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Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 Speakers
Enhanced Bass with BasXPort technology
Connect directly to TV
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Average Customer Review:
( 597 customer reviews )
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148 of 152 found the following review helpful:
In a word, Wow!Oct 17, 2012
By Tom Lewis
If half-stars were available, I would have rated this product 4 and a half stars.
The review below is 3 years old now, and it still stands, but here is an update.
For some reason the bass now sounds better. My best guess would be that through use (cone excursion) possibly the glue loosened up, an the cones are traveling much truer than they were when I got them, or at least it sounds that way. IOW, a break-in period. Kind of a long one, they didn't really sound better until after a year or so.
But I made another improvement, which is I connected a subwoofer I had laying around. I had put this off because I could not find a practical way to do this, but I found a box that works as a crossover from Rolls (SX45, about $90) that made this work pretty well. I roll the Creatives off at 150 Hz, and the sub back in at 150 Hz, and it sounds much, much better, because now the Creatives are not trying to do all of that work in the lower octaves that they are probably too small to do efficiently.
As I originally stated, sub-200 Hz is where the Creatives fall down, while above 200 Hz they sound really good. But the combination of this and the sub really works well. The Creatives by themselves sound OK when the volume is low, but now I can listen at a reasonable level and still get good bass response.
The box says "Premium, home theatre sound with booming bass". If you qualify that, it is exactly correct. And here's what I mean by "qualify": The word "premium" applies if you are comparing this system to conventional computer speaker systems (it is the best I've come across in that regard). The term "home theatre sound" applies if you are comparing this to a low-cost "home theatre in a box" system, usually costing much more. This system ranks high in that category sound-wise (although it is a 2.0 system and HTIB is usually 5.1), but of course it can't begin to compare to a conventional high-dollar home theatre system. Booming bass? You betcha, although that might not be what we have in mind. "Premium, home theatre sound" is rarely accompanied by "booming bass", simply because "booming" bass is not ever really high in quality, so there is a bit of a dichotomy there. But if booming bass is what you are after, this system has it in spades, even though the goals for bass response in home theatre are usually quite different. Read on for a further explanation.
If we consider just frequencies above 200 Hz, these speakers perform as well as many expensive bookshelf speakers. That's right, they really do. The dome tweeter (big fan of those) creates very clear and detailed highs, and mid-highs. Mids and mid-lows are equally good. In fact, I can't recommend them any more enthusiastically because of how well they perform in this range above 200 Hz; they are on par with hifi speakers or even prosumer desktop recording studio speakers costing many times more than this. There is also a lot of headroom; you could really rock the house, sheer volume-wise. And again, Amazon beat everyone else on price, which is reasonable for what you get.
As we get into lower frequencies, the farther below 200 Hz we go, the worse these speakers perform. This is also a function of volume; at low volumes the bass is not half-bad, and better than what one might expect from computer speakers. But as the volume is raised to a conservative listening level, the bass becomes muddy, poorly imaged, and with distortion that almost makes turning down the bass until there is an absence of bass, the better choice. Again, there is plenty of headroom, at least as far as the amp is concerned, but the bass elements just can't keep up with it, and they start to double the frequency and become very unlistenable. Kick drums (the bass drum in a trap set) are not all that bad; there is a solid kick reproduction although it feels a bit squeezed and missing its natural lower frequencies. What is disappointing is how poorly bass guitar sounds. And that is pretty ugly, although most computer-class speakers do just as poor a job, if not worse.
Being an Audio Engineer for a very long time, with a history of building, rebuilding, and doing sound reinforcement with speakers of all kinds, my best guess is that this poor imaging and muddiness is a product of porting the speakers, which works well with large speakers, not so much with tiny speakers (although comparatively speaking, these guys are gargantuan next to most computer speakers). This porting technique gives an efficiency that doubles the lower-frequency volume (for the same amount of amp)and extends the bass response about a half octave lower, but the cost is cone hangover and associated muddiness and imaging issues.
As a matter of fact, you can cover the port with your hand, and while the bass level then drops about 3 dB, the bass quality increases dramatically. I cut some styrofoam "corks" and plugged the ports, and turned the bass up a notch, and under those conditions the bass was also greatly improved, so that means the "corks" will be permanent in my setup. This essentially turns the speakers into more of a bookshelf speaker as far as bass response is concerned, meaning that the bass is more "tight", and imaging improves and muddiness disappears. But not completely. You can't expect miracles or 2.1 bass response out of a computer-class 2.0 system regardless who makes it, simply because the physics of that precludes it. But corking the ports makes them sound much more reasonable, and less like listening to that moron with the raised-up pickup truck sitting next to you at the stoplight booming rap music until your iPhone vibrates out of its holster.
So it is easy to see why the gentleman who favors classical music rated these speakers so poorly. These are the wrong speakers for critical hifi listening to classical, even though the response is very flat and musical in frequencies above 200 Hz. But if you are primarily a gamer, or you want good quality for common computer speaker tasks, these speakers are ideal. Perfect for background music. Maybe not so perfect for watching Transformers III at home theatre levels, or for full volume music listening, but that is not what they are designed as, and is really not to be their expected performance level. Still, they are absolutely keepers. They should perform better in smaller rooms, too (I auditioned them in a room that was 20x24x9). I may add a 3rd-party sub, which would very likely compensate nicely in the lower frequencies. I'll amend my review when I do, but my prediction is that adding a complementary sub would make these speakers pretty hard to beat, even in categories above computer speakers.
365 of 396 found the following review helpful:
Sound isn't just about what you hear, it's what you listen to.Jan 21, 2011
So, the delima that is today's PC speakers. Until now I had been using a Klipsch Pro Media 4.1 setup for almost 7 years. When finally the static in the volume knob degraded into a bad sounding sub (like it was blown, but not) and finally a dead amp.
Creative Labs Gigaworks Series II T40
You may read reviews about how these speakers recuscitate hind parts when it comes to bass. I just got mine delivered today and purchased them sight unheard. After a month of research, I narrowed my focus to the M-Audio Studiophile AV40 ($200), Creative Labs GigaWorks Series II T40 ($140) (important to note Series II due to minor desirable enhancements), Creative Labs Gigaworks Series II T20 ($90), Bose Companion 2 ($90) and a Dayton Audio ($150) solution featuring Class T amp (50 watts/channel), 6.5" Bookshelfs and left the door open for a matching 80 watt 8" sub ($100).
I am using a Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD (THX) sound card. I will be listening to my music library on iTunes and general gaming.
Speakers that handled the entire vocal range and highs very nicely. Imaging was important. Only being 24 inches away from the speakers, I need to feel the vocals hitting my face and not my chest. Speakers need space and direction to achieve imaging. Remember, your head is on TOP of your shoulders, ;). An inheritent design problem with most pc speakers. You don't lay your head on the desk to use your PC. Yet most pc speakers are flat on the base and sit on your desk, pointing right into your chest.
Stereo sound (2.0), fit and finish, build quality, vocal sound quality, imaging, sound controls and design simplicity.
I had listened to the Bose Companion 2. For $90 they seem worth every penny. My boss has them at work and I've listened to them on display, as well. They lack sound controls (except volume) and have a natural hollow sound you'd expect from 1 driver trying to do all the work in a plastic cabinet. But they fill the listening space good and seem decently built. Also, they are tilted slightly but not enough. Within 2 or 3 feet on a standard desk, they hit around your shoulders.
I never got to listen to the M-Audio AV40's. After reading several complaints on multiple sites, I noticed complaints about build quality on some of the jacks and about the amps getting hot. One thing about amps, they need surface area and ventilation to truly last. Heat is the enemy. They seem to have all the makings of great speakers, but I'm not a fan of coincidence. When build quality complaints seem to echo across the reviews I read, I axed them.
I really stressed over the Dayton Audio solution. But ultimately it came down to too many parts. I wanted an integrated solution. Also, again we are dealing with bookshelf speakers pointing at my chest. Axed.
So then I turned my attention to the Creative Labs Gigaworks series. The next decision was not as simple as it may appear. T20's or T40's? Imaging, remember? 2 midrange/midbass drivers are better than 1. The "mini tallboy" profile didn't bother me with a 27" LCD. And after all of the reviews I read, no one complained about vocal quality. In fact, imaging and vocal quality were always praised. So, T40's it was.
So, I've been listening to them for about 2 hours and I can say... imaging and vocal clarity are AWESOME. BUT, you've got to be patient with them. Due to their directional nature and (lack of) bass performance, you really need to tweak your equalizer settings, the speakers treble and bass controls and find the right balance between your audio drivers volume and the speakes volume control. Because these speakers entertain so much control over the sound, they TAKE TIME TO DIAL-IN. Be patient. Also, higher quality drivers need break in time. Typicaly 75 - 100 hours of music. New drivers are "stiff". They reproduce sound in a very tight and unforgiving nature. They need time to "loosen" to their natural responsive nature. Once broke-in, they deliver a more forgiving and fuller sound. Even after just a few short hours, I've noticed how the speakers are sounding better.
And remember, you've got 3" drivers... don't try to shake the room. Tweak the equalizer and controls to filter out unneeded frequencies until you find the speakers sounding "full". If you want to rattle windows and walls, get an 8" or 10" sub... SERIOUSLY. The most fundamental rule about bass.... the more air you move, the more bass you create. Also, if you're PC speakers are also your primary source for listening to music, you'll want a 2.1 system. You need a sub.
So, if these speakers don't perform well for bass, why do they get great reviews? Remember the 3 rules?
1) Know your space (room size), 2) know your taste (what are you listening to) and 3) know what it takes (the type of speaker needed).
Most of the reviewers don't get their prime listening enjoyment from PC speakers. They're getting it from their theater or car. I don't demand bass from my PC experience. For me, a PC is about immersion into the screen. Thus, the "space" is about 2 to 3 feet. Forget bass, it's all about imaging at that distance.
Vocals, Sound Quality and Staging
You will be amazed at how much range you have with the treble and bass controls. I had read in one review that the bass control seems to give more response than the speakers can handle. This is true. But not all music and sound is created equal. It's nice to be able to compensate lesser audio sources at the speaker level. That's what the bass and treble controls allow. You just have to be patient finding the sweet spot.
I don't notice any imperfections in the sound quality. No hissing, crackling or straining in the higher frequencies. The vocals are tight, punchy and warm. The highs are smooth, efficient, accurate and effortless. Staging is excellent.
Fit and Finish
As for fit and finish, they are very appealing. Their controls have a polished "all business" look about them. The power on/off is built into the volume button (one of those Series II things). People have complained about the blue light on the Series I. So, they moved it so it's now a backlight on the volume knob. It can be a bit distracting if you're OCD.
3 connections (power, companion speaker and stereo input jack). The power converter is reminiscent of a laptop's. The install is clean and not jumbled with a snakepit of wires. Each tower has a "foot" that screws in. And the speaker grills remove to reveal some elegant looking drivers.
This was one of the primary reasons I went with these speakers. And I'm glad I did. They have a very sturdy feel. Very nice weight. The amp produces nice clean sound. And the drivers, when tuned correctly, are very true to their design. Even the grill is nice!
In conclusion, don't buy these speakers thinking your buying a small concert stage with mics, guitars, drums and amps to listen to your favorite band bang out those heavy electric tunes.
Instead, your buying a bar stool and acoustic guitar for your favorite singer to sing to an audiance of one. And your chair is only 2 feet away.
Know your space. Know your taste. And know what it takes.
52 of 52 found the following review helpful:
Classy, Clean sound and Great ValueSep 08, 2011
Pros: Great looks. Sounds is both clear and tremendously powerful for speakers of this size and price. Couldn't be easier to set-up. Versatile and well-equipped. No separate sub.
Cons: Size isn't for everyone. No remote. Not having a separate subwoofer may be a dealbreaker for some.
I recently moved into a studio apartment and I can't afford a massive sound system. Like many people I rely upon my laptop as pretty much my sole source of entertainment but was growing tired of using headphones and my valiant, but tiny Altec speakers on my HP laptop.
Looking through Amazon.com, NewEgg.com, and Cnet.com was definitely an exercise in frustration. In fact, it took me two months of trolling through those sites and my local Best Buy before I gambled on these. I finally settled on the T40 because both the T20 and T40 have garnered solid reviews. Are they perfect? No, but neither are most reviewers. But generally no one had horror studies to tell (ahem, JBL, ahem) and the only complaints seemed anal-retentive. A sale price of 99.00 on Amazon.com was also perfect and the lack of a subwoofer was a plus. Finally, I've owned a few Creative products in the past...MP3 players, etc...remember soundblaster? And while they were often on the fringe of the mainstream, they have always been solid and never poorly made.
I want to break this review into several parts based on how I went about choosing these speakers:
1. Looks: with a sophisticated design and piano-black exterior, these speakers are very fancy looking. On my black lacquer Ikea desk, they look outstanding. Of course, like a shiny black BMW, they do require weekly dusting but I find it to be worth it (buy a Swifter). You will get nice comments from your friends, trust me. That being said, these speakers are a full 12 inches high, so they may be bigger than what you're looking for. Each speaker is slightly canted upwards for optimal sound since they are essentially pointing towards your head.
2. Versatility and Ease of use. There is everything you need here. You have a TV aux in (with included RCA adapter), Aux in, Headphone jack and a standard audio cable for hooking up to your laptop. The power adapter is smaller than most laptop adapters and doesn't even get hot. Wires are needed obviously but are minimal and easy to tie up. There is a Bass/Treble/Volume button right on the front so adjustments couldn't be easier. Very clean and thoughtful set up. People complain about the blue light around the volume button but c'mon. I don't even notice it. People need to calm down. Incidentally, I prefer the dust covers on and overall, the speakers are very chic and modern.
3. Sound: You might notice I put this third. Well, that's because I didn't have high expectations from a two speaker setup. But let me tell you, these speaker will SPOIL you. Pinback sounds amazingly clear and concert-like. Nine inch Nails sounds awesomely angry and loud. Deadmau5, Daftpunk, and Kaskade sound club-ready. Yankees Games sound crisp. Top Gear sounds terrific. These speakers have ALL the bass you need without any of the headaches (rattling furniture, angry neighbors). The high and mid-range sound is quite frankly excellent for two single speakers without any separate tweeters, etc. These speakers are great all-rounders for both movies, music, and internet use. Are other speakers better? Sure, but I bet you'll pay more for them and have to accomodate an ugly subwoofer to boot.
4. Price: There are not many other worthwhile alternatives that offer this sort of quality at this price. The Altec/Logitech crowd designs range from comical and horrendous to just plain tacky. The JBL designs are cool but like a BMW, their reliability sucks. Bose is laughably overpriced. Really little to complain about here.
So there you have it. Great looking. Excellent Design. Terrific Sound. Good value. What more do you need?
136 of 146 found the following review helpful:
Finally, some decent desktop speakers.Sep 26, 2009
I've tried so many different computer speakers that I've lost count. The speakers that come with any new computer go straight into the trash without even being connected. That's a given. Then comes the dilemma of what to replace those cheap little tin cans with. I'm not a finicky audiophile. I just want good sounding speakers with moderately loud volume capability in a 2.0 configuration. I don't have the room or the desire for a large third component for booming base. These speakers are getting the job done like no other speakers I've ever owned.
I cannot express how happy it makes me to turn the volume knob and NOT hear the speakers crackling. Apparently, this requires some top secret speaker engineering, because I've never had a pair of desktop speakers that did NOT crackle or lose output on one of the speakers whenever I touched any of the knobs on them. I'm very pleased with these speakers.
40 of 43 found the following review helpful:
Very versatile great sounding speakersOct 30, 2009
I bought the creative T20's and thought they sounded good. Then I found out about the T40's and decided I had to have them. The T40's have unbelievable sound and can be connected to anything with an earphone jack (PC, TV, MP3 player, etc.). The bass sounds great for such a small speaker. A subwoofer would have been nice but these speakers still sound good without one. They are kind of expensive but worth it. I connect my MP3 player to them thru the headphone jack and it sounds like a full size stereo.
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