Posted by Thomas
McGuire on March 14, 2002
prices or the complete speakers
going into DVD Audio quality it is of course always worth
mentioning that this is also dependant on the decoder used.
For this I used PowerDVD
XP & the AC-3 decoding capability of the SoundBlaster
Audigy (As discussed on the page linked to).
I used to test the SW320 were The Matrix, Saving Private
Ryan, Pearl Harbour, Seven, Clear & Present Danger,
Bridget Jones (Thanks Jennifer, bah) & Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon. With regard to Pearl Harbour I even setup the
PC in our living room to allow the family to see it, while I
had to increase the volume a bit to fill the room better my
family were all happy with the sound during playback
wise playback was fairly good with both decoders in 2
Speaker mode & the subwoofer would give out a nice
powerful bass output where youíd expect it to be felt,
e.g. explosions. Of course as you can probably guess
depending on the films you prefer to watch you might get a
better experience with a 4.1/5.1 system, e.g. those who like
action films such as The Matrix would be better off with a
5.1 system than those who prefer to watch dramas.
the SW320 is perhaps better suited to more casual DVD users
than those who intend to use it a lot.
I tested out with the SW320 were Operation Flashpoint, Max
Payne, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault & Deus Ex.
quality in Games was ok & as mentioned strong bass
output was also a benefit, in some Games more than others
though. As youíre probably well aware, most FPS Games
(Particular Multiplayer ones) tend to have weapon supremacy
based on bass strength, e.g. Pistol V Rocket Launcher. For
those who prefer Single player Games though youíll
probably not find the strength of the bass output to be of
as good a benefit as in Multiplayer games & thankfully
the Speakers do reproduce Audio of good quality for the most
part. That said in some Games with the Audigy I did notice a
fairly big difference by changing the speaker system, e.g.
after replacing the SW320 with the Inspire 5300 5.1 in Max
Payne I immediately noticed that I could hear bullets
ricocheting off the walls. Whether or not this was a
Driver/positioning problem with the Audigy (whose 2 Speaker
output mode isnít all that great) was hard to tell.
said though, with the fairly widespread support of 3D Audio
in Games now you should find a more rewarding experience
from getting a slightly more expensive 4.1 Speaker system
than this 2.1 system thanks to better positional Audio.
Another point to consider regarding this though is how well
your Soundcard performs in Speaker mode. Myself Iíve found
the CS4630/4624 Soundcards, e.g. Game Theater XP or
give good quality 2 Speaker output, whereas the Creative
SoundBlaster Live & Audigy arenít as good at 2 Speaker
up Gaming impressions with the SW320 would perhaps be best
left at something along the lines of this Ė Good bass
strength & decent quality playback though for best
positional Audio seek a 4.1/5.1 Speaker system instead.
a bit lacking in quality.
Gaming performance highly dependant on the Soundcard,
particularly for 3D Audio.
Creative SoundWorks SW320 is a decent 2.1 Speaker system
though as far as Iím concerned those of you looking for a
cheap system to play Games with may well want to look
elsewhere unless you have a CS4630/4624 based Soundcard,
e.g. Santa Cruz or Game Theater XP (Weíve reviewed several
here) which offer the best 2 Speaker mode in current
Soundcards (No, Aureal Soundcards donít count anymore ;))
as compared to the Audigy, Live! & Philips PSC 70x
Soundcards at least.
of you looking for a cheap 2.1 system for mainly music
playback should find this to serve your needs well enough
though, but it would pay to check around too of course.
Labs Product: SoundWorks SW320
prices or the complete speakers