Creative’s GigaWorks series of speakers has been designed to target the full gamut, from dedicated gamers and surround sound high techies (the S750 and the ProGamer G500), to the more modest twin stereo speakers for musical instrumentalists (the T40 and the T20). The HD50 stereo set completes the collection by aiming for the same ‘pro’ music sound but via an ultra-compact scale.
Barely 14cm in height, each speaker is made of durable, chic, white plastic with urban silver fronts. If you prefer a more neutral black image then you can leave the speaker grilles attached via their handful of low power magnets, but when there’s so little to see on these units, why not go for the total bling approach?
On the front of each speaker is a 5cm high definition driver accompanied by a robust titanium Super Tweeter. The speakers are connected via a 2m stereo-to-stereo audio cable and there’s one solitary knob (which lights up with a fetching blue LED when switched on) to control power and volume. You might think by looking at them that these speakers were designed for laptops, but the fairly hefty power lead indicates that these are primarily intended for firmly grounded desktops.
In place of a solid subwoofer to take care of bass response, Creative makes use of its own BasXPort technology to handle low-end impact. There’s one 7W RMS amplifier enhancing high frequencies and a separate 11W RMS amplifier for the low end. What this means is that you should get more clearly separated and defined sound differentiation, where specific instruments and voices can be sharply illuminated.
Round the back there are two options for input: audio from your PC, MP3 player and phone, etc., enters via a 3.5mm audio jack while an optional 9-pin DIN connection gives the option of hooking up with Creative’s own X-30 Docking Station for use with an iPod. There’s no separate headphone input, nor individual controls for bass and treble (unlike the T40).
When it comes to performance, though, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the HD50′s ability to highlight individual musical elements, especially if you’re playing classical concertos and quartets or folk singer/songwriters. You’ll miss out on the rumbling roar of Heavy Metal, and gaming first-person shooters won’t have the full-blooded terror you appreciate with subwoofer-assisted surround sound, but strategy and adventure games gain from you being able to hear a full kaleidoscope of voices and effects.
So despite their tiny stature, these mini powerhouses will be a useful alternative if you can’t afford, or haven’t got the space for, 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems.
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