Creative are trying to convince us that 2.1 is not the way to go with PC speakers, preferring a straight-up 2.0 approach. But does this work in practice? We bang out some funky beats to find out.
From a design point of view, these modern speakers ooze quality, with a solid feel to the touch and a respectable weight in the hand. They follow the same design cues as the Creative GigaWorks T40 speakers we reviewed last year; the gunmetal grey units blend into a modern setting, a welcome escape from the beige plastic of yesteryear. The mesh covers can be removed for a more industrial look, with the cool yellow cones twitching to the music.
The right speaker is the master, with the power/volume knob, and knobs for bass and treble. Also on the front are a 3.5mm headphone socket and a convenient aux in so you can easily hook up your MP3 player or whatever, and Creative supply a short cable just for this purpose.
However, sandwiched between these two sockets is the LED du jour, casting its blue light like some sort of constant alien retinal scan. After 10 minutes we had to cover it up because it was distracting us from the screen. Luckily the 28 watts of pumping house music served as a reminder that the speakers were turned on – phew!
As to the sound, we were mightily impressed. A warm, rounded immersive sound, with good authentic bass representation from the two BasXPort openings on top of the speakers. Coupled with the two tweeters and the glass fibre cone drivers, we found that both highs and lows were faithfully delivered. We tried a range of music tracks and some immersive gaming from Command & Conquer: Kane’s Wrath. Wow, the metal soundtrack from the loading screens really comes out.
In the box you get also get a dual RCA to stereo adaptor so you can connect your TV, console or anything else, and a 2m stereo-stereo cable to attach the whole lot to your audio source of choice.
There is little to complain about once you cover the blue LED, but it is a pretty fundamental design issue when the speakers are to sit alongside a monitor. That beige of yesteryear was supposed to reduce eye fatigue (by being so boring you’d never be distracted by it), and a toning down of front mounted LEDs would be welcome.
However, with sound this good and with these speakers looking so good, for your money you get a set of speakers that feel as though they will last a lifetime.