Not every table has a place for a massive speaker system, especially if you watch movies, listen to music and, of course, play on a laptop, which has recently become more common. But can compact speakers provide decent sound quality that is so superior to stock speakers that you won’t be sorry to spend money on them? For the third generation, the Pebble model from renowned masters of computer acoustics Creative proves that yes. Read more in our review.
- Frequency range: 100 Hz – 17 kHz
- Power: 8W RMS, up to 16W peak power
- Connection: wired, wireless
- Length of cable: 1.2 m for connection, 1.35 m between speakers
- Interfaces: USB-C, analog 3.5mm, Bluetooth 5.0
- Dimensions: 123 x 120 x 118 mm
Complete set and design
The compact white box with photos and an abundance of text seems a little dated in terms of design, but it lets you know everything you need to know about the Pebble V3. In one of the photos, they are shown connected to a laptop, clearly hinting at the main conceived functionality.
There is nothing superfluous inside: the speakers themselves, packed in unchanged bubbled polyethylene, a quick start guide, warranty documents and an adapter from USB-C to USB-A – a thing, as it turned out, is simply necessary.
One of the main features of Pebble is its stylish design, and in the third version it has hardly changed. Spherical speakers with “cut” segments – horizontally from the bottom, for installation on a table, vertically behind – there are passive emitters, and at 45 degrees from above / in front – on this surface are actually the speakers.
The membranes are open, pleasantly golden in color, so that when sound is reproduced, their vibration can be visually observed. Nice, but somewhat difficult to clean and care for – everything must be done very gently so as not to damage them. The speakers themselves are black, the quality of the plastic is good, albeit not particularly impressive, although the seam between the two halves is a little rough. Also available in white.
All the few controls are located on the right column. This is a knob for turning on and adjusting the volume, an indicator of power and operating mode, a button for switching the mode and connecting via Bluetooth, new for the third version, as well as a gain mode switch on the bottom.
A cable 1.2 m long for connecting to a computer with a USB-C connector, another wire, 1.35 m in length, is suitable for the right speaker, the speakers are interconnected. The wires are quite thin, in simple isolation, devoid of any protection, but for stationary speakers this is much less relevant than for headphones.
In terms of connectivity, the Pebble V3 continues the evolution of previous models – in addition to connecting via a USB port, through which the speakers receive both audio signal and power, they do not need any outlet – they retained the 3.5 mm AUX jack, and also received a wireless interface Bluetooth 5.0. Complete versatility, although power in any case must be provided via USB – not from a computer, but from an adapter, and in the latter case, an outlet will still be required.
By default, the Pebble V3 operates in USB-Audio mode. To pair via Bluetooth, you need to hold down the small button next to the volume control knob for 2 seconds, after which the indicator will blink, and the speakers will become visible in the list of active devices and are available for connection in a standard way. In the future, by pressing this button once, you can switch modes: wired, Bluetooth, AUX (if there are appropriate connections).
The mode is indicated by an indicator: with a wired USB connection, it lights up continuously in blue or green, when connected via Bluetooth, it blinks, and when playing through the AUX input, it lights up continuously again and changes color to light blue. Blue or green depends on the gain mode switchable on the bottom panel of the right speaker: blue for high gain, green for low.
The wired connection is via the USB-C connector. But on my laptop I ran into an unpleasant moment – either because of the too high power supply (the speakers require 10 W, and my USB-C port gives out more than 30), or because for individual compatibility problems when connected through this port, the speakers began to live their own lives, which did not correspond at all to those described in the instructions. In addition, they randomly disconnected and stopped playing.
The problem was solved by connecting to a regular USB-A through the same adapter – that’s why it turned out to be so needed.
It’s hard for me to judge the sound quality at the audiophile level, but overall I liked the speakers. I play on a laptop, and although the acoustics were developed with the help of such giants of the audio industry as Bang & Olufsen, the difference when connecting even these relatively simple and budget speakers was simply amazing.
And first of all, I was pleasantly surprised by the very high volume for this size. After the very first couple of songs, I switched the amplification to high mode, not quite understanding what the low one was for – this way the sound seemed better – but when it was the turn of heavier music, I immediately noticed a slight overload at maximum volume. The problem was solved just by switching to the low gain mode.
The rest of the speakers worked almost perfectly, coping with the powerful guitar riffs of The Offspring, and with the heavy rap of Hollywood Undead, and with Amatory growling, and with the percussive bass of modern pop music in the face of GSPD with equally decent quality.
From the films I chose the second “Guardians of the Galaxy” – of course, it cannot be compared with a cinema, but it sounded good. As for games, with these columns you will definitely understand how automatic trills differ from the rumble of a sniper rifle – I was convinced by the example of Valorant.
The sound is pleasant, juicy and clean, the bass due to the presence of passive radiators, even with such a small size, turned out to be pronounced and tangible, but at the same time did not drown out all other sounds. Certainly not a subwoofer, but quite good. The high frequencies, however, at times do not seem very expressive, but, as in the case with the slight overload described above, there is nothing critical here, especially considering the cost of these speakers.
A bit of physics. Passive radiators are essentially speakers with a membrane, but without a magnet and coil. When a normal, active speaker sounds next to them, they are excited – they also begin to vibrate. Due to the optimal selection of the resonant frequency, these vibrations enhance the bass and thus “pull up” the frequency response of the system as a whole.
The claimed improvement of the soundstage due to the location of the speakers at an angle of 45 degrees, described right on the box, also turned out to be not empty words. When you get close enough to the speakers – which is usually the case when the speakers are connected to a laptop or desktop PC – the speakers are aimed directly at the user’s ears, so the feeling really becomes more immersive.
Creative Pebble V3 – excellent and relatively inexpensive (less than 4 thousand rubles) speakers from a well-deserved brand with a name and history. They are equally well suited for listening to music, watching movies and even playing games on your home PC or laptop, and the presence of Bluetooth will turn them into a universal speaker system for almost all gadgets in the house.
In addition, thanks to their stylish and minimalist design, they not only do not take up much space on your table, but also become its decoration. The main thing is to choose the right port for connection and not abuse the maximum volume.
stylish, compact design
high quality sound
three connection modes
unstable connection in some ports
slight overload at maximum volume