Creative i-Trigue L3800 review
For all the impressive-sounding technology, we were a little disappointed by the performance of the L3800
Review Date: 18 Apr 2006
Price when reviewed: (£65.10 ex VAT)
Reviewed By: Kenny Hemphill
The i-Trigue L3800 is a 2.1 speaker system from Creative. It's neatly designed and won't take up too much room on your desk, although you'll need plenty of room underneath it for the sub-woofer.
The speakers themselves are made from a combination of plastic and brushed aluminium and connect to the sub-woofer using cables long enough to place them on opposite ends of even the longest desk, giving plenty of stereo separation. Creative claims that the size of the soundstage filled by the L3800 is enhanced by its proprietary Lateral Firing Transducers, mid-range side-firing drivers, one of which resides in each speaker. Another impressive-sounding technology is NeoTitanium micro drivers, which Creative says provides the kind of clear highs and rich detail that most other desktop speaker systems can't match.
Two amplifiers in each satellite supply an impressive 48W RMS total power (9W per channel in the satellites and 30W from the sub), which is loud enough to upset the neighbours should you venture past the mid-point on the volume control.
Speaking of controls, the L3800 comes with two. There's a wire controller that connects to the sub-woofer, and allows you to set the volume of the satellites and the sub independently. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and auxiliary input, so you could plug in your iPod if you wanted to. The other controller is an infrared remote about the size of a credit card that enables you to mute, change volume, and control a Creative Zen MP3 player.
For all the impressive-sounding technology, we were a little disappointed by the performance of the L3800. It's certainly loud, and the sub-woofer supplies enough thud to scare the life out of you if you find yourself playing Stubbs the Zombie late at night. However, listening to music showed up clear deficiencies in these speakers. Bass was generally ill-defined and muddy, while treble and mid-range frequencies lacked punch and crispness.
These points could be overlooked if the L3800 was a budget or even mid-priced speaker system. But it's not: this is the top of Creative's i-Trigue range and costs £76 at even the cheapest online retailer; you could get a good set of 2.0 powered speakers for the same price. Even for playing games and watching movies, we'd opt for the JBL Creature II over the L3800. It's good, but just not good enough.
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