Hard on your organs, but not on your wallet
Creative Labs has downsized its 7.1 speaker system—the GigaWorks S750—to a more manageable 5.1 system “tuned for gaming.” This translates into one less driver in the satellites and a muscular subwoofer that’s capable of turning your steak and tomatoes dinner into chili while it’s still in your tummy. The satellites feel noticeably lighter, thanks to the absence of a midrange driver. The four 36 watt sats sport a 3-inch full-range driver with a flared port to cover the lower midrange. During testing, the satellites’ performance was damn good—they belted out crisp, piercing highs that never crackled or sounded muddy. Their output is a little on the bright side when the volume is cranked, but mids and highs sound delightful.
The other half of the equation is the subwoofer, and this 8-inch front-firing unit proved capable. When playing Half-Life 2 with the G500 system, the Pulse Rifle’s primary fire felt like someone was beating our chest with a set of massive drumsticks. Explosions shook the Lab walls and the satisfying “kaboom!” of the .357 Magnum felt and sounded like we were firing a real hand cannon. The subwoofer’s only weakness is that it has trouble producing extremely deep bass tones, which cause it to fart and rattle a bit. The rattling never occurred while gaming, but rather only when playing sound files around 50Hz or lower.
The G500 offers six-channel analog input, and includes a two-into-one mini-jack adapter for connecting a game console, though it unfortunately lacks a digital decoder and optical or coaxial jacks, which is what every game console uses for audio. A nice touch is that each satellite includes a removable stand, and we’re impressed that Creative includes the necessary screws and brackets for wall-mounting the rear-channel speakers (Logitech could learn a lesson here). There’s also an auxiliary jack for plugging in an MP3 player, but it’s difficult to access because it’s located on the rear of the subwoofer.
In the final tally, the G500 set scores major points for offering performance on par with systems costing almost twice as much. Despite a few small niggles, the G500 would make us think twice about shelling out $400 for a competing system from Logitech or Klipsch. --Josh Norem
+ Creative Labs: Excellent gaming performance, great controls, excessive power.
- Creative Fibs: No digital decoder, Auxiliary jack is hard to access, trouble with really deep bass.