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

Creative Inspire T7700: 7.1 For The Reasonable? Continued

The subwoofer has a 17cm boomer with a big foam half-roller suspension allowing a lot of travel. This loudspeaker, with a rear bass-reflex load, is on the side and the port exits at the front via a flared outlet to prevent aerodynamic noise. It is fairly small and of a shape which makes it easy to slot under a desk or table. All the connections are at the back. There are four three-pin 3.5mm jack sockets (stereo) corresponding to the eight channels.

The wired remote has a special connector and a 3.5mm stereo jack socket acting as an auxiliary stereo input for the jack. There are two flat, easy-to-handle potentiometers to adjust the overall volume and the subwoofer level, which is just fine, On one side are two 3.5mm stereo sockets for the aux input and the headphone output. There is also an M-Port, a sort of USB port for a portable MP3 player to listen to music with the player and the T7700 without booting the computer. In short, there is a full range of features.

The satellites are plugged into the subwoofer with Cinch plugs, the satellites themselves using snap terminals. Creative uses two satellite models. The three front ones are 2-way. Behind a smart cloth cover is a little 7cm midrange and a little dome/cone tweeter with a center broadcaster with a metal membrane. The boomer/midrange has a large half-roller suspension in coated fabric and uses a closed rear load. A metal stand with rubber feet supports the satellites, but at the back they have a screw slot for hanging them on a wall.

The other satellites - for surround - are smaller and have wideband loudspeakers.These loudspeakers are the same size as the boomer/midrange of the front satellites but are designed in a different way, notably with a smaller mobile spool, probably for hearing the high-range response. A Creative standard connecting cable (ending in two 3-pin jacks and one 4-pin jack) is supplied. If you don't have a 7.1 sound card, there is a switch on the subwoofer to upmix from 5.1 or 6.1 to 7.1 so that all the satellites are active.

The power may seem oddly distributed since the bass-range has 24 watts and the channels have 8 watts, except the center channel that has 20 watts. This is logical, however: when listening to cinema sound, the center channel is the one that reproduces most of the dialogue. The dynamics of this can be formidable and our ears are very sensitive to distortion in this kind of sound. So Creative has made a smart choice and achieved the best quality/price ratio.