Creative is one of the global brands that consistently sell products that are innovative, well-designed, and affordably priced. Desktop speakers are often perceived to be low quality and designed for simple use cases, which is play sound from computers. The Creative T-series desktop speakers have evolved over the years and I have had the opportunity to receive review units from them to have good appreciation of their quality.
The new Creative T60 combines the latest Creative Sound Blaster technology with expanded connectivity that is not commonly found in other desktop speakers, further reinforcing their innovative spirit instead of just launching generic-spec computer speakers. In fact, the T60 is more than just for computer use, and features additional functions that makes external speakers more integral to the new work-from-home situation.
Design and Connectivity
The Creative T60 sports glossy front panel with matt body. There are a lot more connector ports than usual: a USB-C port for digital audio, AUX port for analog audio input, a mic output and a headphones output. The last 2 ports are used for communication which I will describe more later.
On the front, there is a volume knob and three buttons: power/mode button, surround/speaker button, and clear dialog button. There is no remote control, but since the buttons are well-placed, I don’t think it’s required. The volume knob seems to be digitally controlled, as there is a response lag when I turn it.
Toggling the power/mode button will give you access to three output sources: USB-C digital audio (in purple), AUX input (in cyan), Bluetooth 5.0 SBC audio codec (in blue). The left speaker is the slave, with a 2-metre cable to connect to the right speaker. The length should be sufficient for normal study room, anyway, the speakers should not be placed too far apart.
Audio and Music
The ability to support digital audio via USB is one of the premium selling points for the Creative T60. Not only can you connect to Windows and MacOS, it can also be connected to your smartphone that supports USB-C audio, like Samsung S20+. While Bluetooth connectivity is supported and more convenient, the sound quality difference is quite apparent.
The T60 turns out to be really impressive speakers even for living room setting. Usually, full-range drivers have a tendency to sound heavy at midrange. The T60 manages to offer good sound balance for general listening. The audio has good forward projection and fills the room, and with proper positioning, I can get excellent stereo imaging where the staging appears in front of me. The bass delivers sufficient fill for desktop speakers that are designed for close-proximity listening. Sub-bass is a struggle, so for instance, the EDM bass at the coda of Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” is weak, though the earlier sections produce enough bass reverbs that fills the air waves around me. Nonetheless, I find this is better than having a subwoofer, because it would be an overkill.
The “surround” mode is a good hack to bring out the treble separation if you find the tracks a bit cluttered, as this mode expands the sound for good effects, especially when watching blockbuster movies. The “Clear Dialog” mode is good for watching podcasts or dramas to bring out the dialogue, but I felt the sound is a over-compressed, so it’s definitely not ideal for listening to vocal music. Note: these modes do not work with headphones/headset output.
Most of the laptops now come with an integrated headset jack (4-pole), which means if you plug an external speaker, you cannot connect a headset or mic. The Creative T60 basically has a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC), just like Sound Blaster PLAY! 4, where it supports SmartComms Kit (excludes CrystalVoice). When plugged to Windows OS via USB-C, the Creative App will allow user to customise the T60, just like the PLAY! 4.
The available options are slightly different given there are some variations in the features. For instance, surround and dialog+ adjustments are not available.
With the T60, you can connect an external mic and headphones (3-pole) or headset (4-pole) to conduct telecommuting work. There is no need to switch around the connection between external speakers and headsets on your computer. In fact, there is a button to switch between speaker output and headphones output conveniently without plugging in and out. What’s more, you can enable SmartComms Kit feature to auto-detect your voice to auto-mute, remove background noise from your end as well as your other caller.
The Creative T60 is a pair of desktop speakers with advanced features that support digital, analog, and Bluetooth connectivity. Its audio features are extended through the software, and improving sound quality of your computers and laptops through its built-in DAC. Furthermore, it allows me to connect an external mic and headset for an integrated telecommuting experience without the hassle of switching connections. When I plug to the computer, I get even more customisation and functions.
At a retail price of S$119, Creative once again delivers a pair of speakers with an outstanding price. The design features are thoughtfully incorporated to address the current work-from-home arrangement. I am usually not a fan of desktop speakers because they have only one function and sound quality is average. But with the T60, I will be keeping them in my living room connected to my Audio-Technica LP60XBT turntable and smartphone.