What It Looks Like
While restrained in its design and finished in somber basic black, the system has an esthetically innovative metal frame surrounding a black metal grille on the façade of each unit. The G500 is a 5.1 kit, the setup that currently offers the best ratio of functions to price. Like all similar systems, it's built around a subwoofer cabinet that contains the electronics, and five satellites that are all identical except that the center-channel one is oriented horizontally. As the name GigaWorks suggests, this is a very powerful system, and it's relatively large. The subwoofer is big and the satellites are not tiny - the driver in them seems to be identical to the ones in the "big" GigaWorks S750.
Simple Controls And Connections
As usual, all connections are made to the subwoofer, since that's where the electronics reside. Inputs include four 1/8" (3.5 mm) jacks: three for operation in 5.1 mode, and an auxiliary input that can be used for connecting an MP3 player or any other line-level sound source. It would be hard to get these mixed up, as everything is identified by the usual color codes - green for the front channels, black for the rear channels, and orange for the subwoofer and center channel. Outputs comprise five channels of course, using cinch connectors, and cables are supplied for all connections. All you do is unbag them and plug them in. The front-channel cables are a little short, but it would be easy to lengthen them if necessary - the satellites use spring-clip connectors.
The controls are all on a small unit that connects to the subwoofer via a cable approximately 6.5' (2 m) long. Creative has had the good sense to go back to a rotating knob, even though this is an electronic system and not a potentiometer; it's a lot nicer to handle than buttons! Pressing on the knob selects the parameter you want to adjust, including the relative volumes (center, rear, and subwoofer) and also a treble-level control. It's a good choice that combines ease of use and efficient adjustment. The level of the adjustment is shown on a scale of five LEDs. There's also a Mute switch - to shut off the sound instantaneously - and an Upmix setting for playing a stereo signal in 5.1. The control box also has a headphone jack that's very intelligently managed - when you plug the phones in, it disables the controls that serve no purpose (the center and rear channel volumes), while giving you bass and treble adjustments. All in all, the bottom line on the control unit is very positive, though it would have been nice to have a remote control.