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20 of 22 found the following review helpful:
Creative's HD50 2.0 Speakers - A Compact But Expensive 2.0 Speaker SetFeb 13, 2009
"Technology, Music, Books and Movies"
The Creative Labs GigaWorks HD50s are designed to satisfy a very small consumer niche. For those looking for speakers that are ultra compact, compatible with HD Audio and attractive, the HD50s are worth the premium. For users with more room who are searching for the best value in 2.0 speakers, there are many superior alternatives. You have to know your needs before being able to take advantage of these speakers.
+ Compact design is perfect for uses in cramped quarters
+ HD Audio enables playback of Dolby formats, 7.1 audio and DVD audio
+ Included port allows iPod docking with the optional X-30 dock
+ High quality ports and cables allow for solid connections
+ Attractive looks if you like modern design (tastes vary)
+ Good low-end sound compared to most 2.0 speakers
+ Minimalist design and controls may appeal to some
+ Decent clarity and range, particularly in the mid-range, once they are broken in
+ Compact size and performance makes these an option for cramped TV setups in a kitchen, workout room, RV or boat
- Cost is prohibitively higher than alternatives like the T40s, T20s or Klipsch ProMedias
- Price puts this set closer to good quality 2.1 and 5.1 sets
- The long and involved burning-in required before they sound good means many users won't get the most out of these speakers
- The minimal instructions and support information on the website are lacking
- Bass xPorts on top will collect dust
- Lack of an additional mini-subwoofer port (though few besides me look for this)
- Not enough included inputs and outputs (only line-in and s-audio)
- The X-30 iPod dock is hard to find!!! (They probably should have included this)
- No digital input option (USB, optical audio)
Setting up these speakers is simple, but the included quick-start guide offers little help in troubleshooting. There wasn't much support information on Creative's website when I checked either.
When testing speakers, it's important to understand the source audio. If you are using low bit-rate MP3s of dubious quality, it's impossible to test speaker sound quality. Similarly, you need audio samples with significant bass to test bass, because good speakers will reproduce the sound as it is. Your audio samples should be selected specifically to test low end, mid-range and high end sound separately. I always use a variety of audio samples starting first with CD quality uncompressed audio.
Initially the results were poor. Music with electronic elements in particular did not sound good. I could hear tons of disturbances in the sound, artifacts, hissing and popping. I did a little research and discovered that the laptop I first tested these on had a separate sound controller that negated the benefits of HD Audio. That partially put my mind at ease. But I still wondered, why was there so much distortion?
It turns out these really needed to be burned-in. I have had to burn in other Creative speakers, though none started out sounding as poorly as these. But I found a unique way to do it. Using an LCD TV with a headphone jack, I hooked the speakers up and played some high quality DVDs with uncompressed audio. The difference was night and day. The sound quality was much better, with impressive depth and no distortion even at high volumes. I normally burn-in sound equipment for a few days, but ended up burning these in for two weeks. Once I did that, the sound quality improved a lot.
Many people may not realize just how long these need to be burned-in. Ironically, even though they are not marketed for use with smaller LCD TVs, their compact size and performance makes them ideal for that use in a kitchen, small boat cabin or RV.
The drivers and tweeters produce very good sound once primed. I am still unconvinced of the claim of "Titanium super-tweeters." Bass xPort does work. You have to make sure you have an audio source with the proper bass. I tested this with a record of jazz bass solos. They may not be subwoofer equivalent, but are very nice for a 2.0 set. If you need real low-end depth, explore 2.1 and 5.1 sets with a powered subwoofer.
The HD50s are listed at 36 watts of RMS total power, 18 watts per speaker. Power ratings can be very misleading. Some low-end speakers might have higher peak power ratings, but not RMS power. RMS power is a better approximation of average power than other measures. So 18 watts per speaker is a good estimate of the sustained power level you can put through these speakers. This is a higher output than many headphone jacks produce.
Another issue is the validity of "HD Audio." HD Audio is a real standard but you need the proper equipment. It is designed to enable Intel motherboards without dedicated audio controllers to produce up to 7.1 surround audio with 192 KHz sampling rate at up to 32-bit resolution. Not every computer runs HD Audio. The HD50s only give you the option of connecting via a stereo cable. Digital inputs would have made it easier to test and enjoy HD Audio.
If you don't have space constraints that require super-compact speakers, the Creative GigaWorks T40 Premium 2.0 Speaker System offer more for the money. Just like the T20s, they are very efficient, producing clear sound with moderate power ratings. The T40s are much taller at about 12 inches, versus the 9 inch height of the T20s and the roughly 6 inches of the HD50s. The T40s and T20s also include separate bass and treble knobs. The standard settings provide good sound output but people still crave the ability to adjust things.
The T40s have an additional mid-range pair in addition to the BasXport. That adds an extra dimension of sound and improves richness. The HD50s and T20s only have the tweeter, midrange and BasXports. In that sense, even with compatible systems the HD50s can't achieve the same depth of sound as the T40s.
The Klipsch ProMedias provide another alternative on par with the T20s, though the T40s are still better than both of them. When it comes to value, the HD50's lose on all fronts at the list price. The T40s hover in the $120 to $130 range, and the ProMedias and T20s regularly sell in the $60 to $90 range. But it's not uncommon to pay a premium for compact speakers.
For those looking for compact speakers, the HD50s are worth a look. And for computers compatible with HD Audio, these can sound great if they're broken-in first. If you are primarily looking for a good quality and don't mind larger sets, the T40s, T20s and Klipsch ProMedias are great options.
Beyond the sound quality, value comparisons with the alternatives cannot be ignored. The additional range and clarity of this set will not be worth the added cost for everyone. So do your homework. These can be a nice splurge and will sound better with more use.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Creative Gigaworks HD50 is one of the best 2.0 Speaker SystemsDec 31, 2008
By Sidarta Tanu
Pound for pound, this is one of the best 2.0 Speaker Systems. The Hi-definition technology really makes a difference and the high frequency sound is super crisp (with the titanium supertweeter technology). The Low frequency is very good comparing to other 2.0 speaker systems but not good compare to any 2.1 speaker system (but that's probably not a fair comparison as since the 2.1 speaker has a dedicated subwoofer which is also huge/bulky). On price, I think this system is on the high range, but then again Bose speakers system are also pricey.
Here are some of the pros and cons.
- Very portable
- The high frequency (tweeter) sound is super crisp which is a big plus
- All wire are long enough so you don't have to use any extension
- Very good sound overall as long as you don't turn the volume too high/to the maximum
- No additional hassle from bulky subwoofer and its wires
- Bass is very good compare to other 2.0 systems
- Very nice design. stylish and sleek.
- Looks expensive (oh wait, it is indeed expensive)
- The bass is not anywhere near any 2.1 systems with dedicated subwoofer (if loud bass is important for you).
- It will be nice if it is built inside the speakers for even more portability
- Sound won't fill a big room (like a big living room). to be fair, I haven't turn the volume to the maximum because I don't want to take a chance and break the speakers
- Expensive for a 2.0 systems (and though I'm impressed with the sound quality, it is not as good as Bose or Klipsch speakers with comparable similar price)
- No controller to adjust bass and treble (can adjust it from Ipod or Laptop though)
In conclusion, this Creative Gigaworks HD50 Speaker System will be perfect for a small to medium size room and if you want super crisp sound and a decent bass but don't want to bother with a big subwoofer. This is also perfect if you travel and want to take a high quality portable speakers for your Ipod.
last but not least, for sound (speaker) and display (TV), every person often have different preference so I would recommend you to try it yourself in local store etc (and compare it with Bose and Klipsch) if you can before buying.
4 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Better than any speakers you'll find in a computer monitorDec 31, 2008
By Magic Mike J
"Follow Your Bliss - Joseph Cambell"
These are decent sounding speakers for their size. They are small and lightweight. They come in a glossy white finish, which I suppose is to make them match an ipod. The black speaker grills which are magnetically attached, blend in more with the more stylish and trendy black computer monitors and keyboards that most people buy these days.
You can get decent bass out of these when using anything with an eq, just don't crank the low frequencies up too high, nor the volume. They definitely sound better than any speakers you'll find in a computer monitor, and better than most their size. But there is no fear of rattling anything on your desk, or thumping things off the wall.
When used with an mp3 player, your at the mercy of whatever eq settings it has, since these speakers offer no tone controls at all. You get a nice blue glow around the on/off volume knob, and that's it. There is no mounting holes in the back of the speakers, so they can't go on the wall.
If they do sell for the $149 price, then you'd probably be better off looking for something else. That is surely too much for what they offer in my opinion. Heck, my 280 watt Logitech 5.1 system with so much bass you HAVE to turn it down didn't cost much more than that.
And speaking of wattage, 18 per speaker is the usual stretching of the truth. The little foldout that comes with it says the hi frequency amplifier is 7, and the lower is 11. Figure about half that, 9 watts per channel is more reality. Loud enough for your desktop, don't think you'll be getting room filling sound with these though.
Edit: After a couple weeks of use, they give static when moving any of the wires, the one attached to the other speaker or the one attached to the computer. Unplugging all and replugging seemed to lessen it, but still present.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Impressive for a small 2.0 systemJan 06, 2009
By LG Texas
I am delighted with my HD50 speakers. My desk is small and crowded, and I wanted a simple pair of speakers with the best sound I can find in a tiny package. I use my laptop computer for business as well as my personal stereo. I don't have need for a huge thundering bass, and I don't have room for the clutter of a big subwoofer and additional cables. Although the HD50s are pricy, they truly deliver an impressive and satisfying music listening experience. No, they won't shake the room when playing video games with explosions, and they are not big enough to fill a large room during a loud party, but they truly exceed my every expectation for a personal music listening experience at my desk. I am very, very pleased.
4 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Not worth the price. Poor audio range, not a premium product!Dec 31, 2008
By Lon J. Seidman
The Creative Gigaworks HD50 speakers are very disappointing. For the high price tag and superb build quality I was expecting a speaker set that rivaled the premium offerings by Bose and other manufacturers. I was so surprised with how poor the sound quality was that I had to hook it up to a few additional sources to be certain it wasn't my equipment.
Sound is tinny and chock full of distortion even at moderate volume settings. The "BasXPort technology" is nothing but a marketing exec's description of a hole at the top of the speaker. The reality is practically zero low range bass. The set could benefit from a subwoofer but at that point there are already plenty of more affordable options.
I rarely give a one star review, but I simply can't recommend these speakers at the asking price. They are nothing more than mid range computer speakers wrapped in a more attractive package.
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