MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
JBL Creature II
- Unique and stylish design, Touch sensitive Volume Control, Excellent clarity, Great Bass
- A little pricey compared to other units, Volume control makes a clicking sound, No visual indicators
Looking like something from a planet far, far away, the Creature II’s unique style combined with above average sound quality and excellent bass should ensure they are a hit.
Price$ 194.95 (AUD)
There are a plethora of PC speakers on the market at the moment but none of them look remotely as interesting or weird (depending on your tastes) as JBL's Creature II 2.1 system. Resembling something fresh out of one of George Lucas' Star Wars creations, the Creature II's provide excellent bass and crisp, clear sound - but you'll pay for their unique design.
While this system is designed to look good next to Apple's range of white iMac computers, they can also be used with any regular PC, games console or portable multimedia units and are available in four different colours - white, black, red and aluminium.
The design of the Creature II is very unique. For starters, the subwoofer is shaped like a Darth Vader helmet, while the two satellite speakers look like spaceships. They even have a glowing green LED underneath them which makes the entire set-up look alien-like. These speakers really are like nothing we've seen before and we quite liked the design, even if it's out of the ordinary.
When we first unpacked the speakers we thought we had been handed a faulty unit, as the volume adjustment was nowhere to be seen. But on closer inspection we located the volume adjustment buttons on the right satellite speaker, distinctly flanked by a chrome aluminum finish with plus and minus symbols cleverly etched into them. These buttons are touch sensitive, which means only a slight tap is needed to press them - quite similar to touch sensitive lamps. To mute the sound from the Creature II's you simply press both buttons simultaneously. This is fine in theory, but may pose a problem if you want to mute the sound extremely quickly. Annoyingly, each time one of the volume buttons is tapped, the speakers produce a clicking sound and this rapidly becomes irritating. With no visual volume indicator, this is JBL's compensation, but we'd definitely prefer the former.
Continuing with the interesting design, the Bass and Treble controls are located on the front two corners of the subwoofer. They are long and skinny and carry the same shape as the unit itself. The chrome finish is a nice touch. Conveniently, you are able to feel the halfway point of the controls thanks to a slight bump when turning the knob.
Set up is a hassle free process thanks to colour coded cables and inputs and once connected, the Creature II's really do produce quality sound. In particular, the best feature of this system is undoubtedly the bass reproduction. It's not overwhelming, but very soothing and is definitely suited to all types of music. The satellites provide excellent clarity and were crisp and clear throughout testing, with the system producing excellent volume levels with no evident distortion. If you adjust the bass to the required level the Creatures really do provide excellent quality sound, although we'd recommend them for slightly heavier tracks from such bands as Dredg and Opeth. That's not to say they aren't good for other genres though; the Creatures performed well in all the music we tested - including complex Jazz and Classical pieces.
The Creature II's are a little more expensive than some other similarly sounding systems, but in this day and age, you'll always pay extra for unique styling and this is what they offer. Overall, the Creature II's come highly recommended if you own an Apple computer (specifically for design and colour), but in saying this any consumer would be happy with this system should they choose to purchase it.
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