Looking for a high quality and solid performing audio setup for your gaming rig or movies? Don’t bother looking past Creative. You just so know your purchase isn’t going to be in vain when opting for audio solutions available from Creative Labs. Creative have established themselves well in the field of audio technology offering top end solutions as well as other decent great value products such mp3 players, webcams and other peripherals.
We’re going to take a look at the GigaWorks ProGamer G550W wireless 5.1 speaker system, and as the name suggests, this indeed is a model up from the ProGamer 500 (Which we also reviewed here).
Being a wireless system there are still many wires included in the package. You also get stands for each speaker. Stickers are also provided along with rubber feet to apply to the speakers.
“Creative is the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products for the personal computer (PC) and the Internet. Creative was founded in Singapore in 1981 with the vision that multimedia would revolutionize the way people interact with their PCs.
Famous for its Sound Blaster sound cards and for launching the multimedia revolution, Creative is now driving digital entertainment on the PC platform with products like its highly acclaimed ZEN line of digital audio players. The company’s innovative hardware, proprietary technology, applications and services enable consumers to experience high-quality digital entertainment-anytime, anywhere.”
- Speaker Power: 36 Watts RMS per channel (5 channels)
- Subwoofer Power: 130 Watts RMS
- Frequency Response: 35Hz ~ 20kHz
- Signal to Noise ratio: 85dB
As you can see the specs are much the same as the ProGamer G500. In fact everything is basically the same with the exception of the control pod and the fact that this system is wireless. Now you may be thinking “wow, wireless speakers” – which of course is natural but the only wireless speakers in this setup are the rear speakers and that’s logical seeing as the front speakers would be situated near the subwoofer anyway.
No difference is seen here in the speaker design. You are provided again, with the sleek and professional look each one of them retains. You can remove the grill on the front if you so wish to. The choice is yours.
Those of you who do plan on keeping the grill attached to the speakers needn’t worry thanks to the rubber studs and sponge cushioning to avoid any vibration noise. Also don’t forget that you’re protecting the speakers this way too.
The giant subwoofer looks identical to the one supplied with the ProGamer G500. There are two port holes on the sides for air to shift through upon bass drive. It weighs quite a bit too.
The rear of the subwoofer has a similar layout to the one provided with the ProGamer G500. The 15 pin female connector you seen on the back is where the ‘wireless transmitter’ is connected. All speaker connections are made via standard speaker cable clips. Also note the ‘THX’ stamp at the bottom.
The control unit is also the wireless transmitter. Overall the unit has a cool visual appeal and is rather sleek. A volume control knob is located on the top and pressing it cycles it through the various adjustment modes for bass, rear speakers, centre and so on. The power button as well as the line-in and headphone ports are also located on the front of the device.
The wireless receiver is rather large but not too space demanding. There is a light located on the front of the unit which lights up a nice bright blue when everything is up and running. The rear speakers plug into this receiver.
The rear of the receiver is where all connections are made. Speakers are connected to the relevant clips and the power lead is also found to go here. A power switch is also located on the device.
It’s a good thing the remote control provided with the package isn’t that of the usual type with flat buttons. Though it’s a cheap and very plasticky remote the buttons do feel good and you can ‘actually’ tell when the buttons are being depressed during use.
Just to get an understanding of the size of the subwoofer look how large it is in comparison to one from the Creative I-Trigue 5600. Clearly there is a huge difference. Also let us point out the subwoofer is considerably heavier too which is to be expected for a performance powerhouse.
Testing & Performance
Since this setup is practically the same as the ProGamer G500 we will be using similar tests first of all by connecting the G550W to the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic soundcard.
Far Cry with latest patch
Far Cry is a very detailed game and it’s a game with a fairly decent artificial intelligence engine. Enemies will run up behind you, duck, cover and manoeuvre around obstacles quite realistically. It is for this reason we have decided to test out the 5.1 workings of the G550W over this new wireless system. The variety of weapons available in Far Cry provide a very deep and realistic sound so the delivery of bass must be accurate enough to show this yet not drowning out any other minute crisps. We’re happy to say that even on the G550W the results are the same as the G500. The sound quality is immensely high and especially since we’ve hooked the system up to a Xi-Fi soundcard it all pays off. The response of the rear speakers is truly amazing if you consider the amount of high quality audio which needs to be sent over the 2.4GHz frequency which the system operates on.
Half-Life 2 is definitely visually appealing with its unique Source engine and fantastic physics this instalment was a big success. Despite the countless number of delays and bugs which still exist today, it is a game that many people have much enjoyed especially as Counter Strike: Source was bundled with it. The atmospheric changes which take place in this game is a very good test on the speakers since they have the task of reproducing sounds which truly make you feel that you are indeed in a long hallway or closed off room. Since the physics in the Half-Life 2 are a lot more life like you will hear the sounds of many objects clashing as they are thrown, shot at, or propelled through the air by explosions. The G550W has no problem in this situation. You will hear all the sounds you need to and crisp at that. The incredibly accurate delivery of bass is also just truly amazing.
Listening to music or watching movies on this setup – much like the G500 – is a remarkable experience. With the power the G550W provides it is more than enough to rock your room, believe us. The amount of bass generated by the monster-like subwoofer is truly staggering and incredibly accurate. Unlike other systems which do provide a good amount of vivacity the G550W (and G500) provides bass far more accurately and it is thrown across very well. You don’t notice other sounds become muffled by over enthusiasm of the subwoofer which means you can turn this system up loud while maintaining the detail.
As a THX certified system it’s not really a surprise to find this setup delivering the way it does. And to carry a THX logo it means this system has no doubt been through a rigorous test to meet with the THX standard. Despite being designed to meet with the standard in all honesty it is still a very lovely looking audio system.
We do have a few gripes with the G550W however, listening to anything at low volume isn’t really all that great on these speakers. If you don’t want to disturb someone close by for example and just want to kick back to an mp3 you’ll need to turn the speakers up a notch just to get the clarity otherwise what you will notice is when the speakers are used at low volume you can’t seem to ‘fully’ hear the audio track. Another thing is the control pod, it’s nice to have a bit of visual reference when your adjusting volume levels individually with that bright LED that shifts place each time you click the volume button but the text doesn’t light up at all so in the dark you don’t know what your adjusting unless you remember what position the LED corresponds to. There are still too many wires which end up plaguing your desk area despite being a wireless setup. You will end up with more wires wherever you decide to place the rear speakers.
Everything else minus the wireless receiver looks great. It’s a shame the receiver isn’t at all pleasing to look at. It’s just a big lump of plastic that will have to sit near your rear speakers whether you like it or not. The only cool factor is the bright status light which lights up either red or blue to indicate that the system may be in standby or you’ve plugged your earphones into the control pod.
Seeing as the G550W is basically the G500 served with wireless dressing the performance you can expect is the same. You still get a fantastic sounding system with enough power to rock the room. Adding these speakers to your system for gaming, movies or whatever reason you will, you won’t be disappointed and you’ll find that those past experiences are a whole lot more enjoyable with the capabilities of the G550W. Of course the big thing about the G500W is the fact that it is wireless and so you are no longer tethering your rear speakers to your subwoofer. And because the system operates on a 2.4GHz wireless frequency you have a much larger range to work with. Overall we’re pleased with the G550W, it is a powerhouse just like its predecessor with the benefit of wireless. If you want a rock solid performing audio system at the same time as wanting a more flexible speaker arrangement then the G550W is the perfect choice.