A Mighty Midget
Creative Labs has succeeded in housing inside this small casing all of the currently available audio technologies. That's quite a feat. It has to be said that there's no amplification because the speakers do all of that. The power supply is also an external one, but it is supplied. The design may not please everyone. The front is well below Hi-Fi standards and is a little garish with all those flashing lights and its shiny silver metal. But it's a matter of taste. On the front, there are two headphone sockets that make it possible to listen to them in silence. The main set of connectors is on the back and they are comprehensive. For input, you can connect to any kind of source. You have cinch three stereo analog inputs for a TV monitor, a VCR, etc. A digital coaxial input can be used for a DVD player if you have one. Otherwise, the three digital optical inputs will let you connect simultaneously to a DVD player, a games console, a Mini-Disk, etc.
As for output, you can connect any types of 5.1 or over computer speakers. All you need are three mini-jack plugs. The first two are stereo and manage the front and rear speaker sound. The third is triple and manages the central channel in front of the bass tweeter in 5.1. In this case, you will need an additional stereo minijack connector. At 6.1, the rear central channel and minijack connector need to be triple. If you are plugging in 5.1 speakers, pressing a button will trigger a downmix from 6 to 5.1. Most computer speakers can thus be connected with their original cable. To summarize, if you attach 5.1 speakers, you will need to use the decoder's downmix function, but if you are using 6.1s, you don't need to do anything and if you are attaching 7.1s, you'll need to use the upmix function for bringing 6 up the 7.1 offered by the speakers. To complete the plethora of connection options a splitter box is supplied. This lets you link your speakers to the decoder and to the PC at the same time. If your computer is near a TV, you have two uses in one.