Accessory Review: Creative Pebble V2 Desktop Speakers
Creative are, without a doubt one of the leading manufacturers of sound systems and hardware that suit both films and games. The original Pebble saw favourable reviews on release, with critics highlighting the impressive audio produced by something mostly seemed to be aimed at budget laptop users. For the price it was released at, it managed to impress even more with its features.
So, it is only understandable that we’d see Creative continue to invest in their pebble line, recently releasing V2 for it. Whilst the minimalist design and small form factor might strike similarities with their old line, there are a few noticeable changes.
Gone is the USB-A type connector for example, now replaced with a USB-C connection instead. As most people know, USB-C is the most efficient and newest port type that allows more data and power to be driven to a peripheral. This allows the Pebble V2 to support a high-gain mode which can be selected with the switch of a button. Those that still are on USB-A type connectors, will be pleased to know that an adapter is provided right out of the box, making setup an almost involuntary affair.
I was curious as to how much a USB-A connection would benefit from the high-gain mode, and whether it would be something only noticeable on a C-Type connection. Impressively, there is a noticeable gain even if you use an A-type connection, still giving you some benefits from the recently added mode. Of course, it works best with a C-Type connection, mainly due to the extra power it receives from it.
I will be honest, I am usually sceptical of gain modes on small, cost-effective speakers, as usually turning it on just increases the volumes, having the bass bleed and usually dampen the other frequencies. A lot of the times the sound seems garbled as well, where the bass and higher pitched sounds seem to tear into each other. I did not seem to notice the problem here at all, and using it made a clear difference!
I am huge music listener, and love to compose on my free time as well, so you can imagine I tore through quite a lot of different music. The first song that I have recently begun playing to test out new audio systems that I get is Health’s Blue Monday which was featured on Atomic Blonde. It has a mixture of bass pumping sections with other more traditional health synths. I recommend playing the section from 2:32 minutes into the song as loud as you can, and you will be able to clearly see how clean your audio is.
The excellent soundtrack to Into The Spider-Verse (Original Soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton) was also played on repeat, as well as more traditional and contemporary soundtracks from Ennio Moricone, Carpenter, and of course Hans Zimmer. I tried a wide range of music, which all worked fabulously well with Pebble. Like all good speakers, I could easily point out different layers of instruments due to the clarity afforded by the speakers.
Videogames were of course also played with the speakers at full blast, notably The Surge 2 and Metal Gear Solid V, both of which sounded great on the speakers. I did also run some of my original pieces through the speakers via Cubase Elements, but as these are not really production ready speakers, it required quite a few driver downloads before it worked. However, when it did, it worked well enough to let you know what your mix might sound like on the more common speakers, something that is invaluable to anyone in audio. Still, I won’t go recommending it to audio engineers or composers just yet.
Look wise, there isn’t much difference in shape when compared to the old pebbles, but those upgrading might appreciate the less glossy facial plate of the speakers, which are more preventative of fingerprint smudges. The wires did irritate me a bit, but I was able to forget about them once everything was setup properly.
The setup is really simple, as it does not require to be connected to the mains via any sort of plug, running all on a pair of USB and 3.5 jack connection. It did seem a bit odd to me that it would rely on a 3.5 jack, as most speakers these days are powered through USB alone, which usually deliver a better sound. I can understand needing a dedicated connection for power, but these days it isn’t strange to need two USB connections for certain peripherals.
Ultimately though, Creative Pebble V2 excels in outputting a good range of sound with helpful gain-mode for such a small form factor. If you are looking for something on budget that is easy to setup and move, then this really is a no-brainer. In fact, if you are looking for something for your PC generally, you still won’t go wrong with this.
- Editor Note: At the time of publication, you can pick-up the Creative Pebble V2 Desktop Speakers direct from Creative for £17.99, reduced from £22.99.