Creative's new Sound BlasterAxx range is a speaker series that combines Bluetooth with a built-in dual-microphone array, for a device design to be used for both listening to mobile music and voice communications.
At its simplest, the Sound BlasterAxx can connect to a PC via USB (which also supplies all the required power) and be used as high-quality wired speaker with a built-in mic for Skype, gaming, etc.
However, in two higher-end models — the SBX 20 and SBX 10 — the Bluetooth capability means that you can stream music from mobile devices and use the BlasterAxx as a desktop hands-free call device.
Creative has included some impressive features for voice, including echo cancellation, noise reduction, a voice focus that narrows the mics field and Smart Volume, which will keep your voice at a consistent level, even as you move around the room. All this, including the music playback quality, is aided by Creative's SB-Axx1 audio processor.
Creative has built a software suite that allows you to control the speaker from either your PC, Mac or smartphone — an app is available for both iOS and Android. The software includes a number of presets for music and video sound, as well as some stranger functions, such as Voice Effects.
The control panel on the SBX 20.
The SBX 20 is the largest of the devices, standing 410mm tall, with a 91mm base and weighing in at 1.9kg. The hexagonal device has a touch-sensitive control panel at the top for basic controls. As the flagship of the range, it commands the highest price at $249.95, with the SBX 10 retailing at $179.95 and the SBX 8 — which has no Bluetooth connectivity — $129.95
Stay tuned for a full review of the SBX 20. A Creative-produced video with Sound BlasterAxx in action can be seen below.