Back in 2002, JBL introduced a set of futuristic sci-fi speakers designed to bring desktop computers and notebooks into the world of quality audio without looking like giant slabs of with grilles. Now Harman International has gone back to the future, announcing the JBL Creature III speakers with a new streamlined airy feel and soft-touch controls…but they still look like they plopped onto your desktop from some alien mothership.
“Our inspiration for the Creature series was rooted in our weariness with static, six-sided box designs so commonly seen on desktop speaker systems,” said Harman International VP of industrial design Kurt Solland, in a statement, “The idea of a ‘creature’ bubbling next to your desktop with acoustic waveguides that look like face masks gives the system a distinctive personality that our consumers love.”
The Creature III system features Harman’s Odyssey transducer technology to offer high quality audio with “impressive” bass response and clear midrange. The speakers feature soft-touch tactile controls so users can adjust volume or mute the speakers with a simple touch; the system also remembers volume settings from when it was last used.
And for flexibility, the system is old-school analog, accepting a 3.5mm stereo mini input and eschewing USB, S/PDIF, and all that other fancy nonsense: the Creature IIIs can be used with computers, stereos, portable media players, televisions, and other gear with impunity. The two satellite speakers feature 1 5/8-inch drivers running at 5 watts, while the “subwoofer” uses a 3-inch driver—but Harman says the system handles everything from 50Hz to 20kHz.
The Creature IIIs will carry a suggested retail price of $129,99, and (for the time being anyway) will be available exclusively at Apple retail stores and Apple’s online store.