Monday, September 22, 2014

Creative refreshes the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage series

Creative today silently updated its Sound Blaster Tactic3D USB and Wireless gaming headsets with a V2.0 version that promises compatibility with the Playstation®4 via USB. The new version also includes Scout Mode which will work in both Windows and Mac OS. 

As both versions are priced identically to Version 1.0, it is likely that Creative will progressively phase out the older models to continue selling the new ones.

The Sound Blaster Tactic3D range is designed to make PC/Mac gaming affordable and feature pack and its good to see Creative updating the product to support cross platform. In case you missed it, read our Sound Blaster Tactic3D USB review here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

COMEX deals worth getting at the Creative Booth

COMEX is here again. Creative have been actively participating in the previous few consumer electronic shows and this time it seem to be no different. We have sieved out the best deals to look out for at the Creative booth so that you would not miss out on any offer!

Sound Blaster Roar - $199

Called the "ROAR KILLER DEAL 2", it basically gives you the Sound Blaster Roar + the new Creative Woof 2 micro wireless speaker (should be an upgrade from the original Woof) for just $199. Previously, you get a free (but smaller) Creative Woof for that price. Not sure how easy it would be to get the $20 voucher, but if previous shows are of any indication, the difficulty is 1/10.

Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 - $319

If for any reason you are thinking of getting the Sound Blasteraxx AXX 200, you might want to consider getting the "BEST OF BOTH WORLDS KILLER DEAL. Basically it lets you get the Roar and Axx 200 for $160 each with a free woof 2. Not a bad deal, considering you could always give the Woof 2 away as a decent birthday or farewell gift.

Creative MUVO Mini - $49

For the budget conscious, the new MUVO mini should be right up your alley. Besides being water/dust proof, the mini has 10 hours battery life, built in mic and NFC with Bluetooth. And at $49, its wayyy cheaper than most of the similar sized competitor in the market or even the X-mini! Comes in 4 different colors, the mini will debut at the COMEX show for the first time in the ice bucket challenge (we're kidding obviously).

Aurvana in-ear3 - $99

Creative's best sounding but most understated iem is now at $99. But do note that it does not come with a line-in mic or music controls like most of the newer models. But $99 is a steal for a dual-driver earphones anyday.

SB Inferno - $49

New and dirt cheap at $49, the SB inferno has got to be the cheapest branded gaming headset at COMEX.

Sound Blaster E5 - $199

Highlighted here because of its impressive specs and the fact that it has yet to be announced. You get to save $70 if you could wait awhile by pre-ordering. This headphone amp comes with 600 ohm amplifier with 120 dB and two headphone jacks for music sharing. More information to come!

See the entire Creative COMEX brochure here:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creative T50 Wireless PC Speakers with Bluetooth and NFC

Creative certainly subscribe to the saying of not fixing something when it is not broken. Inspired by its multiple award-wining and widely popular GigaWorks T40 speaker system, the Creative T50 Wireless is "re-tuned to deliver improved high frequency performance, lower treble and bass extension."
Besides improved acoustic performance, the Creative T50 Wireless also include advanced wireless connectivity like NFC, Bluetooth with aptX for speedy pairing and high quality wireless audio streaming.
For older devices without wireless connectivity, the Creative T50 Wireless also offers Aux-in audio input which allows you to connect your audio source to the speaker via a wired connection.

Despite not having a dedicated subwoofer, the Creative T50 Wireless still delivers deep bass and enhanced lower midrange with the Creative BasXport® Technology.

Technical Specifications of Creative T50 Wireless Signature Series Speaker System
  • Weight : 4.0 kg / 8.8 lbs*
  • Left Speaker :
    Dimensions (HxWxD) : 316 x 91 x 186 mm / 12.4 x 3.6 x 7.3 inches
    Weight : 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs
    Cord Length : approx 1.5 m
  • Right Speaker :
    Dimensions (HxWxD) : 316 x 91 x 196 mm / 12.4 x 3.6 x 7.7 inches
    Weight : 1.6 kg / 3.6 lbs
  • Power Adapter Weight : 265 g / 0.58 lbs*
    Power Cable Weight : 82 g / 0.2 lbs*
    Combined Length : approx 3.3 m
  • RCA to 3.5mm Adapter
    Dimensions : (HxWxD) : 12 x 25 x 45 mm / 0.4 x 1 x 1.7 inches
    Weight : 8 g
    * Weight may differ by country. This measurement is based on product sold in Europe region.
  • Bluetooth operating frequency : 2402 – 2480MHz
  • Bluetooth Version : Bluetooth 3.0
  • Supported Bluetooth profiles : A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth1
  • Supported Codecs : SBC, aptX®
  • Operating Range for Bluetooth devices : Up to 10 meters (Measured in open space. Walls and structures may affect range of device.)
  • Supports fuss-free connections with Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled stereo Bluetooth devices
  • 3.5mm Integrated Line-In for other audio devices
  • Multiple connectivity inputs : RCA (via RCA to 3.5mm adapter), 3.5mm Line-In for a wide range of audio devices
  • Dedicated headphones jack for private listening

The Creative T50 Wireless is now available from the Creative online store for $249.  

Learn more.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hardwarezone reviews the Sound Blaster Roar, calls "Roaring good" - Singapore's leading tech portal has published what should be the first in-depth review of Creative's Sound Blaster Roar. 

The portable wireless speaker was rated highly for its value and performance with the overall rating of 9/10. 

To sum up, we found the Sound Blaster Roar to be a very competent compact wireless speaker system. Its ability to play at high volumes with no signs of cracking or distortion is particular impressive for a speaker of its class and size. In terms of audio performance, the Sound Blaster Roar offered very good clarity, smooth mids and deep, well-controlled bass. It also exhibited very good speed and dexterity.

Click here to read the complete review. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Creative's ZiiLABS files patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung and Apple

ZiiLABS Inc. - a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative today filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States against Samsung and Apple.

It alleged that both companies have infringed on 10 of ZiiLABS US patents in graphics, processor and 3D spaces in some of its product including the popular Samsung Galaxy phones, iPhone and iPods. According to Patently Apple, ZiiLABS has been in touch with Samsung's legal team since 2013 and Apple's legal team way back in 2006 on the above mentioned infringement. Yet both companies continue to willfully and deliberately infringe on ZiiLABS patents.  

This is not the first time Creative is initiating a lawsuit against Apple. In May 2006, Creative filed an injunction against Apple Computer Inc. over the use of its ZEN patent in the companies iPods. Both companies reached a settlement afew months later in August with Apple paying Creative a one time sum of USD$100 million. 

Creative must be really confident of its chances of winning in lawsuit by taking on both Apple and Samsung at the same time. If they do win, it could be a source of a much needed fund injection for the company.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Creative to preview new Sound Blaster Roar at CES 2014

The Sound Blaster Roar is targeted to be priced aggressively below US$200 and will be available in the spring of 2014.
Creative is set to preview its "heavyweight contender" in the wireless speaker category with the Sound Blaster Roar at the upcoming CES 2014. The product is said to be the product of years of research and "represents the pinnacle of portable wireless audio". The Sound Blaster Roar sets itself apart with its bi-amplified design that produces amazingly powerful and balanced lows, mids and highs.
The Sound Blaster Roar's bi-amplified design sets it apart from most other portable speakers that feature only one amplifier, allowing it to produce amazingly powerful and balanced lows, mids and highs.
Besides being an awesome sounding wireless speaker, the Sound Blaster Roar also comes with several useful features, such as speakerphone teleconferencing, a microSD slot for MP3/WMA/WAV playback and audio recording, a siren, Bedtime Mode and Life Saver Mode.
Some other features of the Sound Blaster Roar:
- The Roar button on the Sound Blaster Roar instantly and significantly boost the speaker's loudness, depth and audio spaciousness
- Integrated Voice Recorder - Allows for simple, one-touch audio recording directly to a MicroSD card, including that of phone conversations.
- Integrated WMA and MP3 Player - Plays music directly from a MicroSD Card without a smartphone.
- Additional Sound Blaster Functionality - Connecting the Sound Blaster Roar via USB to a PC and Mac enables advanced audio processing through Sound Blaster Control Panel, a downloadable software program specially designed for the speaker.

We will have more information as CES progresses so do come back again!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Creative introduces new Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 portable wireless Bluetooth speaker with all the features you can ever think of ... well, almost.

Creative today introduces its 2nd generation of its Sound BlasterAxx speaker series - the Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200. Despite the moderate success of the previous generation, Creative believes that the new AXX 200 is the gamer changer that would "radically transform the wireless speaker market".

Powered by the SB-AXX1 audio processor (the same chip found in the Sound Blaster Z-series of sound cards), the AXX 200 is a little bigger than the previous Sound BlasterAxx SBX 8 and comes with a built-in battery for portability. It also has a new grill design and a series of new features which we think are so crazy it might just work.
Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 features:
  • Supermega phone: amplify your voice with this loud hailer feature built right into the speaker
  • Super loud siren: for ... emergency use?
  • Integrated MP3 player: play music directly from your microSD card
  • Portable battery: charge your iPhone or tablets directly with the AXX 200
  • 4 microphones for teleconferencing 
  • Sound Blaster Central app for audio processing on-the-go
  • Bluetooth with NFC: for one-touch pairing
  • aptX wireless codec and AAC codec for the best wireless streaming experience 

One of the most attractive point of the AXX 200 is of course the price. With the recommended retail price at $299.99, Creative is currently selling the AXX 200 at only U$149.99. The mini Jambox and Logitech Boom are retailing at U$179.99 with a similar size Bose Soundlink Mini going at U$199.99. The AXX 200 has wayyy more features with a really sleek design that is a departure from Creative's usual black, solemn design for its speakers.

While the AXX 200 is now only available in the US, Creative is giving away 5 sets of it on its Facebook page: Win Creative Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200

Learn more about the AXX 200 here:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB Review


The Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB gaming headset is Creative's answer to an affordable gaming headset with superior audio. There is also a wireless version available which is the Tactic3D Rage Wireless.

The headset features two 16 million-color illuminated ear cups, 50mm FullSpectrum drivers and 3D Surround audio which is beyond the 7.1 audio standard.

Beyond the hardware specification, most of the audio enhancements are driven by Creative's SBX Pro Studio software. This includes the SBX Surround, Crystalizer and Bass. I will take more about each of them in detail later.

Here's what included in the package:

A closer look at the ear cup of the headset. The built-in volume control dial allows you to conveniently and accurately adjust the volume of the headset.

Comes in the box is the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB headset, a detachable microphone, quick start guide, micro USB cable and a 3.5mm  audio cable. 

The headset is enforced with a steel core to ensure durability. 

The foam cushion on the headset allows you to game comfortably for extended period of time.

All the controls are located on the right ear cup. You can attached the detachable microphone and mute it with the mute button. You can choose to input the audio through the USB cable or via the 3.5mm audio jack. 

The Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB headset with the detachable microphone intact. 

The detachable microphone's 3.5mm gold plated connector.

The 3.5mm Aux-in cable, for you to connect to your other audio devices while the headset is connected via USB.

The provided micro USB to USB cable for charging and data transfer.

One of the greatest selling point of the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage headset is the software. Powered by the SBX Pro Studio suit of audio technologies, you get to customize and enhance your audio for music listening, movie watching etc. You can download the Sound Blaster Tactic(3D) Control Panel for free from the Creative website here. The file is about 93MB and takes roughly 15 minutes to download.

For the Sound Blaster Tactic(3D) Control Panel, you would need to plug in your headset or USB dongle for the wireless version. (Do note that the software will only work with the Sound Blaster Tactic3D range of gaming headsets.) Once the control panel is active, you will be brought to the SBX Pro Studio panel to customize your Crystalizer, Surround, Bass, Dialog Plus and Smart Volume level. The SBX Pro Studio demo reel is played on loop to help to hear the difference in audio enhancements real time. 

SBX Crystalizer
Similar to the previous X-Fi Crystalizer, this helps to enhance the dynamic range of your low quality, compressed audio to give you a more realistic experience.

SBX Surround
A set of algorithm that increases and expands the virtual surround spaciousness to give you an all round 360 surround experience.

SBX Bass
SBX Bass fills extends the low frequency tones and gives the extra impact for a dramatically improved sound experience.

SBX Dialog Plus
SBX Dialog Plus enhances the voices in movies for clearer dialog, allowing the listener to hear the dialog over the rest of the soundtrack and over ambient noise in the listening environment.

SBX Smart Volume
SBX Smart Volume addresses the problem of abrupt volume level changes during playback and between songs by automatically and continuously measuring volume, and intelligently applying gain and attenuation to compensate for those changes.

With the Sound Blaster Tactic(3D) Control Panel, every aspect of your audio can be customized. In the Equalizer panel, you can choose from 10 defaults EQ or save a customized EQ settings which you like. I found that the 10 defaults EQ would probably have a setting for everyone - from the bass to vocal lovers. 

One of the most fun feature of the Sound Blaster Tactic(3D) Control Panel is arguably the Voice FX effects. At this panel, you can morph your voice on-the-fly to one of a demon, elf, orc, robot and many more. You can also adjust the pitch and quiver of each effect. That's alot of customization for one single feature!
SB Prism allows you to customize the color of the 16 million-color illuminated ear cups. Some of you might encounter some difficulty in getting the ear cups to change color like me. To solve this problem, close the software and re-run it by right-clicking on the icon and "Run as administrator". 

"Look ma, it glows!"

At U$79.99, the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB cost as little as the Razer's Kraken Pro, yet provide a complete suit of software and illuminated ear cups for full customization. Even when not connected to a PC or Mac, the Rage headset also works as a passive headphones via the included 3.5mm audio cable (without the audio enhancement of the SBX Pro Studio of course). There is little to dislike about the headset but if I really needed to nit pick, more could have been done to increase the comfort of the headset. Wearing it for a prolong period of time would cause your ears to heat up. 

There are also many nice touches done in the packaging like the red velvet tray that holds the headset firmly in the box and the red beaded cable that is tangle free and doesn't feel as cheap as the normal bundled ones. 

The Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB gamin headset is now available from the Creative Online Store.