Creative SBS E2900 Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

Creative has always been a computer brand, and the SBS E2900 is a manifestation of the company's roots. This 2.1 speaker set, evident in its design, has a classic gamer look to it. If the extra lines and design elements do not give you that sense, the user-selectable purple, red, or blue backlit LED on the subwoofer's driver will certainly seal the deal. You can select from one of eight effects of purple, red, or blue with the option of turning it off completely using the remote; more on this later. When turned off, you get a mix of matte and piano black in the enclosure and white colored drivers, creating an interesting contrast shown in our above photo. The SBS S2900 will retain the last setting when turned off and on again.

From the front, both the left and right satellite speakers are identical. The satellite speakers each feature a 3" driver in an enclosure that is 105mm wide, 100mm deep, and 170mm tall. Each satellite speaker weighs only 1.08 lbs, which is very light. Meanwhile, the subwoofer features a 5.25" front-firing driver in an MDF cabinet that is 170mm wide, 335mm deep, and 313 mm tall. It tips the scales at 6.97 lbs, which is also very light for a subwoofer.

The display and all controls are located on the subwoofer. The speakers have absolutely no controls on them. I think this is a cost-saving design choice. It is simply not that useful to have all the controls on the subwoofer in my opinion, considering the proper placement for it is on the floor, making them hard to reach. Thankfully, the company includes a remote control; more on this later. However, the infrared receiver is still on the subwoofer, so you will find yourself point the remote at the ground if you need anything.

On the subwoofer, there is an orange-backlit 4-digit 7-segment display behind a tinted plastic window. The display is there to show the active input source and current volume, which always stays on -- it will blink four dashes on the screen when the speakers are turned off. I found the blinking always-on display to be quite annoying, since it flashes about once per second and the orange color will definitely catch your attention. Five buttons under the display provides direct control of the system. From the left to the right, we have power, source, play/pause/FM scan, skip back, and skip forward. Lastly, you will find a continuous-rotation volume knob, where its entire perimeter is illuminated by blue LEDs that will also never turn off. One minor issue I have is the volume control label in the middle of the knob rotates with the knob. Since the SBS E2900 features a continuous-rotation knob, it is more aesthetically pleasing to have the center fixed so the label remains up all the time in my opinion.

Here is a shot at the back of the Creative SBS E2900 powered speakers. By "powered", it means it comes with an internal amplifier built into the subwoofer, which is a typical design configuration for a 2.1 computer speaker set. The amplifier is rated at 60W RMS and 120W peak power, which powers the subwoofer, rated at 30W RMS, and the speakers, rated at 15W RMS each. Together, the system has a frequency response of 50 to 20,000Hz. This is typical for a speaker set of this caliber. Creative claims the signal to noise ratio is ≥75 dB. Power is supplied by an internal power supply that connects directly to the wall.

As you can see in our photo above, Creative offers a very simple array of connectors at the back of the SBS E2900. There is an auxiliary 3.5mm jack and FM radio antenna connector as inputs, where the latter is a rare but welcomed sight in 2021. It would have been nice if there is a PC USB and optical input, considering the SBS E2900 has a built-in digital-to-analog converter already and therefore should increase the manufacturing cost by a very small margin. That said, unlike many powered computer speakers with multiple inputs I have used in the past, you can select between auxiliary, USB drive, SD card, FM radio, and Bluetooth separately, which is very useful so your Bluetooth phone will not remain connected when the SBS E2900 are taking input from something else. On the output side, there are RCA connectors to connect to the satellite speakers. The USB drive and SD card reader is on the side near the front, which we look at in just a moment.

One thing to point out is the satellite speakers' cables are very short at 1.3m. This is actually shorter than most computer mice I have used. With the subwoofer on the floor, the cable is barely long enough to properly place my speakers on a standard computer desk. The cable should be at least 2m long.

On the wireless side, Bluetooth 5.0 operation is supported by an internal antenna. Protocols supported over Bluetooth 5.0 include A2DP and AVRCP. AVRCP enables remote device control like play, pause, and skip from the Creative SBS E2900. For Bluetooth audio, only the SBC codec is supported over A2DP. SBC, or Subband Coding, is the default Bluetooth audio codec with reasonably good audio quality and low processing power requirements. It is unfortunate there is no aptX and AAC codec support for better audio quality, but I do understand the SBS E2900 is a budget product.

Our photo above shows the bottom of the SBS E2900's satellite speakers, which has four foam nubs, one at each corner, to dampen it from the surface it resides on. This is most likely your wooden or glass desk, which can be beneficial.

The above photo also shows the right side of the SBS E2900's subwoofer. Four plastic legs raise it about 1.5cm off the ground. Here, you will find the aforementioned USB drive and SD card reader near the front. The speaker system will play audio files directly from these devices. Lastly, the bass reflex port can be spotted on this side as well.

Creative includes a remote control to go with the SBS E2900, shown in our photo above. The remote control is made out of plastic, powered by two AAA batteries, and has a relatively simple layout. The AAA batteries are not included, so make sure to have some around. Everything should be self-explanatory other than a select few. The LED button lets you toggle between one of eight effects of purple, red, or blue LED driver backlight on the subwoofer with the option of turning it off completely. Tone lest you adjust the bass and treble gain. Memory is where you can save your favorite FM radio stations and the numeric keypads is where you recall these saved channels.

With all these things in mind, it is now time to put the Creative SBS E2900 through APH Networks' infamous speaker auditioning.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis
4. Conclusion