Creative held a press conference on 19 May 2010 for the media to introduce this quarter’s new products, and launch a slew of wireless loudspeakers. We had the opportunity to see, hear and touch these products. Head in to find out more.

It has been a fair few months since we last heard from Creative. The multimedia giant looks set to raise the bar (pun intended) with their all new bar-decorating, bar-shaped speakers.

Many manufacturers are making products for Apple’s devices, but Creative decided that making products for Apple alone isn’t enough. These new wireless speakers can be paired with virtually any mobile music device or computer via Bluetooth. Introducing us to the product line-up was Mac from Creative’s Marketing Communications.

Holding up the chassis for the flagship ZiiSound D5 wireless loudspeakers, he was proud to proclaim the use of monocoque construction for maximum rigidity. This is Creative’s effort at minimising stray resonances that can mar the sound of the reproduced music.

The S$399 ZiiSound D5 is a recent winner of the reddot design award 2010 for its design quality and product innovation.

The ZiiSound D5’s sleek appearance would appeal to many, complementing any modern interior decor.

 

To demonstrate the versatility of the ZiiSound D5, Mac went on to pair the speakers up with some of the hottest gadgets this year, including the Apple iPad. He simply popped a ‘dongle’ into the Apple’s dock connector and started playing tunes from the Apple device.

Each connection worked admirably, taking around six seconds to hook up. Be it an Apple iPhone 3G S, an Apple iPad, or even a netbook, connecting to the D5 was hassle-free. So, what is the secret in having such rapid pairing on Bluetooth? The answer lies within the codec used.

 

Mac handed over to Product Marketing Manager Mr Tan Lip Hwee, who further elaborated on the acoustics and codec employed in Creative’s new wireless speakers.

He was happy to announce that the ZiiSound D5 can deliver clear and balanced sound with a wide sound stage despite using small drivers and having a compact cabinet footprint. He then proceeded to demonstrate the audio capabilities of the ZiiSound D5 as proof.

Touching on the codec used, it turns out that Creative has slipstreamed the apt-X codec into both their Bluetooth speakers and transmitters (iPod Transmitter for Apple devices, and USB Transmitter for use on computers). This is the key behind the reduced latency, pair time, and improved frequency response of the ZiiSound D5.

apt-X audio coding is used in professional audio solutions, television and radio broadcasting and consumer electronics applications in wireless audio. For apt-X over Bluetooth A2DP, a bandwidth of only 352kbps is required for CD-quality transmission, well within the 768kbps limit of the A2DP protocol.

It was mentioned that A2DP has a 16kHz upper frequency limit, but with apt-X, frequency response improves to 10Hz to 22KHz, which is wider than the typical human hearing range of 20Hz to 20KHz.

 

The ‘dongle’ is in fact an apt-X enabled Bluetooth transmitter that is hooked up to the 30-pin dock connector of the Apple iPod/iPad/iPhone.

 

The gold-plated contacts on the back of the iPod Transmitter passes current to charge the Apple device, when it is placed in the cradle on the ZiiSound D5. However, you cannot dock an Apple device directly on the D5.

 

You could of course pair the ZiiSound D5 up with any other music device using Bluetooth, but the apt-X transmission codec will not be employed. While it would not matter at all to non-audiophiles, we were sad to find out that the dongle actually takes a stereo analog signal from the 30-pin connector instead of a digitised PCM signal.