Creative offers an impressively wide range of PC, iPod, and multimedia speakers--at least 20, by our count. But we were drawn to the company's GigaWorks T40, a set of unusually tall (12.5 inches) stereo PC speakers that retail for less than $150. The slender but deep desktop speakers boast a pair of woven glass-fiber cones and a soft dome tweeter, decked out in the classic midrange/tweeter/midrange array. The drivers are impressive--higher quality than we normally expect in this price class. The GigaWorks T40 is big enough to sound good with music, movies, and games, and its compact 4.5-by-6-inch footprint won't hog too much desktop space. Just be sure you're OK with speakers that will almost be as tall as your PC monitor.
The GigaWorks T40 system consists of a pair of 12.5-inch tall desktop speakers. The rounded black plastic cabinets with glossy metallic gray baffles are hardly beauty-contest winners, but the design is tastefully done. The right speaker is easily distinguished from the left because it's the one with volume, bass, and treble controls. Better yet, instead of up/down buttons, the GigaWorks T40 has knobs, so it's easy to set the exact volume and tonal balance. And since the tone controls are conveniently placed, we frequently used them to fine-tune the sound when we changed between CDs and DVDs. The fronts of both speakers are canted back to project sound up toward the listener. On the top of each speaker you'll find a bass-enhancing "BasXPort."
The system comes with a 2-meter stereo audio cable with 3.5mm jacks and a stereo 3.5mm-to-RCA adapter that you could use to hook up a TV or DVD player to the GigaWorks T40. Plug the cable (or the adapter) into the jack on the rear of the right speaker, and run the cable to your PC--or anything else with a headphone or line-out jack.
Alternatively, you could plug that wire into an iPod, portable DVD player, or anything else with a headphone jack. The jack for the optional Creative Docking Station X-30 for iPods is on the rear of the right speaker. There's also a connector for the wire that goes to the left speaker and a connector for the separate DC power supply. The headphone jack is upfront, under the volume control. Unfortunately, the power switch is on the back. It's easy enough to toggle it by feel while reaching behind, but mounting it on the front would've been preferred. Another gripe: We found the right speaker's bright blue LED to be quite distracting, plus there's no way to dim it or turn it off. You may want to stick a small piece of electrical tape over it if it becomes more of a headache.