The speakers are large and in-charge, capable of distortion free audio up to a recorded (with earplugs) 92dBa. Underneath, we have a subwoofer and two speakers on top that are pointed towards you for a mostly full sounding 2.1 package. There's enough separation between frequencies to make it a good fallback when your headphones aren't available, and the sub-frequencies actually have more power than you'd expect. It won't replace a good set of external speakers or headphones, but they are a good inclusion. It's rare to find actual good laptop audio that's both full, loud, and good sounding. This encompasses all of those from a non-audiophile point of view.
The sound itself is handled by the onboard Creative X-Fi chip, which is the actual tri-core Creative DSP affixed to the motherboard. As you'd expect, it comes with the obligatory software that lets you apply a custom EQ or turn on EAX special effects globally. It also includes a profile system that will set a system of specific settings for various genres of games or even just music or watching movies. There's also what's called the SBX Pro series of settings that add some more expanded audio options.
You can activate Creative's virtual surround solution, which is relatively convincing, or apply a bass boost or even turn on their crystallizer, which is supposed to "upscale" music and sound to attempt to make it sound better. The results, to my ears, are quite pleasing, though not everyone will agree.
Coming out of the 3.5mm port and into my headphones, thus being pushed into my ears was a delightful experience. The amp is capable of powering headphones up to 600Ohm's, and can give a pretty convincing soundscape in games, music, and movies. The Creative software is definitely gaming-centric, and the wealth of options might not suit everyone's audio-centric needs, but it's actually good at making it sound full, with the right headphones.
IEM's like the sensitive Shure SE846's are driven into insane levels, if you want, and I couldn't hear any feedback or that telltale "hiss" that can sometimes indicate poor components. The choice of including an actual Creative audio processor onboard was a good one, and it sounds very good.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, and Availability & Price]
- Page 2 [Specs, Configurations Available, and Warranty & Support]
- Page 3 [Detailed Look, Outputs & Connectivity]
- Page 4 [Display, Keyboard, and Trackpad]
- Page 5 [Speakers and Sound]
- Page 6 [Everyday Use]
- Page 7 [Gaming Use at 1080p]
- Page 8 [Gaming Use - VR]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks – CPU & RAM]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks – Internal Storage & External Storage]
- Page 11 [Power Consumption & Battery Life]
- Page 12 [Thermal & Sound Testing]
- Page 13 [What's Hot, What's Not, & Final Thoughts]
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