Let's start this off with the specs on this pair of desktop speakers:
Power: 13 Watts total (6.5W each), with a max of 30W (brief peak only)
Freq. Response: 120Hz-20kHz
Size: 7.7x5x21.5 (in cm)
Price: ~$80 CAD
Now for the subjective bits.
I liked the style of these speakers, they're sleek black and silver units, (a resounding theme in my electronic collection), slightly reminiscent of floor standing tower speakers... Only they are little. As usual the right speaker is where it's all going on in this pair, in the back we have the I/O ports including the Speaker In, Sub out (thankfully, more on that later), left speaker RCA jack, and Power In, and finally the BassXPort. On the front again standard fare, the headphone jack, power LED (blue), tone control knob, volume/power knob, and finally the 2 drivers, also mirrored on the forgotten twin, a.k.a. left speaker.
The look is great; I'm glad Creative likes to keep it simple. The silver NeoTitanium drivers are exposed, and are used to enhance the look. The blue LED is simply genius, I know that this may seem pretty trivial, but nearly everything uses a green LED for power, except for my mac mini, and my HP laptop, and my Starbuck coffee maker. It was a bit serendipitous that the look matches my laptop nearly perfectly, but that's beside the point. The faces of the cabinets are black, with silver back and sides.
Here's the real important part of any speakers, What-U-Hear as Creative likes to call it. This is where a bit of tarnish shows up. These speakers are admittedly entry level, especially since they are only a 2.0 setup, meaning no sub included. And there lies the rub, the sound is better than most laptops, and an amazing improvement over the little internal speaker in my mini. But, and there's always a “but”; the sound quality is not what I've come to expect from a company known for sound quality. The volume is decent, but the tone just isn't there. The tone control knob, will take the tone from flat lifeless cotton on the left, to harsh tinny brass on the right. Pretty much the only way to fine tune the audio is in whatever program that you choose to use. Although this is sort of like asking a Ford Focus to be a Mustang, having the BassXPort as a selling point, with the promise of enhancing low bass, ensuring a richer sound should be a must.
The good thing is that the set has two drivers to make better use of the tall cabinets. These do make for a nice sound in nearly any application where bass is not a major factor, and when it is there is always the subwoofer out on the back, you still need to buy one, but it's still there. In my trial with a sub, I was happier, not completely satisfied, but happier. The drivers are quick and responsive, without the sound getting garbled by complex music. The mid and high end sound reproduction was quite good, with the tone knob set to just left of center.
These speakers are truly only to be a replacement to the tiny speakers in laptops, of to hook into an mp3/cd player. And that brings up the issue of power. The power adapter is big, about a third of the size of a speaker, nearly as heavy as both of them combined; not to mention one of the horrid hanging-off-the-wall, takes-up-three-spaces-in-a-power-bar blocks. I know why it's done, (money), but it's an inconvenience. Especially when taking them along with the laptop, plus the extra plug required at the wall.
I like these speakers for what they are... Basic. For the price, I just can't say that they are worth it. I've purchased better speakers for less, and they came with a sub. If you can find them on sale, or as a free gift with purchase, get them. Otherwise look around for a better deal. They're good, just not 80 bucks good.
Until next time,