The creatures I beleive uses the usual min jack for sound, but the sound sticks use USB, which usually doesn't have as goo of sound output. Just someting you might want to look at. Also look at some of the Logitech speakers, there are really nice speakers too!
"... unny that the "better quality" mini jack jbl's are cheaper than the harman's? I would figure price would dictate which were better. ..."
The USB speakers have to have a digital-analog coverter, as well as everything a "regular" system would need, so there's more stuff to implement. All things being equal the JBL's should either be cheaper or, if they're the same, then they should be better (more money in the kitty to buy better quality speakers, etc).
The DA converter would be essentially similar to a Griffin iMic (might even be the same chip with the AD section unused).
Okay, so I'm here to defend the Soundsticks. I've had mine for a year and I love them.
Aside from aesthetics, there are some notable differences. I happen to prefer the the transparent lucite style of the soundsticks but the Creatures do look pretty cool.
Being manufactured by the same company, Harman Multimedia (harmanmultimedia.com) they do share some components and technology.
The major differences that bolster my choice of the Soundsticks over the Creatures are these:
1) A 6" Woofer as opposed to a 4" Transducer which allows for a lower bass frequency response of 44Hz compared to 50Hz. The Creature does employ 4 more watts of power at the sub but I do believe it requires more power to move a transducer than a pulp paper woofer. Keep in mind too that the 24 Wrms rating also comes with a whopping 10% Total Harmonic Distortion rating. I could not find THD specs on the SS.
2) The satellites. The SS employs a total of 8 (4 per Satellite) 1" Full Range Transducers as opposed to 2 (1 per satellite) 2" Transducers in the Creature. While this equals the same surface area of the drivers themselves, by spacing out the transducers you increase the soundstage. This makes the Soundsticks a little less directional while listening. Also, the enclosure of the SS has a cubic volume of approximately 40" (10x2x2) as opposed to 27" (3x3x3) of the creature. This helps to develop better midbass frequencies. Also, as a point of interest, the 4 Watts that the SS lost out on in the sub department has been recouped in the way of an additional 4 Watts to the Satellites. The SS has 10 Wrms per channel as opposed to 8 Wrms per channel in the Creature.
So there you have it. The technical differences between the two. Does it really make the Soundsticks markedly superior to the Creature? Who knows. HK must think so if they are still positioned as their flagship mulitmedia speaker system for the Macintosh... and charge an extra hundred bucks to boot.
Will you be dissatisfied with the Creatures? I doubt it. To be honest I'd have probably saved the $100 myself had the Creature been available a year ago when I was in the market for speakers. Listen to both and see which you like the sound of. Decide which one you like the look of better. And then consider whether the sum of your answers justifies the extra expense. Did I mention I love my Soundsticks?
"... Creature does employ 4 more watts of power at the sub but I do believe it requires more power to move a transducer than a pulp paper woofer. ..."
Ummm, loudspeakers are transducers.
The power figures are nice in that they give the manufacturer something to talk about, but don't read too much into them; they don't provide the minimum info necessary to evaluate them. I definitely wouldn't make a buying decision based on a few (or a lot) watts difference here or there, because the numbers as given are essentially meaningless. Same with the frequency figures, as supplied we cannot determine which one has the lower bass. A number like 44Hz alone (ie without +/- x dB) is useless.
HK does provide a clue, however, in that the power supply can deliver 65 watts maximum. Should the 20 and 2x10 watts RMS figures be believed, then HK must have achieved an industry leading breakthrough in amplifier efficency, or they're relying on specs written by the marketing department and not the engineers. You decide.
Luckily, only a few watts are needed to get reasonably loud volume levels, so it's no biggie.
Cone material has some affect on efficency (but it's based on total mass, not cone material per se) but it is insignificant compared to the effect of the enclosure design, speaker cone area, and impedance. Physically larger woofers deliver more acoustic energy (sound louder) with the same power as smaller drivers do, even though they may be heavier, but especially with low frequency systems, the enclosure design is much more significant. Both systems use a tuned port design, which is quite efficient.
Similarly, lower impedance (electrical resistance, expressed in ohms) has a direct relationship to power delivery from the amp; if the amp's power supply is up to the task (ie not limiting the current available) halving the impedance (eg from 8 to 4 ohms) will double the power output of the amplifier. The limiting factors are power supply (expensive part of any amp) and circuit design stablility (you have to buy better parts and follow stringent design standards to avoid the amp self-destructing; it's kind of like stomping the throttle of your car in neutral). Finally, as impedance drops the ability of the amp to control the speaker falls; at some point the speaker starts controlling the amp (it is a form of electromagnetic motor, after all) resulting in more of that unfortunate self-destruction of the amp.
Just go listen to them, and buy the ones that sound best to you. The specs provided are of no real use in a buying decision.
well, I have my sound running thru a small receiver hooked to some speakers. All is cool. Not the eye candy that are the SS are the Monster, but does the job none the less. 'Bout to rewire err-thing and wall mount some of the speakers...
Pam, when you are done, I would love to see a shot of your setup.
I would personally just ditch them both and get a 5.1 Surround Sound Logitech speaker system with 450 watts of total power + high-quality sound w/subwoofer. I have listened to this beast, and it's far from unpleasent. This system rocks!