Yesterday I bought a pair of loudspeakers at a flea market. They only cost me 90 SEK; that’s approximately 10 USD. It’s a pair of Creative Inspire T10 2.0 speakers. That particular model has been around for a decade now but is still in production; a pair of new speakers cost 400 SEK (45 USD). Creative is a well known brand, making high quality speakers for PC computers. The Inspire line of products are supposedly part of Creative’s low-end catalogue. However, the T10 are often compared to Creative’s high-end Gigaworks line of speakers, such as the T20s and T40s, like being a low-end entry level product of Creative’s high-end speakers. The T10s have been generally well received and popular as a affordable alternative for a PC stereo system. Being a 2.0 system, this means that there is no availability to connect a subwoofer to the system (that would have designated them 2.1). Instead, the speakers themselves provide for the bass levels, being a two way speaker system with a bass reflex port for the lowest frequencies. Each speaker is specified for 5W RMS per channel, with a frequency response of 80-20,000 Hz. The speakers are all made of plastic but the build quality seems allright. Each speaker has two active elements, a larger 3″ for bass and mid-range, and a 1″ tweeter for the high-range or treble. On the speaker’s top, there is a hole for the vented bass reflex port. The right speaker also houses the electronics and amplifier, having two knobs, one for the power and volume, and one for tone control. A green LED lights when the power is on. On its side, the right speaker also has one auxillary in and one headphones out 3.5 mini-jack socket. On its back there are three sockets, a line-out for left speaker and one green line-in 3.5 mini-jack from the PC sound board, and one jack for AC power. Each speaker measures 90 × 137 × 194 mm and has a 75 mm bass/mid-range driver housed at the bottom of the speaker box, which is magnetically shielded. The finish is quite pleasant and black, with the exception of the elements which are in silver grey.
The T10 speaker system is now an integrated part of our Workstation. I have placed each speaker at the ends of the large Panasonic monitor, the left one being concealed behind the smaller Philips screen. Obviously not an ideal placement, but necessary considering the cramped environment of our workplace. They sound allright together, regardless, at least in the mid-range. Listening to rock’n’roll music feels quite involving. Treble sounds o.k. but lacks some in detail (listening to the soundtrack of my The XmasTree Hunt, one of the drone soundscapes in the background of the main music sountrack was somewhat indistinct). Bass is quite good, for such a set of small speakers, but not impressive (on that same movie, I could hear the low frequencies of one of the drone tracks quite well). I have the tone control somewhat set beyond the middle position (which clicks in), towards a higher treble (approximately halfway between the middle postion and full right), to open up the high tones. Also, when turning the volume knob, one hears a distinct distortion, as it had a loose connection, and sometimes the left channel dies away while turning the knob on low volumes, sometimes not. But compared to the speakers of the Panasonic televison set, the T10s has improved the sound of our workstation manifold. I also like that I may connect a set of headphones to the right speaker, which is free from any distortions (in contrast to the headphone connections on the front of our computer) according to my son; we no longer have to connect the headphones to the back of the PC tower (where the speakers system now is jacked in). I also like how the plastic power AC adapter is fitted with small cooling fins, considering that such a device often can become quite hot. All in all, a quite substantial upgrade of our workstation, audiowise, especially when one considers the low price, which basically is a steal. Here one must remember that both speakers were in mint condition with no visible scratches at all; it seems that they are of late manufacture.