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Creative Inspire S2 Wireless 2.1 Speakers - Bass-less Price
Creative has been around for quite a while and has been churning out some good 2.1 and 5.1 speakers designed specifically for the desktop PC market. Their Inspire range of speakers are mostly aimed at the low to mid range budget and with wireless communication bringing in a lot of convenience in using devices, the S2 Wireless speakers seem to be an apt addition to this range. We’ve already reviewed the D100 Bluetooth speakers from Creative and found them to be really good. Let’s see if the wireless approach to 2.1 speakers works as well as it did for the D100.
Design and Build Quality
The Inspire S2 consists of two satellites and a subwoofer. Creative has been thoughtful enough to bundle a USB Bluetooth adapter but for Apple users, there’s another adapter that’s sold separately by Creative called BT-D5 Transmitter for iPod, iPhone and iPad which is priced at $39.99 (approx Rs. 1,820).
The subwoofer doesn't sound good
The satellites are white in colour with black cloth grilles at the front. They have a compact look and feel to it. These little sound boxes are somewhat light-weight. There’s nothing to complain about the build quality of the satellites either. The subwoofer on the other hand, is light-weight and perhaps a little too light for a subwoofer on a speaker set priced this high. The effects of a light woofer become evident from the sound that it produces. We found the subwoofer to be of a similar build quality of speakers priced in a lower category.
While these are wireless speakers, the whole setup by itself is not wireless. The power chord is pretty obvious, but the satellites and the subwoofer are connected through wires and messy ones, at that. The main satellite connected to the subwoofer has been connected by a thick wire while the other satellite can be connected through a port in the sub woofer.
The speakers’ volume and power controls are situated on the side of the satellite. Besides these controls, there is a line-in port to connect other media players that are not Bluetooth enabled. Also, there’s a port for headphones housed so that you can listen to music through the headphones without disturbing people around you.
The bass control doesn't help things either
The subwoofer has a bass level control situated behind the box. The volume of the woofer is directly connected to that of the satellites. A change of volume for the satellite also affects the woofer volume. So, if you want a little high bass but with low volume on the satellites, you’re bound to face some problems.
The S2 speakers can be used for your PCs, laptops, netbooks and can also be connected to Mac systems. We tried connecting a smartphone and a netbook and found the setup and installation to be simple.
While the S2 generally comes across as a good speaker set, we were disappointed by its performance in some areas. Like any other audio equipment that we test, we played a variety of tracks on the S2, from bass heavy to tracks that focus more on the mids and then some other songs that had quite a bit of trebles, as well.
On the other hand, better sounding satellites
Starting off with the performance of the satellites and the subwoofer, we saw that there was a stark contrast in their performances. The satellites sounded a lot better in terms of volume and level of details that could be noticed. They were a little shrill at some points, but that can be overlooked. While they would distort quite a bit at higher volumes, they definitely perform better than the woofer.
The woofer initially sounded okay, but after a few minutes, it was quite apparent that the woofer was a mismatch for the satellites. Not only did they lack a lot of detail, they also aren’t powerful enough. We tried different bass levels, but all in vain. Either they weren’t noticeable at all, or they would just blend all the instruments together making it very difficult to distinguish one from another. For e.g. Feel Good Inc.’s bass which is otherwise quite prominent to notice was sounding way off track on these speakers. On the whole, the track lacked a punch and in comparison, the Corsair SP2500’s woofer performed a lot better.
An absolute mismatch
To sum up the performance, the S2 satellites are not very bad. They sound bright and are really nice and easy on the ears, but the bass as we mentioned earlier doesn’t compliment the satellites.
The S2 wireless speakers have been priced at Rs. 9,499 which is quite expensive for the performance it gives. True that these speakers being wireless add to the price, but then the performance is a very important factor to be considered. These speakers are not recommended for those looking for a full-fledged mid-ranged sound system. Only if you’re into some low-bass music, these would be an option to consider. Otherwise you can also check out Logitech’s Z523 which are priced at about Rs. 4,000 lower or if you’re opting for something below the 10k mark, Altec Lansing’s MX6021 Expressionist Ultra is pretty good, as well. Last but not the least, the Corsair SP2500 at Rs. 12,200 (though a little over Rs. 10,000), is not too bad either.