 Ohms to 75 Ohms, which means the GSX 300 will be able to comfortably amplify any headset within that Ohm range. Higher impedance headphones such as the Sennheiser HD58x (150 Ohms) will require a more powerful external sound card amplifier.
The top and bottom sections of the GSX 300 shell are slanted inwards, while the front side of the unit is also inclined, giving the GSX 300 a rather striking sloping look with good ergonomics. On the base of the GSX 300, there are two large rubber strips that keep the unit firmly rooted on the desk without sliding.
The GSX 300 control layout is minimalist, consisting of three connectivity ports on the rear, including a headphone jack, microphone jack and micro USB port to power the unit via a computer. The EPOS GSX 300 only needs 0.5A to run; hence it can be powered via the USB 2.0 port of a computer. On the front there is a large volume knob and a physical Smart Button, which can be customized via the EPOS Gaming Suite software. 
The volume knob integrates a blue led ring around it, as well as a silent rotary encoder with infinite spinning; hence the volume knob spins ad infinitum in either direction without making a clicky sound like some rotary encoders do. Compared to a regular volume potentiometer (aka POT), there is really not much between the two types. It really comes down to preference whether you like an old-fashioned rotary knob (potentiometer) with stoppers or a rotary encoder, which spins continuously like the scroll wheel of a mouse.
Some rotary encoders even integrate a push button that doubles as a mute toggle switch, which would be a neat feature on the EPOS GSX 300 for quickly disabling the volume of the headset on the fly. The GSX 300 could also benefit from a beep or audio prompt when reaching maximum volume, although most external sound cards DACs don't seem to integrate this feature either. The GSX 300 is not designed to balance in-game and chat volume, which is worth noting if you own the GSP 670 headset
The Smart Button lets you control sound modes (stereo or surround sound), as well as toggle between sound profiles without having to do it directly from the software. Stereo mode supports 24 bit / 96kHz, while 7.1 Surround supports 16 bit / 48kHz. Being a 7.1 sound card adapter, the EPOS GSX 300 will effectively turn any stereo headphones into virtual 7.1 surround sound headphones. The 3.5mm audio port on the EPOS GSX 300 supports 4-pin headphone jacks; however using this connection impacts the sound quality and the Smart Button won't work unless you use a 4 pin 3.5mm jack splitter.
Once plugged into a computer, the EPOS GSX 300 automatically syncs to the audio manager of the computer. The GSX 300 is able to process the sound coming through it without the need of the companion software (EPOS Gaming Suite). 
That said, if you want to enable the full functionality of the GSX 300 and adjust settings, you will need to download the EPOS Gaming Suite software, which is only compatible with Windows computers. The GSX 300 hardware is also only compatible with PC; hence the GSX 300 does not work with Mac computers or video game consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox.
EPOS Gaming Suite software is currently not compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems and other audio enhancement software. In fact, you won't be able to enable Windows Sonic for Headphones in Windows 10 while running the software. Support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is set to become available in the upcoming months.
The EPOS Gaming Suite features a 9-band customizable equalizer, as well as several microphone settings for reducing background noise, regulating sidetone and noise gate level. There is also a microphone effect setting to alter the pitch of your voice. Both noise reduction and noise gate work similarly, although noise gate gives you the ability to completely cut off certain frequencies, rather than filtering/suppressing them like noise reduction does. Sidetone works similarly to Transparency Mode, letting you hear your own voice while talking on the microphone.
From back to front, the GSX 300 measures 9.3cm deep including the 25mm diameter volume knob, which protrudes 1.5cm out. Without taking the volume knob into account, the GSX 300 has a 7cm depth. The length of the unit (side to side) is longer at the top (8cm) and narrower towards the bottom (7cm). The The GSX 300 measures 4cm high. There is included also a 1.2 meter long cable (Sennheiser branded) cable. You can buy the EPOS GSX 300 from amazon.
To give you an idea how the Sennheiser HD 450BT and EPOS GSP 601 headset sound without the EPOS GSX 300 DAC, checkout the volume tests from the video below:


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