Following the commercial success of Creative Pebble 2.0 USB computer desktop speakers launched over a year, Creative has upped the ante with an improved Pebble series. The new Pebble Plus 2.1 sports identical spherical shaped plastic satellite drivers but now it comes with a separate subwoofer unit. The best part? The 2.1 speaker is powered by USB. Even better: the retail price is just S$59.
I had the privilege to speak to the Pebble Plus product manager to gain some insights to the design and engineering story behind the Pebble Plus, many of these facts are not part of the marketing material, because as he aptly put, consumers are not interested in all the technicalities. They are only interested in whether the product works.
Compared to the Pebble, the Pebble Plus runs on slightly higher power output, from 2x 2.2W to 2x 2W and 1x 4W for sub-woofer. It even has an option to boost gain to achieve a total peak power of 16W (requires 5V 2A USB power source). With a separate bass unit, Creative can free up the treble drivers for better upper-range performance. Additionally, due to USB power constraints, the woofer driver is made of lighter diaphragm material so that it can still be driven effectively with low power. The down-firing woofer generates reverberation over a larger surface for better musical impact.
Operating the Pebble Plus is very straightforward: just plug the USB to any power source – powerbank, computer USB port, smartphone charger, anything – and plug the 3.5mm to an audio source, then adjust the volume knob for desired sound level. The cables are 1.2m in length (1.8m to the subwoofer), ensuring adequate running cables for best placement.
The Pebble Plus is tuned for bright clear mid-treble over midrange, though personally I would prefer a more balanced neutral tuning with warmth, like Creative Stage Air. Despite having a subwoofer, the overall sound is not massive, much to my delight. I do not like multi-channel speaker systems because usually the subwoofer is too overpowering. In the case of Pebble Plus, the bass blends nicely with the two speakers. If you prefer strong bass, you might want to place the subwoofer closer to you, on the table instead of the floor (you still won’t get the intensive sub-bass feel though). Also, in consideration that the Pebble Plus is a computer desktop, it is designed for close proximity music enjoyment, not a room speaker. For bigger bass, you might want to go for Creative Stage 2.1 soundbar.
After the battery-powered Stage soundbar series, the new Pebble Plus once again demonstrates that Creative is committed to developing innovative audio products at amazing value without compromising quality. At a ridiculous price point of S$59, every computer user can enjoy excitingly clear sound with substantial sub-bass response, all from an efficient USB power source.
If you asked me what is better than a pair of USB speakers, I’d say it’s a pair of USB speakers with proper bass. What’s even better than Pebble Plus doesn’t even cost much to upgrade your desktop or laptop sound instead of tinny built-in speakers.