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Bringing Home The Bass: 2.1-Channel Speaker Roundup

Creative Gigaworks T3

As the originator the iconic Sound Blaster brand, Creative needs no introduction to PC users. The company has been producing PC speaker systems for years, and offers a number of notable products. The Gigaworks T3 is its premium offering in the 2.1 speaker arena and can be purchased for $249.99 on store.creative.com. The speakers come with a one-year warranty.

The Gigaworks T3 is the most compact satellite/subwoofer combo in our roundup. Each satellite holds a single 2” full-range driver, and most of its 5.9" x 3.0" x 3.7" size is taken up by space between the bottom of the stand and the speaker.

Despite the relatively small 8.4" x 9.3" x 11.3" subwoofer enclosure, it contains three times the number of bass drivers of any other option in our roundup. That’s right, the Gigaworks T3 comes with three 6.5” subwoofer drivers. Total subwoofer power is rated at 80 W and each satellite is rated at 15 W each for a total of 110 W. This might sound relatively low, but Creative lists nominal, not peak, power output.

This speaker system comes with a 1/8" stereo mini-to-RCA splitter cable and a wired remote. The satellites have built-in speaker cables with RCA-style connectors, which are convenient, but somewhat difficult to customize.

The remote is simple, yet functional. The entire top half is a volume knob with a nice, heavy feel. It also features well-placed headphone and auxiliary input jacks. All of the $250 options in the roundup offer a remote, a feature that we find very convenient when desk placement doesn’t allow for easy access to controls located on satellite enclosures.

The rear of the subwoofer houses the RCA-style input. As mentioned, there is a 1/8” auxiliary input jack on the remote.

While the remote offers easy access to the volume control, the bass level control is not very accessible, located on the back of the subwoofer. This is poor placement for any user input, especially on a product with a premium price tag.

  • hmp_goose
    It's you: Where the hell are my 5.1 sets?
    Reply
  • Mark Heath
    Interesting.. thanks for the article. :)
    Reply
  • jazn1337
    Dang, I was hoping you guys would look at the Swan M10s.
    Reply
  • clownbaby
    Wow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash. The bass peaks and generally crappiness in the mid range seem to be a common theme. Almost no consideration seems to be given to music listening.

    2.1 is the ideal setup for a computer imo. 4.1 at most. A center channel just isn't needed for monitor sized screens.

    You can buy a cheap onkyo receiver, some low end bookshelf speakers and a small sub for a few hundred bucks and have sound that will destroy the best pc speakers.

    The fact is, pc speakers are toys. There is no high end option. What they market as high end would be laughed out the door by the regular audio comminuty.

    p.s. Plastic is not an acceptable cabinet material
    Reply
  • clownbaby
    this is what frequency response graphs of decent speakers should look like.

    http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/StatementCenterChannelResponsePlots.JPG
    Reply
  • tigerwraith
    My Logitech G51 speakers have a Headphone and mic passthrough on the remote.
    Reply
  • clownbaby
    this is a frequency response graph of the first diy speaker I built from a popular design. This is a super budget MTM speaker.

    http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/TritrixMTMfr.gif
    Reply
  • d0gr0ck
    clownbabyWow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash. The bass peaks and generally crappiness in the mid range seem to be a common theme. Almost no consideration seems to be given to music listening.2.1 is the ideal setup for a computer imo. 4.1 at most. A center channel just isn't needed for monitor sized screens.You can buy a cheap onkyo receiver, some low end bookshelf speakers and a small sub for a few hundred bucks and have sound that will destroy the best pc speakers. The fact is, pc speakers are toys. There is no high end option. What they market as high end would be laughed out the door by the regular audio comminuty.p.s. Plastic is not an acceptable cabinet material
    Pretty much this. I've been telling people for ages that their super-duper PC speakers aren't. Any brand that quotes max power over RMS values raises an instant red flag for me. Even 20yr old Radioshack shelf speakers can run circles on most modern PC speakers.

    I die a little bit every time I hear someone with a premium add-in sound card is running generic PC speakers.
    Reply
  • tigsounds
    This is all Go out and buy it junk. Build your own and end up with something that rattles the neighbors nerves if done right.
    Reply
  • Mark Heath
    For all those who trash all PC speakers, they're usually the best option on the lower end of the scale. There are people out there who have compared entry level (sub 400) active speakers to the Klipsch Promedia set (best active speakers ~150 for sound quality imo) and they say that they're not that different. If you do it right, then it's not as bad as you might think.
    Reply