Compact and tidily finished, the Creative GigaWorks T3 is a 2.1-channel sub/sat system offering notably good sound quality

As sub/sat systems go, the Creative GigaWorks T3 system is certainly quite compact. But it also offers one of the best overall sound qualities from the breed of PC stereo speaker systems you can find.

It all starts with a small and boxy sub-woofer, around 10in cubed, adding a remotely placed pair of single-driver satellites, these perched on fixed stands with spindly pillars. The Creative GigaWorks T3 sub features no less than three separate bass woofers, one firing forward and one on each side panel– the trio of which might explain the system name.

But only the forwardmost unit is actually connected to any amp. The side drivers are actually passive drivers - otherwise known as auxiliary bass radiators (ABR) in serious audio circles - and contribute to an extended and powerful bass response.

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Inside the Creative GigaWorks T3 bass box are the electronics, including a 50W amplifier for the woofer and a stereo amp rated at 15W per channel to drive the satellites. To keep efficiency high and waste heat low, these are all Class D amplifiers, often erroneously dubbed ‘digital amplifiers'.

You won't find these used in audiophile systems, but for mainstream audio and home entertainment applications, they are becoming increasingly popular.

But the Creative GigaWorks T3's black box and its contents will ordinarily be hidden from view, leaving the mid- and high-frequency baby speakers on the desk, along with a wired remote control unit.

This rounded knob allows an easy and weighted mastery of volume. In its base you'll find two mini jacks, one for headphones, the other an additional line input. This makes plugging in a portable MP3 player much easier than rummaging on the floor for a socket.

Where many sub/sat systems fail is in the believable integration of the bass speaker to the midrange reproduction of the satellites. The Creative GigaWorks T3, while not exactly winning this war, fought a good battle by fooling the ear that there was a good knit going on. Perhaps it was the ‘correctness' of the mid and top frequencies that made the usual omission that much more forgivable.

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