Review of Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II Computer Speakers

Perched upon many a computer desk or workstation, speakers designed specifically for desktop computing use come in many sizes, shapes, styles, and price ranges.  From the ultra-cheap and shoddy to the garish, gaudy, expensive variety, it's sometimes really difficult to choose a set.

It was a bit easier for me; over the holidays, I had a gift card to a certain big box store to blow, and I needed new speakers.  I wasn't particularly keen on travelling the globe just to find the perfect pair.  I wanted them now.  Fortunately, I happened upon these beauties by Creative that fit the bill pretty well for me, with a few caveats.


The Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II - seriously, that sounds like the code name for some outrageous military technology - are a pair of desktop speakers in the upper/middle price range, designed specifically for computing or gaming.  For $99, you get a fancy box, two speakers, and a wall plug.  What a deal!

How they Look

One thing I love about these aural delivery devices is how they look.  They're well made and just really sharp.  I can't stand when speakers look like some alien mind probe.  I also don't want a pair of giant mudcrab antennae with a gazillion tiny drivers stuffed in them staring back at me all day.  These speakers look like speakers. 

They're made of a nice plastic with a yellow woven "glass fiber" midrange driver and dome tweeter.  The housing appears matte black at first, but upon close inspection, reveals a cool sparkly blue on black - which you can see a little bit in the photo. The right driver contains the bass and treble adjustments as well as the volume control. 

If you don't like seeing them all exposed, you can attach the included grills.

Using the GigaWorks T20 Series II Speakers

Another feature I love about these speakers is how easy they are to connect and use.  You don't have to mess with miles of wires or connections, just plug 'em in, connect one speaker to the other, and go.  The controls on the right driver are simple, fully analog dials with a nice feel - a refreshing change when most everything has digital controls or buttons that (sometimes) prevent you from truly fine tuning settings.

You also get a headphone jack right on front of the speakers, a fantastic addition that makes it super easy to jam in a pair of cans when the neighbors start stomping on the floor after a long session of Pandora-listening or iTunes jamming. Creative was also kind enough to throw in an aux input, so you can play tunes or podcasts from your phone or MP3 player without any messing around.

But, how do they sound?

I have mixed feelings about how these speakers sound.  Do I like them?  Absolutely, overall, but there are several things I don't like as well.  Before I begin, let me get one thing straight: while I definitely appreciate audio (I especially love tube amps and single driver speakers) I am by no means an audiophile.  I'm not going to use any fancy terms or try to convince you that they'd sound better if the drivers were dipped in unicorn tears and the wires were twisted from the finest unobtainium.  Just the straight story from my ears; i.e., my opinion.

First of all, they get an A for "clarity."  These speakers reveal small details in a similar fashion to my home setup, and are very crisp and lively.  This is most likely due to the fact that they have dedicated tweeters.  They can get a bit shrill at high volumes, but it's easy to dial down the treble.  Listen to anything by Diana Krall to get an idea of how nice and clean these are.

The GigaWorks get a C for bass.  What they produce is mostly clear, but tends to "fart" at higher volumes.  Fortunately, I don't blast my computer speakers, so this isn't a major issue for me.  I would classify the bass style as "tight," and certainly enough to vibrate the desk a bit.  However, do not expect floor thumping bass from them.

Their best quality, in my opinion, is midrange, in which I would also rate them an A - again, with caveats.  Music such as "Santo Domingo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela and "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson really display the richness and range these speakers can deliver.  However, songs such as "Photograph" by Nickelback and "Listen to Your Friends" by New Found Glory sounded thin; small speakers (to my ears) can never really reproduce the sounds of rock/punk/etc. with the oomph that is required.



From a non-audiophile's standpoint, I'm pretty happy with the GigaWorks T20 Series II.  For the majority of what I love to listen to (house, jazz, chiptune, demoscene, and assorted pop/alternative) they sound great, with the added bonus of looking fantastic as well.  I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get the beefed up model, the T40 Series II, which adds an extra driver.  I'm guessing that significantly ups the bass these things can pump out.

All in all, are they a good value?  Not necessarily, but they sound awesome for most things.  Lovers of hip-hop, industrial, death metal, or any other music genre that is heavy on thick, thumping bass, should probably steer clear.

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