As I have already said, the system comes with a wired remote control unit, which has bass and volume controls and a headphones jack. The control unit features a special button to turn the system on and the off button is combined with the volume regulator wheel (by turning the volume down to zero). Activation of the system is indicated by a green LED. Actually, you can fasten the remote control unit onto some flat surface with the help of special double-sided stickers.
The amplifier PCB is located inside the subwoofer cabinet.
The amplifier card is fastened to the inner side of the communication panel. The integrated amplifier is based on TDA8510J/TDA8511J from Philips. Its output power is quite high, so the integrated amplifier is mounted onto a heatsink. TDA8511J is an integrated output amplifier of the “B” class in a DIL-bent-SIL power package (thin form-factor with two vertical rows of outputs). Four identical 13W amplifiers are inside. They can be used in circuits with asymmetric workload. The amplification is fixed at 20dB for each of them. In order to avoid unpleasant clicks on turning on, the amplifier “keeps low” for some time, waiting for the input electrolyte capacitors to charge up.
TDA8510J is more powerful. It consists of four identical amplifiers too, which are used in two-channel circuits. The following rough sketches illustrate the point:
Generally speaking, such integrated amplifiers offer numerous advantages. There are fewer circuitry elements and, accordingly, the device production costs less. By the way, these amplifiers were specially created by Philips for multimedia speaker systems.
Now, let’s go over to the tests. There really was no click on activating the system. So, we have every right to say that Creative not just added one more rear channel, but really improved the electrical circuit of the amplifier.
Acoustic tests showed that high frequencies became more transparent, while the medium frequencies managed the details of the sound panorama quite well. The stereo panorama is well developed thanks to the high-quality satellites. The virtual sound source is absolutely correctly positioned both along the width and depth of the music picture. The system is balanced in timbres and is careful about representing various instruments. Voice division is accurate and noticeably sharp. As for melody or harmony, I didn’t notice any high drive. The subwoofer sounds quite well, although, subjectively, in a very narrow range. Of course, when trying to form an opinion about a computer speaker system, I am not too strict and often make a lot of allowances. But even here, I try to base the conclusions upon the universal clearance etalons, such as the collective presentation of piano, violin, brass, singer voices, symphony orchestra and so on.
Let’s now turn to a less subjective evaluation method: with the help of a Euradio PRO600S audio-analyzer. The diagrams shown below indicate that the system corresponds to the frequency response range claimed by the manufacturer. Certain deviations of the gain-frequency characteristic between the neighboring 125-169Hz filters could be explained by the unadjusted phase-inverter port and absence of damping material inside the subwoofer. By the way, it’s quite possible to set the subwoofer up with the help of this audio-analyzer by experimenting with its acoustic enclosure.
Summing it all up, I should confess that I liked the system rather than otherwise. Its indisputable acoustic advantages combined with a really excellent price-to-quality ratio won my heart. By the way, you can save a bit more money buying Inspire 6.1 together with Audigy2.
Gain-frequency characteristic of Creative Inspire 6.1 6700
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Gain-frequency characteristic of Creative Inspire 6.1 6700 subwoofer
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- Corresponds to the claimed specifications;
- Good sound quality;
- Good (and relatively low-cost) acoustic enclosure of the satellites;
- Sound upmixing mode;
- The system can be turned off from the remote control unit;
- Excellent price/quality ratio.
- Average power potential;
- No damping material inside the subwoofer;
- No digital input.