Creatives Inspire T6160 is a compact 5.1 speaker set thats reasonably priced. The subwoofer is unobtrusive and should easily fit under a desk, providing a good compromise for anyone wanting to add surround sound to a small bedroom or lounge.
The five satellites all have the same upright design; if you want to place the centre speaker directly in front of your monitor or television, its vertical positioning could obstruct your view. The front and centre speakers have 1.65m captive cables, but depending on where you want to position them you could swap them for the 4m rear satellites as they all use the same phonon connection.
Power and volume controls are on a wired remote for easy access but the bass dial is on the rear of the subwoofer, which can be hard to reach if its placed under a desk. The subwoofer also holds the three captive 3.5mm audio jacks for true surround sound. The 1.5m cable should be long enough to connect to your PC without trouble, but there arent any other inputs for connecting a second device.
Most of our test music sounded great, with very accurate bass coming from the subwoofer. Our more acoustic tracks were rich and detailed, although the very top end notes often sounded sharper than we would expect. The mid-range was very clear, with the right frequencies coming from the satellites instead of the subwoofer. Heavier rock music sounded very powerful, with the subwoofer providing plenty of bass. To get the best clarity, we had to turn up the volume to well over 60 per cent, which can be punishing for anyone in nearby rooms.
Using the T6160s to watch films was more of a mixed experience. Speech was clear and we could pick out finer details, but there was a definite imbalance between the front and rear speakers in certain scenes. During more intense action, the rear pair was often eclipsed by the front speakers.
The T6160 is a decent budget set, but it does have several minor issues. Whether the vertical centre speaker will be a problem depends on the height of your monitor, but the sometimes sharp high-end is an issue that will affect everyone. This, and the lack of any auxiliary inputs, makes it difficult to recommend over the superior Logitech Z506 .