Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 review: 2.1 speaker system with quality construction, great sound

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews

There’s something to be said for the wood cabinet construction for speakers, and the Kratos S3s are a good argument in favor.

Sure, we all love a good pair of headphones, and gaming headphones are their own category entirely. But for those times when you’d prefer not to wear headphones, speakers are still necessary. Creative has been around for what seems like forever, and have been nearly synonymous with PC audio. Their Sound Blaster line has made a bit of a resurgence lately as their Sound BlasterX gaming line, and we here at Techaeris have been very impressed with their line of audio products. Will the Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 continue the tradition of quality we’ve seen from Creative lately? Keep reading this full review to find out.

Specifications

  • System Configuration: 2.1 system
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):
    • Satellites: 158 x 95 x 102 mm
    • Subwoofer: 227 x 170 x 227mm
  • Weight:
    • Left Satellite: 0.5kg
    • Right Satellite: 0.6kg
    • Subwoofer: 2.4kg
  • Connector Type: Analog
  • Color: Black
  • 1-year Limited Hardware Warranty

What’s in the Box

  • 2 x Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 Satellites
  • Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 Subwoofer with Power Cord
  • Warranty and Technical Support Booklet
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety and Regulatory Leaflet

Design

Speakers tend to fall into a few different designs. You have the minimalist or futuristic looking speakers with exposed drivers and loads of plastic, and then you have old school wood cabinetry. The Kratos S3 speakers fall squarely into the latter category. These are sturdy speakers housed in wood enclosures, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

The subwoofer flanked by the two satellite speakers.

The satellite speakers are approximately 3.75” x 3.75” x 5.75” while the subwoofer is roughly 6.75” x 9” x 9”. The satellites angle up very slightly, to aim more towards your head when they are placed on your desk. The front is nearly completely covered by the 2.75” driver and speaker grille and concentric circle decoration around the grille. In the bottom-right corner of each satellite, you’ll see the Sound BlasterX logo. The right satellite speaker includes a volume control knob, a small red LED to indicate when the speakers are on, and a 3.5mm audio plug on the right side of the speaker.

The satellite speakers are definitely sturdy, but the subwoofer takes that up a few notches. Aside from being larger, it is also quite a lot heavier, at approximately five pounds. Four wide feet keep the subwoofer up and off of the floor, allowing the downward-firing 5.25” woofer to do its thing. The subwoofer also employs a port-tube design, which helps increase efficiency in the lower frequencies. Aside from the exhaust of the port tube in the middle near the top, you’ll also find the Sound BlasterX logo directly underneath the port on the front of the subwoofer. The back of the woofer includes the power cable, the line out to any available 3.5mm plug, as well as a bass level control dial and satellite speaker input. The left satellite plugs in via a standard RCA cable, while the right uses a 13 pin mini-DIN connector.

Speaker connections are straight forward and easy to understand. There’s only one way for the speakers to attach.

Ease of Use

There is literally nothing even remotely complicated about using these speakers. First, plug each of the satellites into the subwoofer — there’s only one way that each can be plugged in and it’s quite obvious. Next, plug the 3.5mm cable coming from the subwoofer into your audio source — really anything that accepts a 3.5mm plug can be used. Finally, plug in the power cable and you’re all set. You’ll probably want to adjust the bass level using the dial on the subwoofer, but the most difficult part of using these speakers may just be crawling under your desk to plug them into the back of your computer. Otherwise, just adjust the volume via the dial on the right satellite as necessary, plug in your headphones to the 3.5mm jack on the right satellite when needed, and you’re ready to go.

Sound

For a set of relatively small speakers, the Kratos S3 put out some pretty big sound. The subwoofer isn’t the biggest or most powerful, you’ll definitely notice its contributions to the mix. The sub will definitely be more noticeable if you keep it on your desk. My setup had the subwoofer under my desk, so it was not quite as powerful, even with the bass turned up to its highest setting. That’s not to say it was absent — it absolutely wasn’t — but if you’ve got the room to keep the subwoofer closer to the action, you’ll hear the bass just a bit more.

The sub features a good sized driver and port-tube construction.

The satellite speakers can definitely get loud. I’m not sure I ever turned them up much past 50% volume during normal use because I simply didn’t need to. You’ll get a good clear mix of mids and highs, and music, videos, and games all sounded very good. For most purposes, these speakers are more than adequate.

There’s something to be said for the wood cabinet construction for speakers, and the Kratos S3s are a good argument in favor.

Price/Value

Priced at $79.99 these are a good pair of speakers at a price that won’t break the bank. There is definite value in the quality construction and overall sound produced. These are a versatile set of speakers at a very good price.

Volume control and 3.5mm input are easily accessible on the right satellite speaker.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking for a good pair of PC speakers that sound good, and have a simple yet classy design, check out the Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 speakers. They are definitely a solid set of speakers that are priced right.

Sound BlasterX Kratos S3
4.8 Out of 5
Nailed it
Compact speakers with wood cabinet construction and big sound.
Needs Work
Sub can be a bit under-powered depending on placement.
Bottom Line
The Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 2.1 speaker system is easy to set up, easy to use, and puts out big sound. If you need PC speakers, these speakers deserve your attention.
Design4.75
Ease of Use5.00
Sound4.50
Price/Value4.75
*We were sent a review sample of the Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S3 2.1 Speaker System for the purposes of this review.
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