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Creative N400 Portable Speakers
|Average Customer Rating:
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Average Customer Review:
( 14 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 18 found the following review helpful:
To x-Fi or not to x-Fi; not on a Mac, anywaysMar 23, 2009
These speakers sound decent, and seem at first glance to be a good choice in the lightweight, usb-powered portable speaker category.
But they sound better when on a Windows machine running their proprietary software, which has to be authenticated on-line; a default installation of this software forces you to use their media player program for absolutely everything that you want to hear through the speakers. Other digital audio sources like YouTube via a web browser, or anything in iTunes, force your computer to revert to its built-in speakers. The speakers sound good on a Mac, like they do on a Windows machine that is not running the "x-Fi/3d Crystalizer" software.
UPDATE: I un-installed the full package and re-installed just the speaker drivers together with the player/burner options, to see if I could use their audio controls to adjust the speaker settings, with their rudimentary burning/recording/playback options intact, without the restrictions imposed on other audio sources by the default installation. After some trial and error, this is possible, and you can enhance other audio sources if you do a limited install of the the software. But definitely NOT Plug and Play. So the x-Fi audio enhancement will run on a Windows machine with software controls, just not on a Mac. I would increase my rating now by a star to three if I could, and to four if the software ran on a Mac.
From my perspective, the best reason to use Creative's software would be to record VOIP telephone conversations, as my VOIP device shows up in their audio management software as a a cd drive/recording source. But the recorder only hears my voice, not the other party's. Too bad, that would have been a very useful feature, and pushed this review to its theoretical fifth star.
On the plus side, the speakers themselves are well-finished, and sound good enough at low volume. They do not require a separate power supply as long as you have a fully-powered usb port, and the x-Fi technology may be slightly better than say, iTune's Sound Enhancer, if you are up to the software challenges. They also come with a nifty padded travel case.
I use both Macs and Windows, and there are many portable speaker choices that don't try and force you to make artificial choices between those two worlds. If you need the x-Fi enhancement, Creative has various hardware-only solutions that are less restrictive/invasive for both PC and Mac. But even with the above caveats, I am having a hard time returning these. They do sound good at low volume on a PC with the x-Fi enhancement software turned on; too bad it doesn't run on a Mac.
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Impressive, powerful, simple, and compact.Aug 22, 2010
These speakers are very portable and come with a nice little cloth zipper case. Each speaker has one cable, and each cable is about 2ft long.
They are at least twice as loud as my laptop speakers and provide a very deep and full sound for their size. I have used them with plug-n-play on about 10 different computers and laptops. They work just as easily on MAC OSX as they do on Windows XP, Vista and 7.
The speaker volume controls adjust the main System volume on your computer (MAC and Windows) when they are connected, which is much nicer than independent speaker volume control. I also LOVE the convenience of power over USB. The secondary speaker plugs into the primary using a standard headphone jack, which means you have the option of plugging that speaker straight into your laptop, but you won't get as much power to the speaker that way (i.e. less sound).
I have been using these speakers on a day to day basis for almost two years now, including 14 months in Afghanistan. I sometimes overdrive the speakers by tweaking the equalizer in VLC media player to make my movies super loud, and still the speakers work as well as the first day I got them. I have never had a single problem with this product.
I sometimes have to tell the operating systems to use the Creative Speaker because the operating systems won't switch over automatically. This is not a design flaw in the speakers, but the result of the fact that I use them on plug-n-play instead of using the enclosed Creative software.
These are the best laptop (and desktop) speakers I have ever bought. I would recommend them to anyone who wants some easy to use, quality, compact speakers with bold sound and power over USB.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
works with Windows 7! wonderful speakers!Jul 23, 2010
By math/sci undergrad
I'm not sure why someone else couldn't get these to work with Windows 7. It literally was plug and play for me, and besides, if you just google windows 7 and n400, you find that creative has made a driver for windows 7. These speakers are wonderful! I have an old set of creative speakers (like from 6 years ago), and was hoping to find a more portable set. These are perfect for my needs. Creative sound quality and the carrying case is about the size of a cake mix box, but twice the depth. I'm pretty picky about my sound quality and I like these. I def recommend them!
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Best USB Speakers under $40Oct 08, 2010
By Craig A. Hartman
These speakers are great for the price. They look good, they are portable and most importantly, they sound great. I purchased 30 sets for my workplace and I have had all great reviews from my coworkers...and trust me, when buying for your coworkers there are always people who complain, so take my word for it these speakers are great and i am buying some for my home.
4 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Good speakers but no W7 compatability yetFeb 04, 2010
By Bertrand Russel
The speakers are pretty good, they sound good, with the X-Fi technology music sounds even better. They work fine in XP with my programs, I don't know why one of the reviewers said the audio switched back and forth, I never had that problem, maybe something to do with the default audio playback setting.
Anyway, the reason I gave them a 4 is because they are not compatible with Windows 7 yet, and it has been a while. The beta driver and the proprietary software don't work well at all, crashed my computer twice so I had to uninstall both.
When I boot up sometimes the system recognizes them, but sometimes it doesn't. I have to plug them in and out several dozen times before they are recognized by the system again (not exaggerating here). All my other USB devices work fine in all the ports, so it has to be the speakers.
If Creative decides to eventually roll out W7 support this product would get a 5 stars rating from me. The speakers are very convenient if you travel a lot, don't need recording studio quality music, and don't like clutter on your desk. Again an excellent product, but it NEEDS W7 compatibility.
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