Creative’s T20s have been a stalwart of the PC speaker market ever since they arrived nearly ten years ago. Only revised once since then, they remain one of the best speaker sets you can buy for under $100. Their appeal starts with a simple but attractive design. They’re made from plastic, but have a decent heft to them, and the simple tall shape, yellow speaker cone and front cloth cover work well together to create a great look. Also, you can remove the cloth covers if you prefer the look of exposed speakers.
They’re also surprisingly large. Measuring 88 x 143 x 230mm, they dwarf most other stereo speakers in this price league, although they’re also much smaller than the Edifier R2000DB’s speakers. As well as being well built, another feature that marks these speakers out as being a step up from cheaper models is that nearly all the cables are removable, rather than tethered. The only permanently attached cable is the one that links the left speaker to the right one, which is secured to the left speaker and connects to the right speaker via a phono plug.
In terms of features, the T20s are simple, but have just the right combination of extras to make them effortless to integrate into your everyday computing audio setup. All the action happens in the right speaker. On the rear is the main 3.5mm audio jack input, along with the mains power and phono output for the left speaker. Meanwhile, on the front, you’ll find a second 3.5mm input that’s ideal for use with a smartphone, plus a headphone output that automatically mutes the speakers when a jack plug is inserted in it.
This setup means that you can plug an alternative audio source into the speakers, or switch to headphones, without unplugging any connectors or rummaging under a desk or behind your PC to find the right cable. There’s also a trio of control knobs. The first acts as a combined volume and power knob, which also adjusts headphone volume. Meanwhile, the other two knobs adjust the bass and treble. The volume knob also has a glowing blue light around it when the speakers are powered up.
Each speaker contains a bass driver and tweeter, and each speaker is rated to 14W RMS, for a total of 28W RMS – it’s a relatively modest output compared to hi-fi gear, but it’s still plenty for daily desktop use. What’s more, when it comes to sound quality, these speakers handle just about any task you throw at them. They have plenty of power, with strong bass and masses of mid-range warmth. This frequency response makes them ideal for listening to indie, pop, rock, metal, jazz and more.
What they lack is a deep, sub-bass thud that brings hip hop, drum and bass, and other bass-driven electronic music to life, as well as impacts in games and moves. They can deliver the bass sound without it breaking up, but not with the power of a dedicated sub, and not without cranking up the overall volume uncomfortably high either. They also lack that last bit of highend detail, so denser music can lose a little clarity. However, the sound on offer here is exceptional for the asking price. The audio quality from the T20s is satisfying, but there’s still plenty of room for greater detail to be gained from more expensive speakers.
The Creative Gigaworks T20 Series II remains one of the best choices of stereo speaker sets. They look good, are well made, and deliver power, detail and a generally satisfying listening experience for just under $100. You’ll get better quality if you’re willing to spend more money, of course, but this is a cracking speaker set for the price.