Manufacurers website: www.creative.com
Average retail price: £80
-Total max output power (RMS) : 49 Watts.
-Overall frequency response range : 47Hz - 20KHz.
-Input type: Triple stereo 3.5mm audio jack (f/b/c).
In the last couple of years the cost of PC surround sound solutions has fallen dramatically. In this review I will be looking at Creative's bottom of the range 5.1 surround sound speakers, the OEM version of their analogue Desktop Theater DTT2200 package... these are certainly aimed at those of us with a small budget, but are they worth our money
Inside the box.
Well as it says in the title I am reviewing the OEM version of the speakers - so they arrived in a brown cardboard box with '2200' scribbled on the outside! I didn't waste any time opening it and this is what I found on the inside...
-Five 6W (RMS) satellite speakers and desktop stands (there was a spare stand in my box, not sure if this was supposed to be there though!).
I like the look of these a lot. If you've clicked on one of the above pictures and looked at the higher resolution images of these speakers you may have noticed the matt finish on the plastic used, they feel soft to the touch and very smooth - nice! So how big are they you ask? Pretty small. I measured them as a rough 9cm cube, this is one reasons I was initially attracted to them, I like my desk space :o)
-One 19W subwoofer.
The woofer supplied with these speakers is quite large (roughly 170x200x350mm) and is mainly black painted wood. This unit also doubles as a base - look at all those lovely connectors on the front!
-A separate volume and front/back channel control.
It's a shame they left the bass control on the woofer and didn't put it on this little cutie! It's actually very handy to have and although it's very light it has been supplied with a sticky pad and/or rubber feet to stop it moving around your desk.
-Speaker cables (two 16' cables for the back satellites and three 9' cables for the front satellites), a special three part stereo jack analogue cable (for connection to your sound card) and a PSU.
-A small piece of paper with a simple diagram illustrating how to connect the speakers up.
As with every speaker set I've ever seen, installation was a breeze; simply connect all the wires to the satellites, plug them into the right hole in the base, plug the control and power supply in and then there's only one thing left to do, connect the base to your computer via the supplied cable. The final step is the only one I can see which could cause average Mr. Joe problems - if your sound card doesn't have separate front/rear and centre sound outputs you won't be able to use the full potential of these speakers. Many new cards do have three stereo speaker outputs, including all of Creative's new 5.1 cards of course. I tested these speakers with a SB Player 5.1 soundcard.
Sound at last.
I started out lightly by playing a couple of mp3's through these speakers and my first impression of the sound quality was very good. Further playing with EAX in Max Payne and 5.1 Dolby Surround in PowerDVD confirmed my judgement, they sound amazing and they are very loud. Normal music listening volume is less than a quarter of the volume scale while decent movie volume is less than half the scale. The bass is a little too strong for my liking, I tend to keep it just below half scale and never touch it (with the control being on the base unit it's difficult to change). If you try to increase the volume to anywhere near it's maximum a lot of distortion kicks in, though this is to be expected from such small satellites.
If you already own a 5.1 capable soundcard with triple stereo output or are looking to buy one then I would whole heartedly recommend buying these speakers. For the price you won't get better! However if your existing card only supports double stereo out or even worse single then buying these speakers would be wasting their potential...
These are by no means the best speakers on the market, the lack of digital input and very specific soundcard requirements highlight this but in term of what you get for your money there's no competition at the moment...
- Size, shape and feel!
- Makes your music, games and films sound amazing.
- Lots of bass.
- Analogue only.
- Bass control on the woofer (difficult to reach!).
- Software and hardware compatibility required (these were obviously designed
for use with Creative's own 5.1 cards but do work with many others).