Harman Kardons: JBL Creature vs HK Soundsticks Review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by shggman, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. shggman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    #1
    I researched prior to the purchase, and majority of the good in-hand stories were MacRumors users' opinions. As I guessed, lots of debate between Creature vs Soundsticks. It helped me alot so I thought I share my experience here for future references for MacRumors users or anyone in search for this topic on Google.

    Harman Kardon JBL Creature, I had this speaker for years. I bought it when it first came out, so this was like... at least 6 years ago. That is a long time I was stuck with a set of speakers or any electronics in general. The only things I'm keeping for so long in my life is my car and my dog. :D

    Harman Kardon JBL Creatures were simply awesome. I was initially sold on the design, I didn't even hear it in real life before the purchase. How lame. What really impressed me was when I heard them after it arrived. Those tiny two speakers had lots of clarity in 'em. Adjustment for bass and treble was great, which many PC speakers lack. I really care for clarity of the speakers, as many low-cost ($20~$80 avg price) speakers lack clarity with dirty booming bass. This is very disturbing when listening to quiet ballads or classics. My playlist is generally mixed between ballads/house with some hip hop and jazz. Classics are just for those intense mornings with lots of workload or when I'm stressed.

    I had lots of choices during the 6 years. Tried mid-upscale 2.0 systems, which I never liked due to lack of bass. Some were very good, but you can never match the bass performance of decent 2.1 system. Also, I care a lot about design of the speakers. 5.1 setups were a overkill.

    Things changed when my computer station was moved to a room nearly three times bigger than before. That's when the JBL creature speakers showed weakness. It just wasn't enough to fill the room with wide, crystal clear music. I'm a sensitive person with sensitive taste in sound, but I wasn't about to spend $399 on Bose Companion 5, which I wanted to get. I usually stick with mainstream brand, as I'm not a super hardcore music freak.

    Came across Haman Kardon Soundsticks II for a good deal, which looked nice and came with a bit more power that I needed to fill the room with. I read many reviews online. While many recommended Soundsticks, many also said sound difference is not too noticeable and is not worth the extra cost.

    Well, to me, the differences between Creatures and Soundsticks were big enough to spend extra for these Harman Kardon Soundsticks ii. It is much more loud and clarity is day and night difference. While it didn't have treble adjustment, which pissed me off at first, but I immediately realized why those boys @Harman Kardon decided they didn't have to make one. Great balance, minimum distortion when pushing it hard. The bass itself just sound/feel more refined and under-control if that makes any sense. When turning the bass up on a track of techno or heavy hitting hip hop on JBL creatures, the woofer on it felt as if it was working too hard. Soundsticks just have more capacity to pump out more juice while staying clear of distortion and lack of clarity. However, I'm not really a fan of those touch controls. It seems like Harman Kardon loves touch control for volume adjustment. Creatures also had the same touch interface. While it looks sophisticated, functionality is questioned.

    For those of you hesitating whether spending extra cost is worth the upgrade, I say it is totally up to you. I wouldn't spend $160 on a brand new set over perfectly fine JBL creatures. However, for a decent deal, I say this is a great investment. I sold the creatures for $40 on craigslist, picked up Soundsticks for $85 shipped, so ended up upgrading it for $45 or so. It sounds better and looks better. Now, if you are deciding whether to buy JBL creatures or HK Soundsticks, I highly recommend HK soundsticks. Good luck with your purchase, and either way, you can't go wrong in my opinion.


    CLIFF NOTES:
    -JBL creatures are great for the price. Bang for the buck.
    -HK Soundsticks is obviously a superior speaker system.
    -All comes down to how much you want to spend for your listening pleasure.
    -As an upgrade, it is debatable. As a brand new set, HK Soundsticks.
     
  2. mattkidd macrumors regular

    mattkidd

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom England Northants
    #2
    It's good to see such an in-depth decision/review ;) have a pair of SoundSticks III myself, excellent speakers couldn't fault them, they deliver exceptional bass and sound clarity for music. I was also stretched between deciding between the Bose 5 system, but couldn't justify the price.

    I Would however love to be able to have another two speakers to make the sound-sticks 5.1 instead.. :eek:
     

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