Creative Inspire 6700 6.1 Speakers review


The Inspire 6700s are the first 6.1 capable PC speaker system to be available in the market. Touted as the ‘perfect companion’ for Creative’s own Audigy 2 soundcard, these new Inspire’s resemble somewhat what we have seen before from systems in the same line-up but with some added value (see our previous review of the Inspire 5300 5.1 system).

The most obvious addition is the rear centre channel that takes full advantage of Audigy 2 features and grants you some Dolby Digital® Surround EX support, however what makes this more interesting is CMSS (Creative Multi-Speaker System) that is said to up-mix surround to 6.1 channels when used with a 5.1 sound card. While this can be considered a value oriented system (not to be compared with more expensive MegaWorks or Klipsch systems), Creative has also done upgrades in the subwoofer and is packing a new front centre channel that is more powerful than the rest of speakers.

I suppose one of the most common questions among the people reading this is going to be, what kind of improvement resulted from the 5.1 to 6.1 jump? We tested with both 5.1 and 6.1 cards to give you a fair answer. Read on and find out.


Installation & Connectivity

Having reviewed many speaker systems by now, setting up the new Inspire’s wasn’t much of a hassle. I took everything out of the box, attached the mountings to the satellites, positioned the speakers and connected them to the Subwoofer.

As I’m used doing nowadays, I attached a strip of Velcro to the front center channel and then placed it on the top of the monitor (this would secure the satellite in place & should lower the chance of it falling off “accidentally”). Finally I positioned the remote controller near the Monitor for easy access to master volume & bass adjustments.

As seems to be par for the course of the Creative Labs’ systems I’ve tested since the DTT 2500, no stands are included for the rear satellites (3 in this case), so if you need to add some vertical height to those satellites you’ll need to buy compatible stands, available separately at the Creative Labs website. This omission does of course keep the systems price down.

Connectivity wise, the Inspire 6700 offers 3 analog inputs for connecting to your soundcard: one for the front speakers, another for the rear speakers and a single jack for the two centres plus the subwoofer.
This is how I connected both the Audigy & Audigy 2 to the system using the supplied triple stereo line-in cable. Those of you using a different 6-channel soundcard might need an adapter for the single Centres/Subwoofer input, as would be the case of the Game Theater XP, whose rack features separate Centre and Subwoofer outputs.

The way you have to connect the Rear center output is another matter though; those of you using a SoundBlaster Live! 5.1, Audigy 1/2, Extigy, nForce*, Philips Acoustic Edge and several others don’t have to worry about this however beyond the Audigy 2, I don’t own any other 6.1 (or greater) capable soundcards so I’m not quite sure about connectivity issues you may experience when trying to couple the Inspire system with other soundcard.

One nice addition to the package was including a headphone connection on the Remote controller which should be quite useful for some. I gave the headphone output a quick testing with my Aiwa HP-X222’s and it worked as expected, muting the speakers when connected and having the volume controlled by the remote control.

*Depends on the model.

You can read full system specifications on next page, if you want to skip that, click here.

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