Sound on the table and with you: Creative T30 Wireless and Airwave HD review

    Good day, Habr! I have two new things for you: one allows you to take music with you, the second is a solid solution for universal connection of smartphones, laptops, PCs and any other audio source in a compact case. Creative Airwave HD and Creative T30 Wireless on Habré haven’t been yet, and there’s not much written about them on the network, so who cares - I ask for a cut;)

    Let's start with a portable solution. I had an older version, Airwave HD, which was built according to a simple but effective recipe: a portable “speaker” supporting Bluetooth (with A2DP, of course, for listening to music), NFC (for seamless connection in “one click”) and the ability to use it just like ordinary wired acoustics.

    Color and format

    “Triangular” themes prevail in appearance - both in the profile of the column itself and in the decoration / protection of the front surface. Control buttons - nothing at all, a sliding “latch” on / off, a volume control swing and an additional button with a Bluetooth icon. Almost like on modern smartphones. :) All controls are mechanical, no sensory crap, pressed with a well-felt tactile feedback, “on / off” has enough resistance so that the column does not turn on itself in the backpack / bag when carrying it.

    On the "back" (if you can call it that) panel - a bass reflex, microUSB input (for a charger) and a 3.5mm MiniJack for a "classic" connection. The active NFC tag is located on the back panel: when you first bring the smartphone up, it will offer you to contact via Blueetoth (turn it on, if it is turned off, “pair” the devices), for the second and subsequent ones, just turn on BT, connect to the speaker and start playback. It’s hard to overestimate the capabilities of NFC, yet “brought it up, clicked“ yes, works ”- much nicer than“ turned on the bluetooth, found in the instructions how to connect the speaker and iPhone, hold the power button on the bluetooth ... and so on. ” So while the Yabloko are busy with the connection, we can appreciate the sound itself.


    Transmitting sound through text is another task. The column ... is moderately loud, from a distance of ~ one meter I measured about 80-90 dB through a mobile application on my smartphone. (Maximum volume, playing music of various genres). On any works from Airwave HD there is a fairly clear sound (as pure as the music itself and the quality of the recording implies), the speaker does not choke on the bottoms, it digests high sounds very soundly. Up to 20 kHz at least. In general, the sound can be described as “decent”: any laptop, whether it be a MacBook Pro 15 or Asus with Bang & Olufsen sound and a mini subwoofer, plays the speaker both in sound quality and volume. In terms of quality, the result is comparable to speakers for a PC for 1000-1500 rubles: in terms of volume, I think it will be slightly inferior,

    Autonomy and Watts

    According to the manufacturer, Airwave HD has an output power of 10W and is able to work up to seven parts without interruption. I can’t say for sure about the watts, the measurement of the output power on the speaker is the same circus, starting from at least three possible methods of testing that are known to me (determination of the sinusoidal power according to the DIN standard, according to the RMS standard, and bloated “Chinese” PMPO-Watts) ending with the banal complexity of their conduct at home. But the battery life can be checked very easily - we measure, record, charge, repeat. In the first case, I got about 6 hours of work, in the second, third, and so on - from 6 and a half to 7 and a half hours, if the indicators are averaged - something like this will be: seven hours at an average volume with Bluetooth playback.


    By the way, since the speaker is connected via BT - why not use it as a remote microphone? Apparently, I was not the only one who thought so, so Creative Airwave HD can be safely used for Skype conferences or as a “speakerphone” - it has an excellent sensitive microphone, and with a Bluetooth connection, the speaker is defined as a “headset”, so there are difficulties using this functionality does not exactly occur.


    In the field of mobile sound, the competition is quite tight. On the one hand, there are companies that have "grown" on mobile phones (like Jawbone), on the other hand, there are classic "sound men" and large companies trying to get down to this segment to make it. Mobile audio systems similar in character to Airwave HD are JBL Charge and Jawbone Mini Jambox / Jambox, and, probably, Beats Pill.

    The characteristics are approximately the same for everyone: there is nothing surprising here, you cannot deceive the laws of physics, you cannot force a small tweeter to produce juicy basses, and I have not seen 40-inch “tweeters”.

    The differences are in the batteries, the presence / absence of NFC and the ability to charge the device from a music dock. The latter is in JBL Charge (this is even taken out in the name), and NFC is present in Beats Pill; Jawbone, apparently, focuses on Yabloko people who do not have NFC :)

    But the price / exhaust ratio is highly dependent on the region, but almost all solutions from competitors in this class will be more expensive than Airwave HD, and the cheaper version can be compared to cheaper ones - Creative Airwave The average prices in the Yandex market in mid-May are around 4,200 rubles for an older model and 2,000 for a younger one. Not so much for the opportunity to take music with you - to work, to a picnic or just for a convenient multifunctional speaker, which can be hooked up to a laptop and smartphone.

    The second hero of the review is the Creative Wireless T30 desktop system. Neat and small speakers with an indecent, at first glance, price of ~ 6,000 rubles. What is the money for? Firstly, it’s not just desktop “tweeters”, but a full-fledged sound system: in each column there are two diffusers, for high and medium frequencies, a huge bass reflex and, apparently, some kind of demon inside is locked in a cage: for its size T30 Wireless has an indecent, deep, rich and clear sound. Secondly, the system is not so easy to have “Wireless”, the NFC tag + Bluetooth channel allows you to connect a smartphone or laptop to the speakers.

    Appearance and controls

    The designer is at the same time both a solid five and unsuccessful. Why? It’s easy to explain: the speakers look great, are easy to operate, everything is in its place, the case is pleasing to the eye and the materials are tactilely very, very nice, but ... the front and back panels are made of glossy plastic.

    Yes, it’s so prettier, and it looks more expensive on the renderings, and in reality it adds some gloss to the appearance, but ... it’s not a varnished tree. This is plastic. He collects fingerprints and dust, and removing them (especially from the column on which all the controls are located) is another task. A black aluminum panel with a coarse sand texture would look no cheaper, but it would save the T30 from the constant need for microfiber cleaning.

    All controls (three controls: volume, bass and treble; yes, two buttons: power and Bluetooth) are on the right column, and all wires (power, second satellite, Aux-in) are also suitable for it. In principle, the instructions for the T30 can not be opened - everyone has long been accustomed to the fact that pairing mode is caused by a long hold of the Bluetooth button, and the NFC inscription on the top clearly hints where to put the phone so that everything works automatically. The label here is exactly the same as in Airwave or other Creative products (headphones, speakers), the smartphone itself turns on Bluetooth, finds the speakers, adds them to the list of devices and connects. When reused, it simply turns on the necessary wireless interfaces and automatically connects to the audio system. Everything is simple.


    As I said at the beginning of the section: the sound is indecently good for such a compact acoustics: high frequencies are worked out very accurately and brightly, the sound is medium and juicy without a “plane”, well, for a system without an active subwoofer there are a lot of deep low frequencies . How this was achieved by Creative engineers is a mystery. Perhaps part of the merit lies in high-quality electronic stuffing and software processing, some on the impressive size of the bass reflex, located on the upper edge of each speaker, or maybe the creators really used some black magic: unfortunately, they don’t reveal all the secrets, but on the official The site states the following: for tweeters, silk fiber diffusers were developed, mid-range speakers received conical fiberglass diffusers (although, admittedly, the appearance is more like aramid fibers, but without chemical.BassXPort , but I don’t think brand names add any color to the sound.

    On a test track list consisting of a mixture of jazz, classical, rock and classical metal, the speakers were surprised every 5-6 minutes. The sound is detailed, the separation of the treble and midrange into two different loops is felt, the system does not wheeze even at maximum volume (although, admittedly, a slight lack of bass starts to be felt at maximum, but this is the limiting mode of operation, so I see no reason to consider it as a normal state) , over the entire range from ¼ to ¾ of the volume margin, an excellent balance is felt between the quality and sophistication of all three main ranges. The built-in treble / bass adjustment is also pleasing: you can always adjust the sound to the “usual” ratio of sonorous treble and juicy midrange / bass for your ear.

    Without wires

    In wireless mode, the aptX codec is responsible for transmitting sound: if your smartphone supports this technology, then the quality of sound sent over the wireless channel will be at its best. It is almost impossible to distinguish from a wired connection in a blind test (rather, impossible at all), especially if you listen to non-unknown compositions. If you specifically prepare, then, of course, you can pick up a couple of tracks that will sound slightly different and give out Bluetooth connections, but who needs such distortions? The sound is clear, delays are minimal or absent (in general, delays are detected very easily: launch demanding races on your smartphone, connect wireless speakers / headphones and when you receive any bonuses, collisions, or even any effects, a “desync” is instantly detected). What else is needed? Is that NFC in the iPhone,

    In total

    Great sound, work on wires and without wires, Creative's proprietary capabilities for connecting to two sources at once or to two pairs of speakers via wireless protocol, nice appearance and impractical-marking front panel. If your main workhorse is a laptop, or you have a small room, and you prefer to store music on your phone, and choose new speakers, this is an interesting candidate for acquisition. The combination of price, quality and functionality is excellent, and competitors in the niche are not particularly observed. Of course, for this money you can buy an honest 5.1 system or powerful 2.0 speakers such as Microlab Solo3 / Solo4, but you don’t always need a similar overkill, and sometimes connecting these systems to laptops / smartphones causes quite definite problems: either an external “sound” is needed, either an amplifier; About wireless functionality and in general you can forget. In general, it’s up to you to decide, of course, but if you need good desktop speakers and you don’t mind using wireless functionality - T30 youare waiting .

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