Creative Apt-X S2, D5 and T12 Mini Review.
I thought I would write a little review/impressions of these three Creative Apt-x Bluetooth speakers I own incase anyone is looking for further information about these type of speakers, what can be expected or help narrowing down the choice.
My first purchase was the D5.
I chose the D5 as I wanted an all-in-one speaker that was portable for taking on holidays. I actually invested in one of those backpack camera bags whereby you can sort the insides of the foam so that it would nestle inside neatly. This served that purpose really well. Although not battery powered (i'm not convinced many speakers perform well under the sole power of batteries) these are a decent solution for someone who wants to take sound with them on the move.
It came free with both the BT-D1 and BT-D2 (the necessary Apt-x transmitter, both valued at $50 each), and rightly so as the price I paid for it was $379!
They are still a favorite of mine, the bass is there and the compactness is decent, but they are expensive, I can't help feel for that price you might find something better elsewhere (at the time it was quite rare to find an apt-x bluetooth speaker at all, but they seem to be more common place today. I saw three rather expensive samsung docks in a store the other day ranging from $400-600 for example, it might be worth spending another $50 and getting something alot better than the D5 for example).
Here are the three samsung i saw.
My next purchase was the S2's.
I grabbed these for $79 and again received a free BT-D1 and BT-D2 transmitter.
For this price these are a real bargain. I would recommend these for anyone wanting to test Apt-x Bluetooth without spending a fortune on a gamble.
To my ears there is not much sound difference between these and the D5, both can go pretty loud and the subwoofer has a bass knob which helps control distortion etc.
The major draw back for these of course is the size/placement. I had these sitting on my kitchen shelf/bench but the subwoofer was kinda annoying and taking up too much bench space. It's not very portable (like the D5's), but bang for buck these do an ok job.
Next up i tried the T12's.
These were the most disappointing of all, for $129 I thought I would get something a little better. I thought I might be able to replace my S2's in the kitchen with something more compact, but the volume or bass or really any good sound quality just isn't there.
Another annoying trait is it doesn't come with standby mode like the D5 and S2 do. Lemme explain:
My current method of using all three speakers was to have the usb transmitters (BT-D1) inserted (all of them) in a usb hub that has buttons to activate which usb port to turn on/off. I then simply label each hub point to which speaker the BT-D1 is paired with. So then if i want music to stream from the computer to the Bathroom I push the button on the usb hub that correlates to that area of the house. Then all i have to do is select in foobar (my music player of choice) which audio device to use for playback (Creative BT-D1) and immediately sound is streaming to that area. This was a nice feature that made things painless. I simply push the button on the usb hub, then select playback method (can apply a hotkey to bring up the menu to make things quicker) and voila sound is streaming.
No need to go to the speaker and switch it on, once the BT-D1 usb transmitter is 'on' it wakes up the speaker and they are repaired once again (without actually having to go through the pairing process).
The same can be said for the S2's.
However with the T12's there is no standby mode, you have to turn the volume/power knob on first and then switch/insert the BT-D1, just a slight annoyance, and with a price tag higher than the S2's you wouldn't think that you'd have to do this extra step.
Although the D5 speaker was $379, i did receive $100 worth of transmitters for free, so I look at this price a little less than $379 for the actual unit. This is something to consider when purchasing an apt-x bluetooth speaker. The speaker may well support apt-x, but so must the transmitter/device. Yes apt-x is becoming more common place in today's tech but just make sure yer device supports it otherwise you will need a dongle solution. I think the galaxy S3 has it, but S2 doesn't, ipad2 doesn't, not sure about ipad3 etc
The D5 has a very decent sq>size/compact ratio. I have heard a few docks of this size and also priced not far from that, but they don't come close to providing the same volume/bass levels. But if u want a dock, and a little more bulk doesn't matter, you might want to explore other options. (I say dock as this supports charging of Apple products such as iphones/ipods but i have none of those devices, only an ipad2 which the dock doesn't support for charging nor hold its weight).
The S2's sound very decent for the price tag and would recommend for anyone to hear cheap apt-x in action. No hisses, bumps etc it all sounds very clear like a wired connection.
The T12's I would avoid like the plague, I could imagine if i heard these first I might have given up on the idea of apt-x Bluetooth.
Unsatisfied with the T12's, I might look into picking up some nice sounding bookshelf speakers, run an amp into them and then buy a separate Bluetooth receiver carrying apt-x (like this one), there are still plenty of options to explore.
I for one am convinced apt-x bluetooth is a solution to decent wireless sound, but there are other wireless streaming solutions, you have to pick the right one for your application and make sure you choose wisely what you buy.
Hope this helps for anyone browsing the subject matter.
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