Creative Labs Spotlight — HD Audio, G5, and iRoar, Oh My!

Creative iRoar Speaker

Yes, the market has been flooded with thousands of Bluetooth speakers. Their quality ranges as far and wide as their price ranges. Sadly, price does not always match up with sound quality and features. Luckily, with Creative Labs Roar series, historically, I've been uber-impressed with not only the small footprint and the extremely solid build quality, but most of all, their incredibly powerful audio. The Sound Blaster Roar 2 to this day is still one of the best sounding speakers I've ever heard.

Enter iRoar and you've got a whole new breed of not only stunning audio in a small form factor, but the most feature-rich and intelligent Bluetooth speaker on the market. That's right, not only is it strikingly beautiful in black with gold accents, when it lights up and the array of features really start to open up, it's practically a nerdgasm. Whether you want to use it alone or paired with a phone or tablet, the control of how the speaker functions and sounds is completely up to you. Want to practically blow your ear drums out? Great, enable the ROAR feature. Want to control the equalizer and preset sound profiles with an app? Done. The iRoar Mic is also a riot that can be used as a voice machine and/or loud speaker or just to annoy your neighbors. Such a simple add-on, but oh so handy, and it's a blast to play with the different voices. 

Speaking of sound profiles, what if I told you a small speaker could act as a rich-sounding gaming speaker system? That's right. Don't let the small design fool you, as with the preset gaming mode, the iRoar completely rocked the games I tested with not only bombastic bass but clear and precise effects and movements. It's not cheap at $299.95, but it's absolutely unbelievable, and you can read more about this bad boy on the iRoar product page. COME GET SOME!


225.0 x 120.0 x 57.0 mm (8.8 x 4.7 x 2.2 inches)
Speaker: 1.10kg (2.5lbs), USB Cable: 43g (1.5oz)
Bluetooth 3.0
A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth), AVRCP (Bluetooth Remote Control), HFP (Hands-free Profile)
Supported Codecs
AAC, aptX, SBC, aptX-LL

For playback or recording via microSD slot
microSD or microSDHC cards up to 32GB formatted in FAT/FAT32.
Common audio formats such as MP3, AAC and WAV.
(MP3 format up to 320kbps,AAC format up to 320kbps and VBR).

Sound BlasterX G5 7.1 HD Audio

Oh look, an external sound card. Not any external sound you unworthy peasants. No, come back. I'm sorry. We love you, dear readers. So yeah, continuing with Creative Labs amazing quality in sound processing, the Sound BlasterX G5 just further cements their legacy that great things come in small packages. The list of features in this little black box of magic is long and solid. (Insert joke here) Starting off, it's actually very decent sounding virtual 7.1 audio, not some chintzy gimmick that I've seen in so many headsets and "sound cards." This is the real deal, folks, complete with gaming profiles and fully tweakable controls in every sense of the word.

Also, this is built for a quality set of headphones and the amp, including multiple power settings, is mind-blowing to say the least. If you crank it up, get ready to rock your noggin no matter what you're listening to, but it's definitely geared towards the serious gamer and with the excellent Scout Mode, it makes even a solid set of headphones even better. You really can catch new details and directional audio that you definitely would have missed.

I love this sound card and the quality that pours from it. Whether you want to go basic and just rock it out of the box or tweak until your ears bleed, it's really your choice. I've listened to a lot of 7.1 gear in my day, but this is up near the top of the pile. Don't take my word for it, check out all the features and specs on Creative's page. BAM!


Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)
120dB (DAC)
Connectivity Options (Main)
Line / Optical In: 1 x 3.5mm jack
Line / Optical Out : 1 x 3.5mm jack
4-pole Headphone-out with Mic: 1 x 3.5mm jack
Dedicated Mic In : 1 x 3.5mm jack
Headphone Amp
Up to 600 Ohms
Max Channel Output
Audio Technologies
Scout Mode
Supported Operating Systems
Mac OS X v10.8 and above, Windows® 10, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows Vista