This is actually my first review of an under the monitor soundbar, and I must admit I am intrigued to hear the sound quality and how such a speaker envelopes the room in sound. Now I have reviewed general speakers like the EDIFIER M3600D 2.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM and the EDIFIER LUNA ECLIPSE, and I have previously owned two Logitech speaker systems, but nothing as endearing as this, so let us get this review started.
The Creative Stage is the bigger brother/sister to the creative stage air, the air version is just the soundbar on its own. The stage offers a simple yet neat way to set up your audio experience without needing any more space on the desk as you would need with a speaker system. The sound Bar measures 550mm x 78mm x 70mm and the sub-measures in at 420mm x 115mm x 250mm.
I actually got this just the other day, it was not for my PC even though I did test it with my PC, it was for my huge 65″ 4K TV I recently got myself. I already have the amazing Goodmans Base which I can truly recommend to anyone. However, I only use the Base when I am watching movies so I wanted a speaker that I can use at all times as the speakers on the TV, simply put, are shit. I also wanted a wireless soundbar so there would be no more cables coming from the TV, otherwise, I would be going out and purchasing more trunking to hide the cables. So when I saw this, everything fitted in place well, small, tidy, a good brand with a good price £70.00.
So I got it home, what was I expecting, well packaged, tick, yes it was, everything has polystyrene around it, everything has a plastic bag around it, everything was brand new, unused and looks stunning.
There was only one issue the plug was not a UK plug, so I had to pop to my local superstore and pick up a plug adapter to get it to work, no biggy only cost a few pounds. So setting up would have been the next thing to do after looking in awe at the beautiful product. As this was primarily for my TV, I set it up with that in mind, the product even came with a set of screws and plugs to attach the soundbar to the wall, great stuff. All I had to do now was to align everything up correctly and make sure it was level, easy stuff, you would think, but I am not a DIY professional so I got a little help, I am not afraid to admit I suck at this.
Now choosing the connection was a no brainer Bluetooth was my preferred method, if this is not yours, you can choose from AUX, Optical, and TV Arc. I have never heard of TV Arc before, so I googled it and found out that it is simply an HDMI in for sound. Then I connected the Bass unit, and for now I will not be trunking it, as this is purely for testing with the TV then I shall be moving to my PC.
Once all connected up, the TV turned on, with Sky as my preferred method of digital TV, I switch on the soundbar, turned up the treble, turned up the bass using the remote control that comes with it, then assigned the correct input. You will know when you have the correct input set, you will either hear the sound or via the white bright LED dead center, which goes dim after a few seconds.
Obviously, the sound from the soundbar was exceptional compared to the TV speakers and the bass is very impressive, it rumbles. Testing music stored on an MP3 device was easy as one two three, you just connect it to the USB-A port on the side, or through the AUX connection, with the supplied cable, or stream via Bluetooth from a Bluetooth compatible device. Also on the side is power on and volume controls.
The controller offers a number of features volume up/down, Bluetooth pair, treble up/down, bass up/down, 4 EQ settings and a way to control music.
Now each EQ offers a different way to envelope you in sound, some offer higher tones, some offer lower tones, I preferred to use the GAME EQ settings, the envelopment of sound was just about right for me, hard to explain, not to much treble, not too much bass, it was almost perfect for my desired sound stage.
However, I found the setup regardless of what EQ I was using at lower volumes it underperformed and really needed to be turned up to really appreciate the sound the system produces.
Moving to the PC, all new options open up, a dedicated sound card and Dolby Atmos for Virtual Surround Sound, there is a lot more opportunity for control and sound with a PC. When all set up via Optical and set up with Atmos, I instantly understood why this was a soundbar for under the monitor, it performed a lot better, thanks to what we can do with our PC’s. Lows, Mids, Highs, the bass unit, everything dragged you into its world of sound.
Placing the soundbar in a suitable place would be down to your monitor setup, you can put the soundbar right under your monitor as I have in the picture above, I rested it on the monitors mount, or you can place it in front of the mount, it is down to you. If you have a multi-monitor set up, always place the soundbar in the center. The soundbar does have rubber feet, so it can be placed on a surface and should be safe.
Comparing this with my EDIFIER M3600D 2.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM, which is Certified by THX and costs around £139.99 (31.01.2019) with this one only costing £70.00, you would expect a difference in the quality of audio and there certainly is. The Edifier M3600D produces a richer sound, a sound stage that sounds more real, for me I have yet to have anything better for the price I paid. The Creative stage tries, but can not reach a level of quality a THX system brings. This is not to say the system is bad, if you have yet to experience a THX system then you have nothing to compare it with and in all honesty, if I was to ignore the THX system, I would say this system offers more than enough for any gamer.
So there are negatives and Positives, the soundbar works good enough with a TV on a wall but underperforms at low levels, but the bass unit will blow you away. The system shines more when attached to a PC, with stereo sound or Virtual Surround Sound, the options available on PC gives us a lot more freedom to create a sound stage better suited to our needs. Some might be wondering why I even bothered testing the soundbar with a TV, check out the picture of the box right at the top of this review and you will see the soundbar under a TV.
Two final things to note, since the soundbar is wireless it would have been nice to have the bass unit also wireless so you can place it anywhere and have more flexibility on where you place it. The as the soundbar is SHINY, it will pick up dust like magnet.