Review: JBL Creature II Speakers

A good speaker system for school or office (December 15th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Harman International Industries, Inc.

Price: MSRP $99.95 US

The Good

  • Easily connects to your Mac or iPod. Makes a design statement.

The Bad

  • Control sensors on the right were not as responsive as I would like. It is difficult to quickly mute the system. Graphics indicating direction of adjustment for bass and treble are incorrect. Bass and treble controls on subwoofer.

Want to delight someone with a gift that reflects your good taste and holiday spirit? JBL Multimedia's stylish Creature II three-piece speaker system improves the sound coming out of your iPod, Mac, or PC and enhances music, gaming, or movies. Shaped like Darth Vadar's helmet, the two small 3" satellite speakers are powered by the Harman Multimedia Odyssey Plus transducer This full range transducer, designed specifically for extremely small speaker enclosures, provides significant mid bass ranges. (The transducer converts electrical energy into acoustical energy.)

The subwoofer is 9" high and incorporates the Magnum series subwoofer transducer for deep bass. This Magnum series of subwoofers are designed specifically to match with the Harman Multimedia Odyssey Plus transducers. Unlike the speakers, the subwoofer's sound is non-directional so it may be placed anywhere. Like the speakers, the subwoofer is magnetically shielded and while it may be located on the desktop, deep bass tones may cause unwelcome vibrations on the desktop or computer monitor

Easy to Set Up

Setting up the Creature II series speakers is very straightforward. The ports are color-coded and labeled on the underside of the subwoofer. Connect the left and right speakers, plug the mini-stereo-jack into the headphone position on your computer or iPod, plug in the power adapter, and push the power button on the back of the subwoofer. You know everything is connected properly as a small light glows underneath each of the speakers and out of the back of the subwoofer. Connected to my Macintosh G4 with the standard Apple audio-board, the Creature II system provided good sound though it was not as loud or bright as it was when driven by my Photo iPod.

Light Touch Required

Volume is controlled by lightly tapping or pressing the plus and minus buttons on the right speaker. If you touch a button for more than half a second, it causes the volume to step up or down more rapidly. To mute the system, press both the + and - buttons simultaneously. Touching either button when muted restores the previous volume level. The On and Off switch is at the back of the subwoofer, which means that you should never place that unit entirely out of reach. You adjust the bass and treble levels with two aluminum knobs on the subwoofer. The adjustments need to be made however, in the direction opposite than is indicated on the system. It's disorienting at first, but as one tends to make these adjustments by ear, it's not that important a graphic error, yet a strange one.

While the Creature II System reproduces most music well, it works best at moderate loudness levels. It definitely is better than most of the portable sound systems with built-in iPod docks. If you don't need portability, this is the perfect sound system gift for most kids. You only need to add a dock for a good iPod sound system. The Creature II is available in holiday cherry red, basic black, white, and aluminum (silver).

Specifications

  • Input Impedance: >5k Ohms
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >80dB
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz
  • Input Sensitivity: 400MV RMS for rated power
  • Voltage Input: 120 VAC
  • Satellite
  • Drivers: One Odyssey +tm transducer
  • Power Rating: 8 Watts per satellite at 10% (THD+N)
  • Dimensions: (H x W x D) 2-3/4" x 3" x 3" (70mm x 75mm x 75mm)
  • Subwoofer
  • Drivers: One 4" Magnum® transducer
  • Power Rating: 24 Watts at 10% (THD+N)
  • Crossover Frequency: 180Hz
  • Dimensions: (H x W x D) 9" x 9" x 9" (230mm x 230mm x 230mm)


Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by P.A.M. Borys


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