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Creative Labs Inspire T3000 Review

Okay, okay, I admit I’m biased in favor of these speakers. But for a 2.1 system, “cost-effective” takes on a whole new meaning.

For those of you confused about the whole 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, surround sound deal, here’s a quick breakdown. A 2.0 speaker system consists of two speakers. That’s it. Usually they are powered, meaning you plug them into a power socket because they have a built-in amplifier. For general computing and educational needs, 2.0 systems are more and enough.

A 2.1 speaker system consists of two powered speakers and a subwoofer. A subwoofer is a big box that reproduces the low bass in songs like Pachabel’s Canon, or the latest from Snoop Dogg. The Inspire T3000 from Creative Labs is such a system, but it has select qualities that make it more appealing than a standard 2.1 system.

For those looking for a theater-like experience, sound systems of 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 are all available. Again, the digit before the point refers to the number of speakers, and the .0 or .1 indicates whether or not a subwoofer is present. For true surround sound I recommend the 7.1 systems, but that’s another review.

Back to the Inspire T3000. There are several things that set this system apart from the competition. First off, most 2.1 systems provide a subwoofer, but not a tweeter. What the heck is a tweeter, you say? A tweeter reproduces the high frequency sound, just as the subwoofer enhances the low frequency sound. In the Inspire T3000, each speaker is built with a mid-level speaker and its own tweeter. This produces rich sound on a full spectrum. (~40Hz – 20kHz)

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But that’s not really enough to set it apart one its own. There are other 2.1 systems available with built in tweeters.

What I like about the Inspire T3000 is that you can manually adjust not only the main volume, but the intensity of the bass. Bass has a tendency to travel through objects and make them vibrate. At night, I want to listen to music, but not wake the person sleeping in the next room. So a quick touch to the dial does the trick. But in a party during the day, I want big bass noise. Another quick touch and it’s done. You may ask, don’t all good 2.1 system come with a bass adjust? Sure, but very few have both the volume adjust and bass adjust built into a wired remote.

The speakers also come with metal stands so having them as traditional speakers on a desktop, or mounting them on the wall is as easy as 1-2-3.

Another handy gadget in the box is a RCA-to-stereo connector. It’s that thing most video-game consoles use to input the video and sound. The connector is just for sound, but then again, this is a speaker system, not a T.V.

This Inspire T3000 is great for the college dorm room or home-office. Nobody needs a surround sound in their room, especially if you have a roommate. Just be careful not to turn the volume all the way up, with these powerful speakers I’ve never had to turn to the highest setting (even halfway is pushing it). They are quite a bundle. You can easily connect this system to a laptop, desktop and even a CD-player or iPod, basically anything with a ¼” sound jack.

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For a high-quality system such as this, most people expect to pay upwards of $80. Don’t worry; the list price of this set on Amazon a few months ago was $70. But now you can purchase the Inspire T3000 for only $45.95 on Amazon and $35.00 at eBay express. At those prices, this system is a steal.

Technical Specifications from Creative Feature Description Speaker Power 6 Watts RMS per channel (2-channels)
17 Watts RMS subwoofer Frequency Response 40Hz ~ 20kHz Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) 80dB Satellite Speaker Dimensions 9.5cm x 7.7cm x 16.8cm (L x W xH) Subwoofer Dimensions 18.0cm x 17.3cm x 26.0cm Wired Remote Control 8.2cm x 4.0cm x 2.1cm