PCWorks FourPointSurround FPS1000 consists of four 3"-wide satellite speaker cubes, plus a compact, floor-standing subwoofer cabinet. The four compact satellites create realistic four-channel positional audio while the subwoofer can be positioned on the floor -- behind your TV, under your desk, or in back of furniture, out of the way, for best bass response. All four speakers are magnetically shielded, so they can be placed very close to a TV or a computer monitor. By using separate amplifiers for bass signals and mid- to high-frequency signals, PCWorks FourPointSurround FPS1000 system is able to play at normal listening levels without producing annoying distortion. This amplification process results in a clean, open sound you don't expect from a traditional speaker system. PCWorks FourPointSurround FPS1000 system delivers a carefully fine-tuned stereo sound system, with audio usually produced by expensive home surround stereo systems.
To create the effect of Surround Sound, most speaker manufacturers artificially widen the speakers' left and right positional audio capabilities. By contrast, Cambridge SoundWorks uses PC Works FourPointSurround system, which delivers true Surround Sound.
The 24-watt system has four satellite speakers that you can mount anywhere, and a subwoofer, which provides rich, omnidirectional bass. Each of the surround speakers measures 6.38 by 6 by 9.75 inches-about the size of a Rubics Cube.
The documentation clearly explains the setup-a necessity, sin ce each speaker has its own cable and must be connected in the proper sequence. Everything plugs into a Creative Labs Sound Blaster PCI128 sound card that ships with the speakers. The system includes a small volume control you can attach to your monitor or any other convenient location. Software installation is also painless. I had the speakers up and running in about 10 minutes.
Considering the number of speakers, the sound is surprisingly quiet, but satisfyingly clear-with hiss only at the highest volume levels. The speakers deliver impressive audio, though their dynamic range doesn't equal that of high-end systems. Music (WAV, MIDI or CD-audio files) also sounds very good. These speakers do well with presentations and games, where you can exploit their Surround Sound capabilities. It would be very cost-effective to set up this system in conference rooms for use with presentations.
This system is a great deal at $149.99-a WinList entry as our choice for the best moderately priced speaker sys tem. -- From Winmag®