The Creative Stage V2 is a 2.1 soundbar system with a range of inputs making it great for the living room or a desk setup and Sound Blaster audio processing for clear dialogue and surround effects. The Stage V2 looks and sounds like a very appealing piece of kit, especially with its £99 asking price.
Creative Stage V2
The Creative Stage V2 is comprised of two units, the soundbar and the subwoofer which feature a black design. The soundbar is 68cm wide, 10cm deep and 7.8cm tall and the subwoofer comes in at 11.6cm wide, 25cm deep and 42.3cm tall.
The soundbar has a metal grill across the front of the unit, which protects the driver units housed within. The front is otherwise fairly plain, there’s a small creative logo to the left and the centre of the soundbar has an information display to show the selected input or Bluetooth status. The display is basic, so it does abbreviate the source names to AU for AUX-in and OP for optical-in, to provide a couple of examples. It would be nice to see a display that could provide the full name of the input rather than an abbreviation, but this is a small nit-pick.
The right side of the soundbar has a selection of buttons for volume, Bluetooth and power – the power button also doubles up as a mode switching button, these buttons have a rubberised finish to them so they’re easy to press and find. The left-hand side is blank and both the left and right sides feature a matte plastic finish.
The rest of the soundbar has a glossy black plastic finish across the rest of the speaker, I would’ve personally preferred for this to have been a matte finish as a glossy finish can easily show dust on top of the soundbar and scratches which could show up on the soundbar after an extended period of use. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue with the buttons on the side, but it’ll need a little bit more TLC in comparison to the brushed finish which is found on the remote.
The soundbar features rubber feet on the underside and wall mounting brackets on the back, providing a range of flexible mounting options, allowing you to keep the speaker on an entertainment unit or get it raised onto the wall. The back is also home to all the I/O for the soundbar, of which there is a good selection – especially for a budget option. There’s USB Type-C connectivity so you could connect the soundbar directly to your computer, HDMI ARC, 3.5mm AUX-in as well as optical-in. The subwoofer output is also on the back and looks to be a proprietary style port that handles both power and audio.
The subwoofer is extremely compact, making it great for a home living room setting as it won’t take up or need much space. The subwoofer driver is side-mounted and is behind a fabric mesh to protect it, a bass port is located on the front of the subwoofer unit. The subwoofer cable is tethered to the subwoofer and is not removable, it is approximately 2 metres long so this is something that you would need to consider with subwoofer placement in relation to the soundbar.
For the price that the Stage V2 comes in at, it provides a great sound that would be a fantastic upgrade from the speakers that are built into most TVs. The system has a controlled but dynamic listening experience for listening to music but also sounds great when watching television or movies.
Thanks to the 5.25-inch subwoofer driver, the system can deliver sound with deep and controlled bass, making action-packed moments in movies and music sound great. The treble, delivered by dual 2.25″ drivers in the soundbar has good clarity to it for vocals and spoken word content. However, I do wish that there was a little more emphasis on the mid frequencies to bring a little more clarity to the sound, particularly for music listening. The overall frequency response of the Stage V2 spans from 55Hz to 20KHz.
The stereo separation within the soundbar is great, the distance between the left and right channels is audible and helps provide an immersive listening experience. The soundbar system can also get loud, with a rating of 80W continuous power with the flexibility to peak at 160W.
There are also a couple of different modes and adjustments you can make to the listening experience. The bass and treble can be manually adjusted to suit your preference, so you can get the sound you’d like out of the soundbar. Additionally, the soundbar also uses Creative’s Sound Blaster tech for a surround mode and clear dialogue mode.
The clear dialogue mode does pretty much what it says on the tin, it boosts vocals and spoken word to be clearer and easier to hear. The surround mode is interesting as it does give the soundbar an even wider soundscape but, of course, it is no match for a dedicated surround-sound setup but is still nice to have for movie content, but I would recommend keeping it off for music. Both modes do tend to boost the mid frequencies because of having them enabled.
Features and Accessories
The soundbar features A2DP Bluetooth connectivity, which offers a higher quality Bluetooth listening experience when your transmitting device also supports A2DP Bluetooth and, if you were wondering, the soundbar features Bluetooth 5.0 with the SBC codec. I did find that the Bluetooth connection was prone to obstructions by having objects impede a clear line-of-sight between the speaker and my computer, which I was using to test the Bluetooth connection. Of course, if you want to use a wired connection, which may be more stable, you can use one of the many supported wired inputs mentioned earlier on during the review.
The soundbar also features an infrared remote which can be used to control the device from across the room. The remote works well, featuring a button layout that makes sense, and features an ergonomic design that is comfortable to use. The remote provides additional controls that are not directly on the soundbar such as the ability to switch listening modes and adjust the bass and treble levels, there’s also a quick mute button.
Creative also includes a few cables in the box to get up and running, including a USB Type-C cable and AUX cable in the box. I do think it could have been nice to have an HDMI cable also included within the box as I imagine a lot of consumers who purchase this soundbar may be using it with a TV that has HDMI ARC support.
The Creative Stage V2 2.1 soundbar system is a fantastic choice for an affordable 2.1 soundbar and subwoofer system, the soundbar produces great sound accompanied by deep bass from the subwoofer. It would be nice to have a more stable Bluetooth connection and a little less glossy black plastic, but the overall package is very good for the £99 price tag.
The Creative Stage V2 is available to purchase on Amazon.
Creative Stage V2Creative Stage V2
- Great sound
- Wide input selection
- Compact subwoofer design
- Glossy black plastic
- No included HDMI cable
- Weak Bluetooth connection