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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2008
Don't let the "Xbox" name fool you; This is a decent surround sound setup. The sound is good, the setup is easy, and the remote actually has more buttons than you'll need.

Pros:
* Color-coded wires make setup easy.
* Remote is comprehensive.
* Bass is strong, Trebles are also good.
* High quality sound for a low price.
* Built-in handle on woofer/receiver is very useful.
* Plenty of inputs, including optical, coax, and analog.
* Speakers are solidly built and disperse sound evenly.
* Handles DTS quite well.

Cons:
* VERY heavy.
* Speakers are large and heavy, and could be difficult to place (especially center).
* Supposed USB update ability seems to have been scrapped.
* Remote has extraneous buttons reserved for "future use" that don't do anything ("future use" never happened).
* Remote is not universal, so DVD controls on remote are useless.
* Digital display can not be dimmed and must face forward.
* Certain modes seem to have a quiet hiss when no sound is being produced.
* Flakes out and stalls, requiring cold reset every once in a rare while.
* Interferes with OTA digital broadcast signal strength if too close to OTA antenna.

I'd recommend this unit for anyone who wants surround sound for their entertainment center, but who doesn't want to spend a lot of money. This sounds as good, and offers as many options as some $300 systems at half (or less) the price.
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on January 29, 2016
still going strong, great sound hooked up to TV
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on April 20, 2005
For the money this is a great system. It's easy to set up, you don't have to have a degree in sound design to balance your speakers and you can't beat the price. It took me longer to get it out of the box than it took me to get this puppy up and running. It will take some time finding a way to hide the wires. This is my first 5.1 surround system and after a lot of research (6 months) and hearing other systems this one beats others in its price range hands down.

On the positive side, the satellite speakers are heavy and have great output. The subwoofer is great in producing low end. You couldn't ask for more simpler hookup instructions. The omni polar design does make it a lot easier in finding the "sweet spot" no matter where you put them and they give you 2 optical audio inputs and one coaxial input as well as analogue inputs. They supply you with all the cables including a 1/8" jack to stereo RCA jacks so you could plug your Ipod, Nomad or whatever MP3 player you have. There is also a USB port for any future system upgrades via the web and an expansion slot for any future devices so this won't be an obsolete item in 6 month. Finally someone was using the old brain box. There is also a 10year-limited warranty.

There are a couple negatives. You are a slave to the IR box and the remote because this is the only way you are able to adjust any settings. I would have preferred a set of knobs on the subwoofer/amp to do some fine tweaking. And you may want to invest in a set of 20 ft audio cables (phono plug to phono plug) and a coupler for the rear speakers. Even though they give you a judicious amount of cable I found it still wasn't long enough to do what I wanted to do which was run the cables under the floor via the basement and come up the other side so you didn't see any cables hanging off of doorways and the walls. The optical cable that comes with the system was too short. I nearly broke it when I was hooking it up from my Xbox to the system. Also be careful handling the satellite speakers, those covers come off very easily so pick it up from the bottom.

To summarize, if you are looking for a reasonable priced, decent quality 5.1-surround sound system that a monkey could set up this is the product for you. Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to Doom 3.

Ciao
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on January 7, 2006
I wanted a surround sound system not just for gaming but for watching DVDs in Dolby 5.1 and DTS. After reading extensive reviews from gaming and home theatre sites, the choice was clear.

The Spherex system fits nicely in my apartment without taking up a lot of room, yet offers a sound experience much larger than its size suggests. I am impressed not just by the bass but by the clarity of the mid and high frequencies. Equally impressive is the wide sweet spot.

Gaming experience on the Xbox is so much better with the Spherex - epecially Doom 3 (you feel you are truly there with the sound immersion like when the door closes or a monster materializes behind you). Same goes for action movies.

The same sweet spot technology in the Spherex is also found in the higher end Mirage line of speakers at a fraction of the cost.

What's the con about this product? There is only one analog input but this becomes a diminishing requirement with everything going digital nowadays.

One thing I dislike is that the unit may still consume 60W in standby mode. I manually power off the unit via the rocker switch behind the subwoofer to avoid the 60W consumption.

Finally, what other product offers a 10-year warranty nowadays?
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on February 7, 2014
To think I purchased this to go with my original Xbox and it had performs flawlessly with the Xbox 360, Xbox 360S and new Xbox One.
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on January 26, 2014
I consider myself lucky to be one of those who seriously gave this system a chance in spite of the "Xbox" branding.

I remember going digging when I was reading up on HT systems to potentially spend my money on 8 years ago, and when I came across this one I almost immediately wrote it off due to the branding. Instead, I started looking into some of the technologies behind this thing and became intrigued.

The design of the satellites do exactly what they're supposed to do. 8 years and a few unfortunate falls later for mine, they're still working, and filling my space with sound. This system was known for having a few electrical glitches back in the day, but for those with systems who didn't have such problems, this sound system was probably the best in the sub-$500 class available at the time, and rivaled many under $1000.

Even to this day, the soundstage you get out of this system is, by nature of the design of the average speaker, unmatched. The ONE flaw in this design is that some spaces simply won't allow for this sort of speaker design to function as intended. This system doesn't have the kind of speakers that you can stick in a corner and expect them to work well. They function best in open space. Alot of space. Because of that this system works better in a more medium-sized room than a smaller one. In smaller rooms, you're gonna have some blending of the audio that you might not like. Now the subwoofer is a different matter.

This sub is of a smaller nature, and needs some help to really give you the "feel" of a "boom." Although the sub is able to produce the perceived sound of a boom even at very low frequencies due to a bit of technology built into the system, the feeling isn't there unless you put the sub fairly close to at least one wall. If you could possibly surround it with 2-3 walls, that would be ideal. The trick with the sub is to balance out trying to get the "feel" of a boom without making the sound overly "boomy" or one-dimensional. Personally I've found putting it within 2 feet of a wall best for balancing this out, or within 3 feet of two walls if possible, Not to say that the sub can't do a decent job out in space, but if you're looking to shake your house you're going to have to get crafty.

Even in a corner, you're not going to shake the foundation of your house with this system, so if that's what you're after, I'd have to recommend that you look elsewhere. For those looking for a well-balanced sound with some punch and an incredible soundstage, this is what you're looking for. This is definitely THE sound system for music playback. If you can still somehow get your hands on this system, I'd recommend it even today if you don't mind its inability to produce the newer audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master HD)

What prompted me to go ahead and write this review is that, after 8 years of functioning, my system seems to finally be on its way out. Occasionally, she'll freeze up and repeatedly begin to shut off until powered down. I remember people speaking of such behavior before their system died (this is also similar to the behavior of systems that died within a few months of purchase). Although, purely because of how it's happening, I can't help but wonder if it might not potentially just be that the fuse in my system is going bad. Hopefully that's the case, but if not, I suspect that I'll replace this system with a bit of sadness, as this system has been used with EVERY Xbox console ever made (including the "tweener" models).

Anywho, though I've spoken very fondly of this system to anyone considering it, I had never written a proper review, and it just didn't feel right that I hadn't.

It's a shame that the company who put this system together isn't around anymore, because I'd love to see what they would have done with all of the newer technologies available now.

This system was sold with a 10-year warranty once upon a time. Will my system make it to 10 years? I can't say for certain right now. But I'm gonna try my best to make sure that it does. This system was one of the best things I ever spent money on, and when it goes, I'm sure as hell gonna miss it. So for now, my system is 8 years old and still going. I hope it makes it to 10 years and a day just to prove that it's up to the challenge, but if it dies today, I'll still be thoroughly happy with my purchase.
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on September 19, 2005
This system is incredible! I checked out many other set-ups at in-store test rooms and didn't find anything that sounded even remotely as good for less than $2000 (or less than 3x the size). The speakers fit practically anywhere and the sweet spot is literally everywhere; our entire living room, with 2 chairs and a HUGE sofa - which easily fits 4 or even 5 people - is enveloped entirely by perfect surround sound. I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend this system to anyone who is considering buying it; trust me, I did a ton of research and know that this is easily the best purchase you could possibly make. The sound is so clear and engrossing that without even realizing it you'll be completely absorbed in whatever movie or game you're playing at the time. I'm talking about that heart-racing, palm-sweating, edge-of-your-seat excitement that you can only experiece by being totally immersed in the media; even your old, favorite movies that you've seen a hundred times will seem new to you as you begin to hear things you've never noticed before. Also if you're a gamer, like I am, you'll realize very quickly how different, and better, all of your games play - when you can close your eyes and still feel exactly where everything is just by the sound - now that is an incredible experience (not to mention advantage). I could go on and on about it, but should keep this reasonably short, so I'll just finish by mentioning how much potential this system truly has; between the multiple inputs, firmware upgradeability, expansion slot, and 10-year warranty, this system will be state-of-the-art for the next 5 years, and still in your living room for at least a decade (most likely longer than your TV). Buy it and Love it!
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on February 13, 2006
Ok, to start off I'm not an audiophile. I have used and dived into tens, if not hundreds, of audio and video devices and systems. I get to know what I buy and don't stop at just getting a component to work.

So far, this system is performing well, but the sound quality I was expecting, expectations can jade ones experience if they are too high, was not quite there. Part of this is definitely related to the room of use, which is less than optimal for surround. However, I was hoping, based on reviews, that this system with its non-direct focus of sound would help null that out. I also, jsut recently got the system, so its hardly been tuned to its best performance. It far surpasses my fairly new TV's speakers, but that's not really hard to do, since most TV's have mediocre to poor speakers at best.

Overall, the sound is very good. The system installation is trivial. It has 2 optical and one coax digital inputs, which was perfect for my three digital sources; XBox 360, Showcenter 200 (HD video/audio client), and an HD digital cable box. There is an additional analog input (2 coax for left and right and a cable that will convert that to a 1/8" stereo plug for MP3/Computer/.... Also included is the currently non-usable USB port for firmware upgrades as well as playing digital audio from a computer; no new firmware is posted and the PC drivers for the digital audio does not appear to be ready. One final output port allows attachment of headphones or other audio recording device. As I mentioned in my title, that was absolutely perfect for me and my wife; now all our audio is through one "receiver" and can be heard through speakers or headphones. The rest of the plugs are for speakers; all standard RCA type jacks. The speaker wire was surprisingly thin. I would have thought that it would have been a little beefier. Then again, they are only putting 55W/channel front and 16W rear, so I suppose the thickness is relatively trivial at that relatively low wattage. They are upgradeable, since every cable is RCA on both ends. There is also a big expansion slot, but I've not seen any info about probable uses from the company. This could be a source of more inputs, output channels (7.1) although I doubt that, THX filtering maybe, all on an expansion card. The speakers are small and decorative, however, despite wall mounting holes built into the case, they strongly recommending that you not do that; despite all the demos they show at their site places the speakers on the wall (go figure). The reflective sound nature is deadened by position so close to the wall (they recommend 3 feet between speaker and wall) reducing the effectiveness of the surround effect and overall sound quality. Also on this note, placing them in a confining space like a low book shelf or audio/TV cabinet/stand shelf will have a tendancy to make the speakers sound muddy (which was my first experiece with them.) That makes the placement of the center channel speaker difficult; the best would be on top of a tall TV cabinet with the TV inside, if you have one, or on top of the TV, which is impossible for me since me DLP's case is too thin on top. The Sub wofer is good and somewhat adjustable. The included remote is adequate, but a multi-device remote becomes a big help when you start turning on and configuring three devices (TV, Video (DVD), and audio receiver.)

The display unit provide, also is the IR receiver, is intersting and provides a lot of info about what's currently being played. However, it's sometimes difficult to discern which features are really lit from across the room; there are 14 total, 7 on each side, and some turn from green to red to indicate an additional mode.

The only "problem" I've experienced is the unit, when powered of by the remote (power switch on the unit is left on), will sometimes not power back up again from the remote. When this happens, I need to turn the power switch of and then back on, and the system responds normally. They do state in the manual that you should power the unit off, via the switch on the back, when the unit will not be used for a while; just like a receiver or TV. I am a little concerned about this issue, which leads me to my next point.

I like the idea that this is upgradable with firmware via the USB port. New features, fixes (hopefully for the power on one), and performance improvements are just a download away. However (I say that alot), this also leads me to believe that companies are shipping products early, letting the end user debug problems, and fixing the most serious that effects the most users. A great business model for making money and cutting costs, but I feel that gone are the days of getting a reliable product that does what it claims to do and then using it. An example here is the PC digital audio. "The software is not ready yet" is the claim. Well then, why was it listed as a feature instead of a future enhancement. This current firmware fix fascination is leading to this kind of product development; shoot for the stars and if we reach orbit, that's good enough and they'll still buy it. Ok, off my soapbox.

To sum up, sound is very good but didn't blow me away, unit sets up in minutes, wish it an input or two more (1 digital and 2 analog preferrable for a total of 4 and 3) for future needs (again it met mine right now, but I'm out of inputs), upgrades are easy, and reliability is in question (it locks up and won't respond to power command from the remote; hopeful software fix). All in all I'm pleased (mostly because I got it at a great price), but I thought it was a little pricey for the sound that I'm experiencing. I recommend it, if you have some cash to throw around and a place to run all those wires (a common problem for almost all surround systems.) Hope that helps.
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on January 16, 2006
All other systems are gloriously subpar; the dudes at Spherex have given mankind something to be proud of. Once you play Halo 2 and Ghost Recon2 on XBOX Live you realize that Spherex Surround does really come full circle.

For movies-it's unbriddled satisfaction; even better than gaming!! There is no sweet spot infront of your TV-all speakers can be individually volume adjusted!!!!

soon, PC to Spherex audio will be possible via USB!

check out: MaxxBass, DDX, Ti

...the remote fell in juice and it's still cranking on!

get this!
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on May 1, 2010
Mine isn't as thorough as everyone else's review although it's been several years since the company has not been in business, I'm so happy that it's still functioning just as strong as the day I got it.. and it's still as clean no scratches, just wished the company was still around to buy other optional items, so for those who are lucky to find on also intact, get it asap.

Game on!
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