Creative recently launched a new Stage series of under-monitor soundbars are surprisingly affordable prices. There are two of them, Stage and Stage Air, and I have the Stage, the larger of the pair, for this review.
The Stage series soundbars are primarily intended to replace basic PC and TV speakers. They deliver superior audio performance in a small space-saving form factor that should fit under most monitors and TVs. The Stage soundbar includes a dedicated subwoofer, something that the more diminutive Stage Air lacks.
The Creative Stage soundbar isn’t very wide, measuring just 550 x 70 x 78 mm. This is probably not an issue for most monitors, but when used with large TV screens, the Creative Stage may look a little undersized.
The build quality of the Creative Stage is excellent. The soundbar itself weighs 1.2 kg, and features a cool segmented LED status display under its front metal grill.
For audio inputs, the Creative Stage supports optical audio, HDMI (ARC), 3.5 mm aux-in, and Bluetooth with A2DP stereo. It also has a USB port for playing back MP3 audio formats on a FAT32-formatted mass storage device. The USB port is on the right side of the soundbar, so sticking a flash drive into it might not look so aesthetically pleasing.
Also on the right side are some very basic physical controls. You will definitely need to use the included remote control to access most functions of the Creative Stage soundbar.
The subwoofer measures 420 x 115 x 250 mm, and weighs 3.07 kg. It doesn’t have a separate power supply, which is good, but it does need to be wired to the soundbar itself. The short 1 metre cable should work well to serve a computer on a work desk. However, you may find the cable length to be a constrain if you intend to hook the Creative Stage up to a larger TV in a bigger living area,
I found that the Creative Stage needs to be enjoyed at higher volume levels to appreciate the oomph that the speakers can deliver. At low volumes, the bass was simply unimpressive,. The mids were well-emphasised, and the highs were clear, but overall, the sound just lacked body.
However, once the volume levels are pushed up, the Creative Stage becomes a whole lot more enjoyable. The bass is projected more prominently, yet tight and well-controlled. I mean this in a good way, because while it is good to hear and feel the bass, I don’t like it becoming overwhelming.
With 2x 20 Watt mid-range speakers in the soundbar, 40 Watt subwoofer, and a total of 160 Watt of peak system power, the Creative Stage can get quite loud. It will be able to deliver a rich and enjoyable movie experience in a typical living room or TV room.
The soundbar can be wall-mounted if you so prefer. The retail box includes wall-plugs and screws, as well as the remote control and 3.5 mm aux cable.
The Creative Stage retails at S$129, but you can avail yourself to ongoing $20 discount promotion from the Creative Store.
The Creative Stage is a surprisingly affordable under-monitor soundbar with dedicated subwoofer.
- Small, compact, size
- Good variety of audio input options
- Good build quality
- Good sound quality at higher volume levels
- Unimpressive sound at lower volume levels