This is one of the high-end speaker systems from Creative designed to give you a complete Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS experience in the comfort of your home. These are the recommended speakers for use with the latest Creative Audigy sound card that we reviewed in our previous issue. It is a 5.1 speaker system—one sub-woofer, one center satellite and four surround satellites.
The sub-woofer is rated at 30 Watts RMS and is designed with what is called the SLAM (Symmetrically Loaded Acoustic Module) technology. This refers to the dual diaphragm design of the sub-woofer. Interestingly, the two diaphragms (called master driver and slave) are physically isolated and not electrically connected to each other. The sub-woofer cabinet has a dual chamber design for enhanced bass, impact and transient response. The center satellite is 21 Watts RMS and is designed as a half-cylinder, cut along its diameter. Rounded baffles reduce ‘distortion by diffraction’ of sound. The surround satellites are 7 Watts RMS per channel.
The driver for all these speakers is a decoder amplifier. This is a sleek unit that houses all the electronics including Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS hardware decoders. The speaker system can take in analog line, digital DIN, coaxial, and optical inputs. A selector button allows you to switch between the input sources. You can also have a mixed analog and digital input for things like mixing karaoke with a digital music source. Dolby sources are detected automatically and the effect can be turned on or off at will from the decoder-amplifier unit. The unit also comes with four preset ‘effects’ for enhancing the sound quality.
Volume-control knobs for the sub-woofer, the surround and center and the master volume are also a part of this unit. The decoder amplifier also comes with its own infra-red remote control with all the controls on it except for volumes of the sub-woofer, center and surround speakers.
The speaker orientation is in a surround configuration with the center satellite placed in the center and the sub-woofer preferably on the ground near the walls. The center satellite and the front satellites come with 2-meter long cables and the rear satellites come with 5-meter long cables. The long cables allow you to achieve good effects in the room.
The ‘Test’ button on the remote can be used to check if all the speakers are working perfectly once you wire them up. The remote control master volume control is synchronized with the main unit’s knob through a stepper motor that moves the control knob in accordance with the signal from the remote. A ‘Mute’ button on the remote also comes in handy.
We used a host of audio to check out how these speakers fare. With Dolby 5.1 DVD audio we got the real effect of a theatre system. The maximum volume though not loud, was enough to give you that effect. With regular MP3 and audio CDs, the performance was good too. A little experimentation is needed in selecting the effects as per the kind of audio you are listening to. We checked the speakers for their claimed frequency response range of 35 Hz-20 KHz. The volume was varied between 50-75 percent of the maximum. The speakers could accurately reproduce frequencies throughout the range. However at sustained audio between 18 KHz-20 KHz, we noticed slight distortion. Nevertheless, this should not be much of a concern because such high pitches are momentary during regular audio playback, unless you are an audiophile and have an ear for sharp notes. In general, the performance can be rated as superb especially because there was almost negligible garbling of audio even at maximum volume.
While the speakers product excellent sound, and are rich in features, they’re out of range of most people due to their high price tag of Rs 29,300.
Ashish Sharma at PCQ Labs