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Aural Showdown - 2.1 Multimedia Speakers Shootout

Aural Showdown - 2.1 Multimedia Speakers Shootout


Creative Gigaworks T3, Edifier S730 and Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1

Creative Gigaworks T3

The smallest speaker system of our line-up, this is the Creative Gigaworks T3. Initially, we wondered why Creative called this the Gigaworks T3 given its petite sized, and we were informed that while it may be small on size, it is certainly not small on sound. We shall soon put that to the test.

A key feature of the Gigaworks T3 is its compact yet powerful subwoofer. It achieves this by the way of Creative's unique SLAM (Symmetrically Loaded Acoustic Module) technology, which utilizes a master driver and two pressure drivers. Yup, you read right; the Gigaworks T3 crams three low-range 6.5-inch drivers within its subwoofer enclosure. Creative say that this allows for the quick response of a small driver and the high-output capability and deep bass extension more commonly found in larger ones. And indeed during the test, we found its bass to be powerful and sometimes over-the-top. We'll explain more as we get to the test segment.

The stylish satellite speakers of the Gigaworks T3 are tiny in comparison to the rest, which should be good news for those short of desk space. Like the Bose Companion 5, the Gigaworks T3 gets a wired remote control pod as well, and we think it looks wonderful. It comes with the usual headphones and auxiliary jacks, and allows for volume control. The speakers do allow you to adjust its bass, but again, like the Companion 5, the dial is located at the back of subwoofer unit.

Edifier S730

Like some women, there are audiophiles who believe that size matters, and Edifier happens to fall into this group. The S730 2.1 speaker system from Edifier is by far the largest of our line-up. The satellites are huge and the subwoofer is nothing short of simply humongous.

Although Edifier didn't divulge on the weight of the S730's subwoofer unit, we reckon it was more then 10kg. In fact, we had to use a trolley to move it around our lab! It's not large for no reason, however, as inside it lurks a massive 10-inch driver. That's about the normal sized subwoofers used to drive home theatre systems in larger living rooms. The satellites are no pansies either, and were easily one of the larger ones in our pack.

While the Companion 5 and Gigaworks T3 look stylish, the S730, on the other hand, looks very bland. However, it makes up for its uninspired looks with its super cool wired remote control. Unlike the other speakers, whose wired remote controls are simple pod-like devices, the S730 has a full-blown remote control unit that comes complete with a LCD screen. Of all, the S730's wired remote control unit is the most useful as it allows you to tweak almost everything imaginable: volume, bass, treble, balance, the subwoofer's individual volume setting, and even the brightness of the LCD display. Additionally, the S730 also comes with a handy wireless remote control as well.

Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1

If you are not familiar with the brand Klipsch, don't worry, because their last new foray into the realm of 2.1 speaker systems was back in 2003 with the ProMedia GMX A-2.1. The company, however, with their wide range of home theater systems, is synonymous with hi-fi, especially amongst the home theater enthusiasts. On a side note, they have also recently made forays into the world of headphones, with their Custom and Image lines of in-ear monitors.

Designed for computer users who demand true high-fidelity audio, the ProMedia GMX A-2.1 looks unique, to say the least. The satellite speakers look like turbines from airplanes, and our opinion of them was divided; some liked it, while others thought it looked absolutely awful. The subwoofer unit, thankfully, or not, looks more traditional and is only slightly larger than the Gigaworks T3 subwoofer. A nice touch about the ProMedia GMX A-2.1 is that its satellites are the only ones of the bunch that can be tilted.

The ProMedia GMX A-2.1 shows its age when we uncovered its wired remote control unit. No fancy lights or touch-sensitive controls, it only has two simple dials for you to adjust the volume and bass. It was also the only system to have all the jacks congregate at the wired remote control unit, which could result in a desktop cluttered with wires. But how did it fare in actual usage when properly set up? Stay tuned shortly for our results breakdown on the following pages.