When it comes to music its great to have that extra bit of flexibility on when and where you can listen to it, something that Creative have aimed to address with their USB dongle and receiver unit that should stream high quality audio to an external source directly from your PC. Now of course this device could facilitate sending the audio from a movie, or a game, but given that it doesn't send video, it's uses in that department may be somewhat limited, even more so should you wish to use the receiver in a different room of your house or office.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music System
The system comes packed up in a stylish little display box, its only throwaway plastic packaging though, but it gives you a good view of the main components and a quick run down of its major features along the side of the box, its a little heavier than I thought it would be too, but when you take a look at the picture below, you'll understand why.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music System - Package Contents
There is no shortage of included extras with this system, when I asked to review it I didn't even know it came with a remote control, but in the box you will find a whole array of instruction booklets, quick setup guide, safety leaflets and all the other marketing nonsense you might expect, as well as a driver disc, microfiber cloth, batteries, remote control, transforming plug with european and UK connectors, AUX to 3.5mm audio cable, the wireless USB dongle and the receiver unit.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music System - Remote
The included remote holds a fair few features too, that work via the driver disc and a compatible sound card, giving you access to the X-Fi crystalizer, CMSS-3D audio enhancements, as well as iTunes functionality with the basic functions like track navigation, mute, volume, repeat, shuffle, pause and play. Overall a more than welcome addition to the unit and a very handy feature given the device wireless nature.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music System - USB Dongle
The wireless dongle is of a really good quality too, not only does it sport its own multi directional transmitter to help ensure optimum signal, but is also comes fitted with microphone and headphone ports, what purpose these serve given that this is connected to your PC/Laptop i'm not sure, but when it comes to extra features included in the price I'm not going to turn my nose up at them, I'm sure someone out there will find a use for them. It also comes with a nice little touch that the USB cap is joined on with a simple string, preventing you loosing it when its connected to your PC, a great little idea, especially given I have half a dozen flash pens and none of them have their protective caps anymore.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music System - Receiver
The unit itself is fairly compact, with a handy set of skip forwards/backwards and play/pause buttons featured along the top, for those moments when you undoubtedly misplace the remote control. The play/pause button also acts as a power button when operated with a long press. Along the front you will find a IR receiver for the remote, as well as a line out, AUX out and power in socket around the back, nothing major to shout about really, other than its functional, looks pretty stylish yet discreet so that you can hide it amongst your setup with ease.
Setup was extremely straight forward, I inserted the USB dongle to my PC and Windows 7 64Bit found the basic drivers straight away and added it as a sound output device, I plugged in the receiver in my living room and hooked the AUX cables into my AV receiver and the whole thing immediately came to life and started playing my music through my surround sound in blisteringly clear quality, so a big win on ease of use right there. After installing the software DVD on the PC I was able to gain full functionality of the remote control within about 5min of taking the whole thing out of the box and everything was really self explanatory to use.
While I could talk about how good the sound quality was, I think its more important to talk about any issues I had with the item first, only there wasn't any, whatever I played back through the system was crystal clear, from standard MP3, HD Flac audio files, a few movie samples at volumes high and low, I even tried to throw out the signal but it didn't falter one bit, no matter how far around my house I placed the receiver, or the dongle, managing to get up to about 50ft range before I decided to call it quits and say it works perfectly.
So over all then a really solid product from Creative here, it does exactly what it says on the tin and offers a lot more flexibility than I was expecting, given that it has AUX and a 3.5mm line out I was able to run the receiver through some headphones, my iPod dock (via the docks line-in), my TV, my AV receiver and all of them had no problems with the device. So if you're looking take your music away from your PC, for a party, for work, or just plain for fun then you really can't go wrong here, it really is as simple as plug and play here and you have your audio when and where you want in around the house.