09 December 2008

A review of the Creative Inspire T10i speakers

Quite a while ago I reappropriated my old HTC Magician as an internet radio. The set up was a bit convoluted, but worked quite well. in the interim, however, the phone was requisitioned by my parents and I went back to listening to my internet radio on the PC. I still think this is a bit of an overkill, and there is something vaguely annoying about having to boot up my desktop to listen to a bit of streaming Christmas music. Time to come up with another solution!

While I no longer have the phone, I still do have the SanDisk WiFi SD card and indeed the bluetooth speakers. The bluetooth connection was a bit wasted though, since the only PDA I have lying around at the moment is my old hp iPAQ h2210. This has bluetooth but does not support A2DP. In truth, the Acoutic Energies don't have the best sound anyway, with rather muddy basses and wooly highs. So I figured it was time to look for a new pair of speakers.

In the end I settled on a pair of Creative Inspire T10i speakers. I have had a really good experience with Creative's before and I know that in their price range their speakers really are unparalleled. I originally wanted to get one of the fancy X-Fi speakers since the music playing out of my PDA will have been digitally compressed. Most internet radio streams run at a feeble 96kbps I believe, and it would have been great to have some of that fleshed out using the X-Fi crystallizer system. I'm not going to argue the case for X-Fi, but suffice to say that response to it is a bit subjective - I love it for digital music.

Unfortunately, X-Fi systems come at a price premium and I didn't want to spend more than fifty quid on it. I found one review of the T10is on line and it was really positive, so I figured I would give them a shot. Even so, I was heading rather blindly into the purchase. I ended up spending just under £30 for the speakers on eBay and have to say that for the price the sound really is stunningly good.

The speakers themselves aren't particularly huge but they have a tweeter and a mid-sized cone, as well as a bass port exiting at the top. The right speaker has the volume and tone control knobs, and at the back a power and audio in port. This being the T10 'i' variant, it also came with a dock for an iPhone or iPod Touch - clearly this is something I do not need. As I mentioned, I am streaming internet radio through it at the moment, and the basses are rich and punchy with clean, crisp highs and rounded mids. The sound is really beyond what one would expect for speakers in this price range. Strongly recommended and well worth it: if only because I can now listen to O Come All ye Faithful without first hearing the Windows startup sound!

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