By David Susilo
As part of the COVID-19 care package, Creative Labs sent me a pair of T100 (US$100) powered speakers to review. My first ever PC speakers were Creative Labs so I was excited to review them.
When I opened the box, I was sceptical about how the speakers might sound since a subwoofer isn’t designed into the configuration. Each of the T100 speakers is 8.5 x 3.5 x 4.8 inches (HxWxD) with a matte-black grille and gloss-black finish on the sides. The tops of the speakers are matte-black, and the right one features input source, volume, and power buttons.
A pair of 2.75-inch full-range drivers with built-in digital amplifiers delivers up to 40W RMS and peak power of up to 80W. To compensate for not having a subwoofer, the T100 uses BasXport technology to reproduce the bottom end.
The T100 offers more connectivity options than you would typically find in desktop speakers, most of which are located on the back of the right satellite. There’s a standard 3.5mm AUX-in port to handle desktop audio or other wired devices, and an optical in to connect your gaming system (or anything at all, for that matter). There’s also a USB input so you can play FLAC, WAV, and MP3 files directly from a flash drive. Last, perhaps most importantly, you can stream from mobile devices via Bluetooth.
The system comes with a remote control that enables functions you won’t find on the right speaker. These include EQ presets for music, movies, live concerts, and video games, as well as buttons for adjusting treble and bass levels.
To set up the system, you only need to connect the cable attached to the right satellite to the port on the back of the left one, then insert the power cord into the input of the right satellite and plug it into an outlet. When you power the speakers on (you can do so from the remote or from the top of the right speaker), a tiny LED behind the grille on the right speaker changes from red to blue.
The T100 has a rich, warm sound, with excellent bass response. No, it isn’t audiophile quality, but it supplied enough bass, mids, and highs when I listened to my Denmark Jazz Trio CD from KLM Airline’s anniversary album “Come Fly With Me.” The muffled highs that are often a feature of single-driver desktop speakers are noticeably absent here.
Everything I put through these speakers had a smooth, warm glow about it. You can also pump the volume up pretty high without distorting the sound, so I was able to hear my Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” everywhere on the second floor where I put these speakers. This track is not an easy one to reproduce as the dynamics are great and peaks to the almost-clipping points.
While you can certainly get by using the speaker-top controls, I found the remote far more useful even when I was sitting right next to it. On top of enabling you to tweak the sound to your liking as you listen to different music genres, it also lets you play, pause, stop, and advance tracks. As I mostly to listen to CDs (via optical input) and MiniDisc (via line input), I choose the “Music” EQ preset with both bass and treble maxed out.
Creative’s T100 speakers are easy to recommend, particularly if you want an affordable pair of speakers without a subwoofer. It delivers warm, balanced sound with customizable EQ and multiple connectivity options, enough for nearly all applications. They cost a bit more than other systems including some with subwoofers. But if you are looking for quality audio instead of mere “boom” and “tiss,” they are worth the investment over any powered speakers regardless of configuration at this price.