Most helpful positive review
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great Entry-Level Surround Sound
on December 12, 2002
As an audiophile with a limited budget, I took the step from a decent used pair of stereo speakers to this 4.1 set because of the price. I will say this: I'm quite satisfied with the performance for the price. This isn't to say that it's the best or is flawless, but it is great for what it should be.
First, the frequency response. As with any Inspire set of speakers, they have a decent response range, though mid-tones get a little muffled in certain settings. Especially those that clip (>75dB) in mid-tones pre-amplified, you will hear lovely crackling sounds and various distortion that you don't get in higher-end speakers. Of course there are not many things in practical use that are so loud in that tone range, so this is rarely encountered. Lower frequencies are quite muted on satellites, as the sub should compensate for the bass. This is great for such applications such as gaming, but doesn't give the best feedback for pure musical listening. Guess this is why a dedicated sound system is best suited for such purposes.
As aforementioned, these speakers are excellent for gaming. Surround sound enhances your perceptions by allowing you to be "in" the action instead of spectating, as you hear sounds coming from all around (assuming you set the speakers up in the correct positions).
One common pitfall is the audio connection. These use two analog 3.5mm stereo jacks (the common headphone kind), which plugs into any surround compatible soundcard. Using them with the Creative Labs Audigy/Live! series of soundcards works perfectly with the bundled "Surround Mixer" application and choosing the "4 speakers" layout; however, if you plug it into a single stereo source instead of 4-channels, you will only hear out of the side (front/rear) that you plug the source into. Be sure to make sure your soundcard supports 4-channel 2-output (front/rear) connectors, or you won't be able to use them! Many on-board 6-channel/5.1 sound chipsets utitlize the optical/digital SPDIF connectors - this is NOT for you! Get speakers with digital input for those systems, or you won't be able to use these.
Overall, these are decent speakers and provide a decent sound experience. Highly recommended to those on a limited budget looking for good surround.