Our music listening preferences are turning on its head thanks to the advent of mobile phones. No one,except hardcore audiophiles,bothers to buy a hi-fi music system anymore as most of our music is streamed online or stored in hard drives or micro-cards and not on CDs.
A real testament of how this change is affecting devices can be seen in the new Creative T4 Wireless Signature Series speaker system. While this looks like a regular 2.1 speaker system for your PC,it can go completely wireless too; connecting to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Here is the review.
Looks can be deceiving. For the T4 looks like any high-end 2.1 speaker system. I empasise on the high-end,as the subwoofer feels like it has come from hi-fi set for which you paid as much as your annual home EMI. This a Creative SLAM (Symmetrically Loaded Acoustic Module) subwoofer and has grilles on three sides. Most of your wires also go in here,though there are no controls here. The satellites look a bit like one of those wire-brained characters from Star Wars,but have aluminum drivers.
I said there are no controls on the subwoofer,as in most other 2.1 speakers. But there is a separate multi-functional Audio Control Pod for all that you want to do with this device. This small,mouse-like,pod is capable of connecting to NFC enabled devices with a tap. It also has Bluetooth options for the lesser devices,and even an 3.5mm auxiliary port for the others. The pod comes with an extra long cord so that you can keep the speakers away from the desktop.
The top of the pod is the volume controller and it has a nice smooth motion to it. There are also power and Bluetooth button here. At the rear of the subwoofer is a dedicated knob to get the perfect bass setting for you. As someone who does not like a whole lot of bass,I really loved this eye for detail. There is also a small remote that lets you select the source and even switch songs when you are connected wirelessly to a smart device.
I plugged the T4 into my PC which has my large song collection. It also replaced my 5.1 speaker system on the desktop. But not for one minute did I feel that the audio was lacking in anyway,especially since I had reduced the number of satellites by three. I use the desktop speakers while I am watching movies,especially some old black and white classics that I love. The 5.1 lets me listen to the dialogues without having to max the volume. The T4 let me hear the same at even lower volume levels,thanks to the amazingly crisp sound output of the satellites. I could enjoy a dialogue heavy movie like Paths of Glory,in a apartment just 100 metres away from a Metro construction site with that T4. That should give you a good idea of how good this is.
However,for some strange reason I felt the audio quality was better when it was being streamed wirelessly from my iPhone 4. Maybe the wires are killjoy after all. I tried everything from some vocal only reprise numbers to bass boosted Sean Paul numbers,purely for testing purposes. The performance really left me wondering if I really needed a 5.1 system anymore. The audio was so true and clear all through. Even at the high volumes,there is no crackling or muffling. At times I felt I could see Jimmy Hendrixs fingers move on the strings of his guitar,the music was so clear. Plus,you have the option of plugging in a headphone into the pod for a bit of private time with your music.
Should you buy it?
There is a little detail that I did not mention earlier. My 5.1 cost all of Rs 5,000. The T4 costs six times that. But despite its Rs 29,999 price tag,I recommend this to replace all the other audio devices in your home. This will do. Just take a leap,you wont regret it.