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Buy the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4

Sound Blaster PLAY! 4

Portable Plug-and-play Hi-res USB DAC with Auto Mute and Two-way Noise Cancellation via SmartComms Kit for Conference Calls

VIDEO

Features

Overview

Really, online communications shouldn't be this complicated. Sure, the pair of headphones that came bundled with your phone works. But does that make your online calls any easier?

A must-have for any work calls, the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is designed to solve your video call woes by simplifying the way you communicate. It debuts our newest SmartComms Kit, packed with an array of smart communication software features such as auto mute and two-way noise cancellation guaranteed to redefine your video call experience.

We've also made sure to uphold our ethos in delivering convenience and quality with a direct mic mute button, Bass Boost and Dynamic EQs, as well as an instant audio upgrade that surpasses the default audio on any of your devices.

Now, it's time to change the way you take your calls.

Communications

Communicate Smarter with Smartcomms Kit

Our SmartComms Kit was developed to fix one common issue for Windows users—to simplify the way we communicate online—via a suite of smart communication features. Why fuss over mute controls or get distracted by unwanted background noises when you should be focusing on what matters instead? Plus, it can be used with any headphones or headsets with microphone, including those that comes bundled* with your mobile phones.

*Do note that the compatibility of PLAY! 4 with the button functions of your headsets are dependent on the respective manufacturer's implementation.

Mute and Unmute Yourself Automatically

Have you ever been caught in a situation where you have spent the critical opening moments of your business pitch for the latest project describing your ideas, only to realize you were on mute?

Our VoiceDetect feature controls your mute status by voice detection as you speak—your microphone gets muted automatically when you stop speaking, and unmutes you instantly as you start speaking. There is absolutely no need to fiddle with any buttons—physical or in-app—so you can on track with your train of thought during the pitch.

If you need to talk to someone on the side, disable the VoiceDetect feature temporarily by manually pressing on the physical mic mute button, and reactivate the VoiceDetect feature by pressing on the same button.

LED Light
Status
RED
Mic muted + VoiceDetect disabled
LED Off
Mic unmuted + VoiceDetect enabled

Two-way Noise Cancellation

Noise is the enemy of all calls—whether it's happening in our surrounding or coming from our co-workers—it's equally disruptive.

Here's the thing: the common solutions available in the market are either headsets with noise-cancelling microphones, or standalone microphones that reduces your background noise pickup. These solutions have 2 things in common—they are expensive, and they only reduce noise happening in your own background.

But what if it is your colleague's background noise that's driving you insane? We have the perfect fix with our NoiseClean features that reduces static background noises from both ends—incoming and outgoing audio—of the conversation.

NoiseClean-in analyzes your incoming audio (imagine a colleague with a noisy background in your video call), detecting and suppressing the unwanted noises, before sending just your colleague's clean voice to you through your headphones.

NoiseClean-out does the same—but for your own background noise. And don't just take our words for it. Hear it for yourself!

NoiseClean-in

Two-way Noise Cancellation

Background Noise from Others

Hear audio samples of

NOISECLEAN-IN OFF
NOISECLEAN-IN ON

NoiseClean-out

Two-way Noise Cancellation

Your Background Noise to Others

Hear audio samples of

NOISECLEAN-OUT OFF
NOISECLEAN-OUT ON

When you're done with your online meeting, turn off the NoiseClean features and continue with normal media playback with the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 for the best audio experience.

*The NoiseClean features work best for static background noises such as fans, air conditioning, air purifier, humidifiers, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, electric shavers, and even lawn mowers.

Connectivity

Super Easy Setup

Plug it in, download, and go. The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 lets you communicate smarter in 3 easy steps:

Plug in the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 to your Windows PC via the USB-C port.

If your computer only has USB-A port, don't worry, we have also included a USB-C to USB-A converter for your use.

Download and install the Creative app onto your Windows PC.

For new users, start by creating an account with us.
For any existing users, you may sign in via any accounts you have with us, like your Creative store account, or other software accounts (e.g., Sound Blaster Command or Sound Blaster Connect).

Go to the SmartComms Kit module and make sure that it is switched on.

And voila, you're done!

To make further adjustments or control each feature individually, access the Advanced settings inside the SmartComms Kit module.

GUIDE TO SMARTCOMMS KIT'S
ADVANCED SETTINGS
X

Guide to SmartComms Kit's Advanced Settings

Advanced settings allow you to access and control each feature according to your environment and preferences. For example, you'll be able to set how long it takes for your microphone to be automatically muted after you've stopped talking, or the level of background noise reduction you want on your outgoing audio (what others hear).

VoiceDetect

Auto Mic Mute / Unmute by Voice Detection

1. VoiceDetect Feature:
Turn VoiceDetect on / off by clicking on this switch. VoiceDetect requires your default microphone button to be unmuted in order for it to work. When unmuted, it will assume control over your microphone's outgoing audio to automatically unmute when you speak, and mute when you stop.
2. Set your speaking volume required to activate the VoiceDetect feature. When set to 'Soft', VoiceDetect gets triggered easily, even when you're speaking softly. When set to ‘Loud', you're required to speak louder in order to activate VoiceDetect's auto unmute.
3. Set the noise level that best describes your current environment noise when using this feature.
4. Select the type of microphone you're using. This allows for better accuracy in voice detection and pickup when you speak.
5. Set the amount of time it takes for your microphone to be automatically muted after you have stopped speaking.
6. Check this box if your voice and background noise level vary. This mode will automatically adjust according to the changes in your voice and background noise as it happens.

NoiseClean-out (Outgoing Noise)

Two-way Noise Cancellation — Your Background Noise to Others

When you're done with your online meeting, turn off the NoiseClean features and continue with normal media playback with the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 for the best audio experience.

7. NoiseClean-out Feature:
Turn this on to eliminate unwanted background noise from your environment during outgoing calls (what others will hear from you). When activated, NoiseClean-out reduces static noises generated by your environment, so that others can hear you better without the static disruption.
8. Set the level of noise that you wish to eliminate based on your current environment. For example, if someone is using a hair dryer directly behind you, we recommend setting this to ‘High'. If the noise source is from a distance and isn't loud, we recommend setting this to ‘Low'.
9. Check this box if your background noise level varies. This mode will automatically adjust itself according to the changes in your background noise level as it happens.

NoiseClean-in (Incoming Noise)

Two-way Noise Cancellation — Background Noise from Others

10. NoiseClean-in Feature:
Turn this on to eliminate unwanted background noise coming from your co-worker's end during incoming calls. When activated, NoiseClean-in cleans up your co-worker's voice and separates it from any background noise by filtering and allowing only their voice through into your headphones.
11. Set the level of noise that you wish to eliminate based on the current background noises that you hear from the call. For example, if the background noise in the call is loud, we recommend setting this to ‘High'. Likewise, if the background noise sounds soft and from a distance, we recommend setting this to ‘Low'.
12. Check this box if the incoming background noise level varies. This mode will automatically adjust itself according to the incoming background noise level from the call as it happens.

Audio

Make Your Audio Go Further

On top of all the software features, Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 also comes with an EQ button with 2 sound modes—Dynamic and Bass Boost—that works great with any type of content—music, movies, and even games!

Dynamic

Expand the soundstage of your content, and hear spatialized audio which gives you a sense of space beyond conventional stereo sound. Best used for work calls to reduce call fatigue, open world games, and even music for a heighted sense of audio immersion.

Bass Boost

Hear deeper and richer bass response that is clean yet impactful for that seat-rumbling experience. Best used to bring out the effects of explosions in movies, headbanger songs, and the roar of ancient beasts in MMORPGs.

Better Than Your Default Audio

On the back of everything is what we do best—audio quality. Powered by high-resolution audio with a 192 kHz / 24-bit DAC and delivering clean audio clarity at 110 dB, you will never go back to the default audio on your PC again. This instant audio upgrade is also extremely lightweight (8.3g / 0.29 oz) and super portable, so you can carry it around with you everywhere you go.

Design

Compatibility

We have also summarized the features of the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 and their feature compatibility across platforms in this table.

 
Bass Boost and Dynamic EQs
Mic Mute / Unmute Control
Audio Specs (24-bit / 192 kHz, 110 dB)
Creative app (SmartComms Kit, Acoustic Engine, CrystalVoice, Mixer)
Windows PC
macOS
PS4™ / PS5™
Nintendo Switch™
✓*
Android Phones^
iPads, Tablets

*Voice communications on Nintendo Switch via Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is title dependent.

^The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 has been designed to work with fully compliant USB-C Android phones, for example, the Google Pixel series. Some phones may display partial compatibility with the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 because of the difference in their USB-C implementation from the Android standard, and may exhibit mic compatibility issues.

In The Box

SOUND BLASTER PLAY! 4
 

USB-C TO USB-A CONVERTER

LEAFLET
 

Meet The Family

 
PLAY! 4
PLAY! 3
USB Connectivity
USB-C
With included USB-C to USB-A converter
USB-A
Software
Sound Blaster Control Panel for Windows PC and Mac
Built-in EQ Button
Yes, Bass Boost and Dynamic EQs
No
Direct Mic Mute Button
Yes
No
Connector Types
Integrated 3.5 mm headphone jack
Integrated 3.5 mm headphone jack
with external microphone jack
Audio Quality
24-bit / 192 kHz
110 dB
24-bit / 96 kHz
93 dB

REVIEWS

Gadget Guy

Remember that this is a DAC and an ADC – that means it can process sound both ways. Creative has taken the most common issues for video conference sound and made it extremely easy to find a cure. At the price, this is a great DAC, and a SmartComms app is a huge asset for working from home, online schooling, entertainment and more. If you don’t have Windows, it is still an excellent DAC that will improve how you sound.

9.8/10

Sound Blaster PLAY! 4

2021-09-15

Think Computers

The Play! 4 is extremely easy to use, you basically just plug it in and you are good to go. Being that it is so small you can easily fit it in your pocket or laptop bag.

Sound Blaster PLAY! 4

2021-08-12

Music | Photo | Life

Creative always delights me with new products that are multi-functional yet affordable. The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is an USB DAC supporting hi-res 24-bit 192kHz audio playback, improves mic performance with Smart Volume, SmartComms Kit, enhances audio experience with Acoustic Engine. For less than S$50, it is a useful addition to your tech arsenal for music listening, gaming, and communications.

4/5 Stars

Sound Blaster PLAY! 4

2021-05-04

A Closer Look

Specifications

Weight
USB-C to USB-A Converter: 4g / 0.1 oz, Main Unit: 8.3g / 0.29 oz
Dimensions
Main Unit : 138 x 16 x 8.2 mm / 5.43 x 0.63 x 0.32 inches, USB-C to USB-A Converter : 23.5 x 13.5 x 6.0 mm / 0.93 x 0.53 x 0.24 inches
Dynamic Range (DNR)
110 dB
Audio Technology
BlasterX Acoustic Engine, SmartComms Kit, CrystalVoice
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)
110 dB
Max. Playback Quality
PCM 16-bit, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0. 192.0 kHz, PCM 24-bit, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0. 192.0 kHz
Playback Resolution
PCM 16-bit, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0. 192.0 kHz, PCM 24-bit, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0. 192.0 kHz
Recording Resolution
Mic-in: Mono, 16-bit, 44.1, 48.0 kHz
Mic-in: Mono, 24-bit, 44.1, 48.0 kHz
Platform
USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB-C
Connectivity Options (Main)
1 x ⅛″ Headphone-out Jack (4-pole, CTIA)
Headphone Amp
Supported Headphone Impedance: 16–150Ω
Max Channel Output
Stereo
Audio Technologies
CrystalVoice
Supported Operating Systems
macOS X® 10.14 and above, Windows® 10 Ver 1703, Windows® 11
Audio Fidelity
Up to 24-bit / 192 kHz
Included Accessories
USB-C to USB-A Converter
DAC
Dynamic Range (Stereo): 110 dB
Power
USB Bus Powered, USB-C
Recommended Usage
Online Meetings
Conference Calls
Video Calls

System Requirements

Windows® OS
  • Intel® Core™i3 or AMD® equivalent processor
  • Intel, AMD, or 100% compatible motherboard
  • Microsoft® Windows 10 32 / 64-bit or higher
  • >1 GB RAM
  • >600 MB of free hard disk space
  • USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 port
macOS®
  • macOS X® 10.14 or higher
  • >1 GB RAM
  • USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 port
PS4™
  • Firmware Version 6.0 or later
  • Available USB port
PS5™
  • Firmware Version 20.02-2.26.00.00-00.00.00.0.1 or later
  • Available USB port
Nintendo Switch™
  • Switch OS 5.0 or later
  • Available USB port (in docking mode)
  • Voice communication is title-dependent
Android
  • Android OS Version 8.0 or later
  • Available USB-C port
  • Support audio streaming and mic path via USB-C port
IPadOS® / iOS Devices
  • iPad Pro (2018 models onwards)
  • iPadOS 13 or later
  • Available USB-C port
  • Support audio streaming and mic path via USB-C port

Package Contents

  • Sound Blaster PLAY! 4
  • USB-C to USB-A Converter
  • SmartComms Kit Guide
  • Quick Start Leaflet
  • Warranty Leaflet

Warranty

1-year Limited Hardware Warranty

Featured Questions

  1. Does the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 work with my Android Phone?

    The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 will work with mobile devices that are compliant with the USB Audio Standard. To verify if your phone is compliant with the USB Audio Standard, you will have to approach your mobile device's manufacturer.

    Due to the wide variety of mobile phone brands, models, and operating systems that may have different implementation of USB-C, certain features of the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 may be limited by your mobile phone.

    The table below lists the compatibility of the Android Phone models that have been tested in-house. Do note that this list is not exhaustive and we will continue to update the list from time to time.

    Phone ModelsPlayback AudioRecord AudioVoiP / Comm CallNormal Phone Call
    Apple iPad Pro
    Google Pixel XL
    HUAWEI Honor Play
    HUAWEI Mate 30
    HUAWEI Mate P20 Pro
    HUAWEI Mate P40
    Nokia 6.1
    Nokia 6.1 Plus
    OnePlus 8 Pro
    Oppo Find X2 Pro
    Oppo Reno 3
    Samsung Galaxy A8XX^X^
    Samsung Galaxy S10X*
    Samsung Galaxy S20+
    Samsung Note 8X^X^
    Samsung Note 9XX^X^
    Samsung Note 10+X
    Samsung Note 20+
    Samsung Tab A with S PenXX^X^
    Vivo IQ00X
    Xiaomi MiMax 2
    Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro

    ^ Voice and microphone audio will output through the mobile phone's speakers instead of the connected headphones / headset for VoiP calls like Telegram and WhatsApp, as well as normal phone calls.

    * Only records via the mobile phone's built-in microphone instead of the connected headphones / headset when recording via Samsung's Voice Recorder app.

  2. I can't seem to power up the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 with my mobile device.

    When the battery level of your mobile device is too low, it may not be able to provide sufficient power to the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4. Do make sure that your mobile device is adequately charged before using it with the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4.

  3. Is the SmartComms Kit available for macOS, mobile devices, and gaming consoles?

    The SmartComms Kit is available for Windows platform (Ver 1703 and above) only.

  4. Is the Creative app available for macOS, mobile devices, and gaming consoles?

    The Creative app is available for Windows platform (Ver 1703 and above) only.

  5. Is the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 compatible with my PS5 / iPad Pro / Xbox?

    The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 works with PS5 via the USB connector. It also works with iPad Pro 2018 (and later) via the USB-C connector.

    The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 does not support Xbox consoles.

  6. Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is not detected on my PS5 / PS4 / Nintendo Switch. How do I know which USB Mode is my Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 currently in?

    The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 has 2 USB Audio Modes - 1 and 2. By default, it is set to Mode 2 for optimized performance with PC. For gaming consoles users, switch to Mode 1.

    When the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is powered on:

    • Mode 1 - LED indicator on the EQ button will flash BLUE 5 times
    • Mode 2 - LED indicator on the EQ button will flash WHITE 5 times
  7. How do I switch between the Audio Modes? What are the differences between the modes?

    While connected and powered on by a device, switch between Mode 1 and 2 via the following steps:

    • Press and hold the EQ button for approximately 2 seconds
    • When the LED indicator on the EQ button flashes Blue 5 times, the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is set to Mode 1
    • To set the device into Mode 2, press and hold the EQ button for approximately 2 seconds. When the LED indicator on the EQ button flashes White 5 times, the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is set to Mode 2

    Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 will remember the last Audio Mode that it has been set to, i.e. if the device is set to Mode 2, it will remain in Mode 2.

    Mode 1 is best suited for gaming consoles such as PS4, PS5, and mobile devices, and supports playback resolution of up to 24-bit / 96 kHz. Mode 2 is recommended for Windows and Mac systems and supports playback resolution of up to 24-bit / 192 kHz. We also recommend using Mode 2 if your intended primary platform for the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 is PC or Mac, and using Mode 1 if your intended primary platform is on gaming consoles and mobile devices.

  8. My audio sounds distorted when I play videos and music on my laptop.

    Ensure that NoiseClean is only switched on during online calls. NoiseClean may interfere with normal media playback (e.g., music and movies) and we recommend for the feature to be switched off for the best audio experience.

  9. I am unable to record audio from Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 in video recording mode on Android devices.

    Android devices can only record audio from its built-in microphone during video recording, and this limitation applies to all third-party USB audio products.

  10. Why is my headphones / headset not able to switch calls on call-waiting mode / end call / skip to next or previous track? Can I control the volume through my headphones / headset while connected to Sound Blaster PLAY! 4?

    The Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 implements standard 1-button and 3-buttons media control functions that are widely used in the industry. Details of these functions are documented in the manual accompanying the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4. You are also advised to refer to your headset/earbud manufacturer on their products' implementation.

    If your headphones or headset do implement the standard 1-button and 3-buttons media control functions, you can control the functions as follow:

    1-button Headset

    Playback Mode
    Play / Pause Button on HeadsetAction
    Press X1Play / Pause
    Press X2Next track
    Press X3Previous track
    Press and Hold 2sActivate Siri or Google Assistant

    Call Mode
    Play / Pause Button on HeadsetAction
    Press X1Answer / Hang up
    Press X2Switch call on call-waiting mode
    Press and Hold 2sReject call

    3-button Headset

    Playback Mode
    Play / Pause Button on HeadsetAction
    Press X1Play / Pause
    Press X2Next track
    Press X3Previous track
    Press and Hold 2sActivate Siri or Google Assistant

    Volume Control
    Volume Buttons on HeadsetAction
    Volume +: Press X1Volume increase
    Volume +: Press and Hold 2sMax. volume
    Volume -: Press X1Volume decrease
    Volume -: Press and Hold 2sMin. volume

    Call Mode
    Play / Pause Button on HeadsetAction
    Press X1Answer / Hang up
    Press X2Switch call on call-waiting mode
    Press and Hold 2sReject call
  11. Does the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 supports hardware volume control (controlling the volume directly on Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 itself)?

    The latest Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 firmware (Ver 1.9 and later) adds a new Volume Control Mode to support hardware volume control. Visit creative.com/support/SBPLAY4 to download the latest firmware. Alternatively, you may also upgrade to the latest firmware via the Creative app.

  12. How do I control the Volume Control on the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4?

    Press and hold the Microphone Mute Button for 2 seconds to switch to Volume Control Mode.

    • The LED indicator on the Mic Mute button will flash 5 times in red to indicate successful switching
    • Once the Volume Control Mode is activated, the LED indicator will glow continuously in red
    • To increase the volume level, press the Mic Mute button once, or as desired
    • To decrease the volume level, press the EQ button once, or as desired

    Both Mic Mute and EQ functions will not be available for adjustments while in Volume Control Mode. Its functions will, however, still work. For example, if your Mic Mute status is set to “Unmuted”, and you are on Bass Boost EQ, upon switching to Volume Control Mode, your microphone status will stay at “Unmuted” with Bass Boost EQ switched on, even as you adjust the volume levels.

    Bass Boost and Dynamic EQ's LED will remain off when Volume Control is activated.

    To return to Microphone Mute function, press and hold the same button for 2 seconds.

  13. Why does the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 sound louder when I'm on my PC / Mac, and softer while on my Android device?

    Windows PC has the capability to control both the media playback volume of the media player and the USB audio volume of Sound Blaster PLAY! 4. In most cases, the default media playback volume is always set to maximum on the media player software.

    On Android devices, user control is limited to the media playback volume and the USB audio volume. Furthermore, default media player volume is usually set to 50% or lower on most phones. We advise users to activate the Volume Control Mode to adjust the hardware volume of Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 when connected to mobile devices and gaming consoles.

  14. My Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 can't seem to mute / unmute when I'm using Microsoft Teams via my Mac (Big Sur).

    Our tests have revealed that this only happens to Microsoft Teams running on Big Sur OS. Other communications software like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet does not run into this issue. We advise users to mute or unmute directly on Microsoft Teams' interface. The Mic Mute button also works in Catalina OS.

  15. Is it advisable to charge and use the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 and my mobile device at the same time?

    For safety concerns, most mobile phone manufacturers do not recommend charging and using the phone concurrently, wired or wirelessly. As such, it is not recommended for you to charge and use the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 and your mobile device at the same time. We advise users to disconnect the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 or any USB devices from mobile devices during charging.

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