High-End PC Speakers: Which Are Worth Your Dollars?

Results: Cannot Fail To Please

We were impatient for the results of this system, which is currently the acme of PC-specific equipment. We were not disappointed. The GigaWorks has the best response of all the models tested and is notable for its smoothness in the high range, the third-octave being at 3dB (+-1.5dB.) from 1 to 16kHz. The response curve in high resolution has no jerks hidden by third-octave weighting. This shows how good the choice of transducers and filter design are. In the bass range, as you'd expect with a subwoofer this big, the result is equally good: the GigaWorks goes down deep but also covers the upper bass range without emphasizing any part of the range in particular. As you'd expect, the top sound level is very high. But, like other powerful Creative systems, the electronic gain is a bit weak, so we suppose you could go a bit further if the gain were greater.

Top Sound Level: 116dB SPL

Watching an action movie with explosions, engines and reactors throbbing and deafening crashes is big-screen business with a GigaWorks system. The depth of the bass range, the atmospheric precision and all the rest combine to reproduce sound that is a joy for the senses. And it does it without splitting your eardrums. The sound quality of calmer and quieter movies is a pleasure, too.

For music playback, you may find (as our tests did) that the gain is not really adequate and leaves you no reserve. This could stop you going over the top and doing things that might shorten the lifetime of your system, but it's still a bit annoying, as is the lack of precision in the volume control with its seven-diode scale. Apart from this, however, it reproduces a wide range of music well enough to satisfy the exacting listener. Provided of course you install the system in an optimal way. The midrange resonance is very good and its definition high and the high range has all the qualities the measurements predicted: everything is reproduced but even music known to hurt the ears comes over without pain though without loss of character. A definite success.

Oddly enough, unlike most other systems, the GigaWorks hardly ever requires you to reduce the bass range for "cinema" listening. You can usually make do with the default setting. This must be due to the way it doesn't emphasize a frequency range in particular, its ability to work with less distortion and its better connection to the satellites. So the GigaWorks is not just a system for movies and games, but also an excellent choice for listening to music, while for this purpose, eight channels are a bit over the top.