When me and my girlfriend moved in together I was quick to discover she was almost allergic to computers. She'd gone 26 years without really using one, had no real intention of using one and wasn't really bothered. I was pretty surprised then when she unpacked a box with a computer in and various bits of computer paraphernalia - including these speakers. Apparently it was left to her by someone and she never used it, just had it boxed up for years - and I mean years. I've not looked inside it, but I'm fairly its innards are comprised of cogs and pistons. Anyway, the speakers were a pretty nice find so after about an hour of unravelling the various wires I plugged them in - and I've been using them ever since
Creative create PC audio equipment and have for years. 1981 to be precise, so they are not new to the market, and these speakers and others I've used are testament to the fact they know their craft.
Soundwise, there is a lot to shout about. They are 4.1 meaning they are capable of 4 channels - but you need to be using a compatible product. An audio compatible product such as a soundcard that is capable or output on a TV or cinema system is what this sort of speaker set up designed for. You will get sound from it if you plug them into anything, an MP3 player, Phone - it will work, but not make use of the separate channels.
I've used this on both compatible and non compatible products and the sound is just excellent - with the boon to these being the volume and real weight being the bass. The set up has 4 small PC speakers, a Subwoofer and a small volume control that also doubles as an on/off switch. When I first set these up it was to simply have some speakers in my kitchen with the audio source being my phone, and they worked great as they are loud. Super loud. Its almost a little shocking how much the tiny speakers, that will fit comfortable in your hand, will kick out. When you have all 4 speakers at once its capable of being unnecessarily loud. At about 1/2 volume is getting read to go out volume, 2/3 is house party territory and full will no doubt be the first step to an ASBO.
I like bass too. I listen to a lot of dance music of various types and a good bass output is important. Something you can feel as well as hear - but not distorted. You don't get distortion with this sub - it pumps out a heart warm bass that doesn't crunch over the treble. What even better is the sub has an independent control on the back to turn up or down to suit what your listening too. I like to crank the bass up for dub and reggae - as there isn't not much else in the mix, and turn it down a little for drum and bass and house when there is much more in the mix.
You can hear everything in the mix with these and its a clear and clean sound - sounding great with whatever your listening too. Be it music, TV or games - they sound good even at increased volumes not suffering any distortion. I've only had them at full whack a few times just to test how loud they go, and only just long enough to tell if they sounded fine or not - which they did.
I've mentioned the bass control - it also has a volume control that is connected via a separate wire to the speakers meaning you can set the speakers up and control for a distance. Its a little bit of a pain them being wired, as everything is wireless these days but these were made in 2003, so I'll forgive that. One issue I have with the volume control however is just how sensitive it is. Knock it a tiny bit and it goes up a lot. I was using these speakers while watching films in bed, and I'd often turn it up a little to much - no doubt annoying the neighbors. What is handy though is these have a small green light on to indicate on or off - and when you turn the volume right down it clicks off.
Using it with a TV or PC is really nice, as you can take advantage of the 4.1 - and gives gaming a lot of extra ooomph, as well as bringing films to life a little more. Its everything you'd expect from separate speakers, giving you a little of that home cinema experience.
A little downside with these though is the masses and masses of wires. I've moved them around a lot and its a lot of unplugging and plugging back in and tangling up and lots of things in knots. The wires are quite long which is good for setting them up at a distance, but a bit of a chore setting them up non-the-less.
These are an old product, and as such they are scarce in terms of both features and how available they are. As I mentioned they are not wireless and also have a very analogue feel to them with some clunky buttons and dials. This though hints to why I like them - they just feel sturdy. They are robust and feel tough, in build and design. They are not that nice to look at but have lasted through lots of use in the past year and are nearly ten years old. Plus, they do their job and still sound great.
I like things that do their job and last - and would thoroughly recommend these, but thats easier said than done. Being 10 years old they are not readily available with a few kicking about on ebay and quite a few on second hand sites online. At the time of writing there were non available on Amazon, but some on Gumtree and Ebay going for as little as....FREE!
This is a product you are likely to come across if your looking around some second hand shops of perusing the internet, rather than seek out - but are worth picking up when you do - if an extra pair of speakers if something you are looking for or to replace a bog standard pair of PC speakers with something much more powerful, especially if they keep their minimal price. I say if you see them, snap them up