Pros

  • Compact design
  • Very good sound high quality for his or her dimension and value
  • RGB lighting aspect
  • Good connectivity choices, together with Bluetooth

Cons

  • Have to purchase Pebble X Plus bundle to get subwoofer
  • No app for Macs

Creative Labs’ Pebble audio system have lengthy been a high price range choose for PC audio system. The entry-level mannequin is on its third era, aka V3, and prices $35, whereas earlier variations could be had for even much less. They aren’t the greatest-sounding PC audio system, however folks like them as a result of their sound is larger than their value. 

Creative went extra upscale introducing the new-for-2024 Pebble X USB-C audio system ($90), which additionally are available a model known as the Pebble X Plus with a mini subwoofer for $130. Larger than earlier Pebble audio system but nonetheless compact sufficient to slot in a backpack, the audio high quality is unexpectedly good and may be the perfect PC audio system that price lower than $100. Initially obtainable solely at Creative Labs on-line retailer, they’re now obtainable on Amazon.

Read extra: Best PC Speakers for 2024

Upgraded design and drivers

Creative appears to have moved to a good-better-best paradigm for its Pebble audio system. The Pebble V3 and Pebble Pro have 2.25-inch drivers, whereas the brand new flagship Pebble X have 2.75-inch drivers, with every mannequin additionally that includes totally different peak energy numbers. (The Pebble X is rated for 60 watts of peak energy if plugged right into a 30-watt or increased USB-C energy adapter, which is not included, however extra on connectivity choices in a minute.)

The entry-level Pebble audio system have fared in addition to they’ve as a result of they handle to sound OK for his or her low value — and by OK, I imply they sound considerably higher than the audio system constructed into your laptop computer. The key distinction with the Pebble X is that they are legitimately pleasing, providing good readability and an inexpensive quantity of bass.

You can do higher with the bass by stepping as much as the Pebble X Plus, however the Pebble X audio system on their very own aren’t bass-shy to the purpose the place you are feeling like it’s important to have that mini subwoofer. That mentioned, in case you are a bass lover, you must give the Plus bundle some additional thought, as a result of the sub is not offered individually and cannot be added to the Pebble X audio system; it’s important to purchase the Pebble X Plus to get it. 

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The audio system are greater than the unique Pebble audio system and have 2.75-inch full-range drivers.

David Carnoy/CNET

What’s good about having a pair of audio system joined by a 5.9-foot (1.8-meter) twine is which you can set the audio system far sufficient aside to get good stereo separation at your desk. The Pebble X audio system have been in a position to fill my house workplace with sound and would make for a pleasant little stereo system for a dorm room or bed room. 

I hearken to a good quantity of Bluetooth audio system with little to no stereo separation and the Pebble X sound higher than a whole lot of Bluetooth audio system that price $200 or extra. They could not pack fairly as a lot bass punch as a number of the bigger Bluetooth audio system, however you’ll be able to by no means underestimate the significance of stereo separation. 

I did not evaluate the Pebble X to a whole lot of different audio system, however I did put them up towards the SteelSeries Arena 3 audio system, which retail for round $130 and have bigger 4-inch drivers. The SteelSeries audio system served up extra bass, however the Pebble X supplied higher readability and definition and have been total the higher sounding audio system. 

I’ve at all times been a fan of Edifier’s R1280DB ($150) bookshelf PC audio system and their sound high quality is a step up — not an enormous one, though they’ve a separate woofer and tweeter — however they’re bigger and clearly dearer. Edifier additionally makes much more inexpensive bookshelf-style powered audio system which might be additionally good values.

The Creative Labs Pebble X speakers have USB-C and Bluetooth connectivity

The audio system work tremendous with Macs, however there is not any companion app.

Creative Labs

Pebble X audio system’ lighting and connectivity choices

There’s been a development for gaming audio system to have some RGB lighting, and that is the case right here. The older Pebble Pro audio system have some lighting of their bases, however the Pebble X goes a step additional, with lighting parts on the suitable and left sides of every speaker. You can customise the lighting choices, together with brightness, shade and animation sort, from the controls on the speaker or from the Creative app for iOS, Android and Windows PC. Alas, there is not any app for Macs. 

While the audio system have a wi-fi Bluetooth choice — it is Bluetooth 5.3 — these are USB-C audio system, so you’ll be able to join them on to any laptop computer or desktop with USB-C connectivity. I additionally linked them by way of USB-C to an iPhone 15 and Google Pixel 7 and not using a downside. And they look like suitable with gaming consoles just like the PS5.

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The lighting parts are built-in into each the left and proper sides of every speaker.

David Carnoy/CNET

Note that when connecting by way of Bluetooth, solely the SBC audio codec is supported (obtainable for each Bluetooth audio machine). Audio purists would favor if the audio system additionally supported Bluetooth streaming with the ACC or aptX codecs. But these in all probability aren’t ok audio system so that you can discover a major distinction when streaming with a superior audio codec than SBC. 

When you energy the audio system from the USB-C port in your laptop, the height energy is 30 watts. They sound respectable when powered on this method, however they will play slightly louder and sound slightly higher once you join them with a USB-PD energy adapter with no less than 30 watts of energy, which I did. That will get you as much as 60 watts of peak energy, which is technically rather a lot for compact audio system like these. I point out these energy numbers, however take them with a grain of salt, as a result of they are not at all times correct.

Creative throws in a USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable which you can hook up with the aux-in port. There’s additionally a headphone port and microphone port on the facet of the suitable speaker. Additionally, you may discover a threaded tripod mount on the underside of every speaker do you have to wish to put the audio system on pedestals. 

The Creative Labs Pebble X speakers has good connectivity options

There are two USB-C ports on the again (one for powering the audio system with a USB-C energy adapter), together with an aux-in port. The headphone and microphone ports are on the facet of the suitable speaker close to the bottom.

David Carnoy/CNET

The companion apps for iOS and Android are restricted in comparison with Creative’s companion app for Windows PCs, which has a built-in equalizer and numerous preset sound modes, in addition to a Crystal Voice mode that is supposed to enhance how properly folks can hear your voice once you join a microphone to the speaker. The iOS and Android apps solely let you improve the audio system’ firmware and customise the lighting results.  

Pebble X PC audio system ultimate ideas

I would not go as far as to name the Pebble X premium PC audio system. But in comparison with the unique Pebble audio system, which definitely had an inexpensive feel and appear to them, the Pebble X do appear to be a giant step up when it comes to sound high quality and total design — they’re nonetheless an all-plastic affair, although. I by no means tried the Pebble Pro, however this mannequin shares related connectivity options whereas upping the efficiency stage with bigger drivers, extra energy and enhanced lighting. 

Naturally, as the value goes up for merchandise, you anticipate extra from them. But from my testing, I believe you may be hard-pressed to discover a pair of compact PC audio system that ship as a lot as these do for the cash. If you need even fuller sound, take into account the Pebble X Plus bundle that features a mini sub for $40 extra. But if you wish to maintain the value beneath $100, the Pebble X set delivers satisfyingly good sound.



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