Tangled Up in Bluetooth Page 3

Creative D100

$79 us.creative.com
Best for: kids’ rooms, garages, dorm rooms
Worst for: audiophiles

THE D100 IS A HOMEBODY. It’s fairly large at about 15.5 inches wide, and it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery, only a wall-wart power supply. (It can be made portable by inserting four AA batteries.) You could haul it places, but it’s really meant to stay in your bedroom/kitchen/wherever. Fortunately, its simple, stylish design is unlikely to elicit complaints from those who generally hate the look of audio gear. It’s available with a black cabinet and grille cloth, or with a white cabinet and your choice of blue, green, or red grille cloth.

The controls are admirably simple, with a power switch on the back, and volume buttons and a Bluetooth mating button on the front. A ported cabinet lets the dual 3-inch drivers deliver a semblance of bass.

If you demand full sound, the D100 might be for you. Switching to the D100 after listening to the smaller Bluetooth speakers, I was shocked to hear how much louder, more dynamic, and less distorted its sound was. I easily got room-filling volume no matter what music I played. The D100 outplays the Monster iClarity HD by about 6 dB, and even beats the Jawbone Jambox and Soundmatters FoxL v2 in this regard. I found the bass a little too punchy for my taste, but punchy bass is better than no bass.

Here’s the rub, though: The D100 begs for tweeters. It sounds somewhat muffled in the treble and upper midrange, and it also has some “cupped hands” coloration, making some vocalists sound as if they were singing with their hands cupped around their mouths. In fact, when I played “Sentenza del Cuore — Allegro” from The Coryells, a treble-heavy recording of acoustic guitars, castanets, and tambourine, the treble was so attenuated that it sounded like I’d turned the volume down a few decibels.

That said, the D100 is inexpensive, it looks cool, and it plays pretty loud. For some people, that will make it a killer deal.

Measurements

The D100 wants tweeters, and wants them badly. The response is pretty smooth in the midrange, but it shelves down above 2 kHz, especially off-axis. The huge dip at 8.5 kHz (probably a result of interference between the two drivers) isn’t as frightening as it looks because it’s narrow. There’s a big peak at 200 Hz, which is probably the cause of the punchy sound I noted. I calculate the lower limits of frequency response by finding the point that’s -6 dB lower than the peak low-frequency output, but this method gave me a bass response of 135 Hz, which you can tell from the chart clearly doesn’t depict the D100’s capabilities. So I fudged a little with the 70 Hz, but I think it’s a more honest rating in this case.

ARTICLE CONTENTS

X
-->