by March 13, 2002 0 comments



At about 5 feet, the cables for the front satellites are way too short

MERCURY SW1980 
Price: Rs1600 (One year warranty)
Meant for: Price-conscious buyers
Features: 48 W RMS power
Pros: Low price
Cons: Short front satellite cables, not great crossover and amplifier, not a true 4.1 system
Contact: Kobian India. Banglore. Tel: 080-5566624/26 
E-mail: rohit@kobian.com
 

This speaker system goes by the name of 4.1 Home Theater Surround Sub-woofer System. The system is marked at 1980 W
PMPO. However, the RMS wattage is a total of 48 W–6 W each for the satellites and 24 W for the sub-woofer. The PMPO is hence overrated. Also, though the system claims to be 4.1 channels, it is only 2.1–just stereo and a sub-woofer. An indicator that you should be very careful while buying speakers!

The sub-woofer box houses all the electronics including the power transformer and the sub-woofer. The rear panel has connectors for stereo input using a stereo cable (supplied) and a Y-cable (from a DVD or a CD player). The connectors for the four satellite speakers are also here. Hooking up the setup is simple enough. The cables for the rear satellites are around 15 feet long, but those for the front satellites are way too short (only about 5 feet). This is a hindrance in proper placement of the speakers where you would like to place the sub-woofer on the ground. Also, the controls for volume and bass are on the sub-woofer, which adds to the fact that it is designed and meant to be placed on the desktop itself (not much effect there!).

We checked the system for its performance with different kinds of audio. It obviously cannot handle more than two channels. So, 5.1 (Dolby DTS) on DVD are out. With normal CD and MP3 audio, we found that the sound was not comfortably clear at a volume higher than around 50% of the total capacity. It is more of ‘loudness’ than ‘power’. Also, the satellites at higher volumes overshadow the sub-woofer. This again translates into plain ‘loudness’. Essentially, this would call for a better crossover circuit. We checked the speakers for their frequency response and found it to be in the range of 30 Hz to 18 KHz. Tones of 40-50 Hz sound more like a ‘buzz’ than ‘bass’. The satellites kick in at around 90 Hz and go to a maximum of around 18 KHz after which they die out. 

the bottom line: It’s a decent system for listening at low volumes. It is reasonably priced at Rs 1600 for people who aren’t particular about finer details. 

Ashish Sharma at PCQ Labs

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