Creative Stage V2 Review 10

Creative Stage V2 Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Creative Stage V2 is available online for $110.
  • Surprisingly good sound quality as long as you sit sufficiently close
  • Versatile connectivity (HDMI ARC, USB, optical, 3.5-mm, and Bluetooth)
  • Compact form factor: easy to fit even on a smaller table
  • Intuitive remote control
  • Good build quality
  • Wall-mounting cutouts
  • Great value for the money
  • Glossy black plastic on top of the soundbar is a fingerprint and dust magnet
  • Confusing integrated display
  • Not powerful enough for larger rooms: works best under the monitor
The Creative Stage V2 is a compact 2.1 sound system consisting of a soundbar and a passive subwoofer. It offers a combination of good sound quality, fantastic connectivity, and a reasonable price. All that makes it one of those devices that are easy to recommend to anyone looking to upgrade the sound performance of their PC without a hefty budget and/or room to fit a traditional 2.1 speaker system. Of course, the Stage V2 also pairs nicely with a TV—not only does it have an HDMI ARC input, which enables you to easily transfer sound from your TV and use its remote control to turn the soundbar on and adjust its volume, it also has a pair of rearward cutouts for wall mounting.

Other connectivity options include a USB interface for laptops, desktop PCs, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, an optical (TOSLINK) port for digitally connecting it to consoles, TVs without an HDMI ARC port, and various other sound sources (Chromecast Audio, for example), a 3.5-mm auxiliary input for any sound source with a 3.5-mm port, and Bluetooth 5.0. The only supported Bluetooth audio codec is SBC, but in practice, it proved a reasonable choice, as the capabilities of the Stage V2 don't really enter a sphere where the benefits of a higher-quality Bluetooth audio codec could be appreciated.

The overall sound quality of the Creative Stage V2 is surprisingly good with one important caveat: You have to either sit close to it or use it in a small room. The system simply doesn't have enough raw power or acoustic prowess to provide good performance in a large room or from a distance greater than around 3 meters. This is why it works best when the soundbar is placed under the monitor and the subwoofer anywhere under the table. When listened to it from up close, the Stage V2 offers a clear, satisfyingly detailed sound with a well-integrated bass coming from the subwoofer. The supplied subwoofer won't move furniture around in your room; rather, it adds a solid level of meatiness to the sound without introducing excessive (and annoying) boominess.

Add to that an intuitive remote control with input selection buttons, volume, treble and bass controls, music controls (play/pause, back, forward works when Bluetooth is used), as well as Surround and Dialog modes and you have a well-rounded product whose flaws are mostly cosmetic. For $110, most users will be able to live with the fingerprint-prone top side of the soundbar, or a somewhat confusing, integrated display because they're in every other respect getting a very capable (and very compact!) 2.1 sound system.
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