Creative has launched a new range of ZiiSound Bluetooth speakers that allow music from any smartphone or tablet to be enjoyed on up to three speakers and four subwoofers. The ZiiSound D5x will cost £279 and goes onsale from late June. Creative will also launch the £139 ZiiSound DSx at the end of June. A cheaper, £139 Dx3 speaker will go onsale in August.
The ZiiSound D3x, D5x and DSx can be ‘daisychained’ to work in tandem as a two-speaker setup, with a subwoofer also able to be added to the wire-free setup. One speaker then acts as a ‘master’ while any others operate as ‘slave’ devices. Creative says two subwoofers can also be added to the mix, though "unofficially" there's sufificient bandwidth to drive up to four.
The thinking behind Creative’s modular speaker setup is that rather than being constrained by separate speakers for different rooms in the house, the user can choose whether they prefer to have room filling sound delivered by several speakers or a more personal listening experience while playing a game on the PC, watching a movie on an HDTV or in the bedroom.
The speakers themselves are connected via a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection, obviating the need for speakers. Usually, a wireless system is powered from the mains but controlled via a Bluetooth connection, with any satellite speakers connected to each other with wires. The ZiiSound setup does away with this secondary wired connection. Bluetooth was considered as a mechanism for connecting additional speakers in the modular setup, but Creative’s spokespeople say they discounted this option due to the large number of Bluetooth devices around and the potential for interference and confusion about what was controlled by what.
Creative launched its first ZiiSound Bluetooth speaker in April last year. At the time, an APTX adapter dongle was needed in order for the setup to work with the Apple iPhone, but hardware improvements to many smartphones and advances to the Bluetooth specification mean the ZiiSound speaker can now be used with virtually any smartphone without the need for a dongle. The ZiiSound speaker setup also works with the Creative Ziio tablet, reviewed here.