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JBL Creature III review

Expert Reviews Staff
18 Jan 2010
Our Rating 
(

After a little tweaking of your Mac's output, you'll be very happy with the sounds the Creature pumps out.

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Specifications

JBL's Creature speakers have long been one of the most peculiar and pleasantly eye-catching designs around. This 34W, 2.1 desktop speaker system lives up to its name more than ever before, with tentacular legs at the corners of the subwoofer and satellite speakers that curl back underneath themselves in an organic fashion.

The subwoofer's footprint has shrunk slightly but the satellites have grown, however you'd have to be hard-pressed for space for it to make a difference. They no longer emit light from their underbelly, which is a positive change if you plan to watch iTunes rentals from across a dimly lit room. The right satellite still sports touch-sensitive volume controls that no longer click on contact.

At the subwoofer's back is a logical arrangement of ports, not that you're in danger of mixing up the left and right speakers due to their different plugs. There's a 3.5mm analogue input and a connection for the external power supply, also improved from a floor-standing brick of the first model to a self-contained mains plug.

We would have liked JBL to extend the visual theme with a purposely designed cable tie in case you place the subwoofer on top of a desk. The power button is located among the ports, which isn't a big deal if you can reach the mains socket, but it would have been better positioned on the front side to make it easier to reach.

Two dials on the subwoofer's front adjust bass and treble. Set to the midpoint, the sound was reasonable if a little heavy on the bass, but noticeably lacking in the midtones. We resorted to iTunes' equaliser, starting with the Small Speaker preset that worked wonders with older models. However, we had to pull the bass of that preset back again, but the raised midtones did the job.

Spend a little time adjusting your Mac's audio output and you'll be very happy with the Creature III. However, the Creature II can still be snapped up online for as little as £60. For a significant saving of 40%, we think you'll be just as happy with them.

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