I think at this point I should briefly mention the benefits of using higher end components in multimedia speakers. Firstly, there is of course the factor of construction costs associated with their materials and also the added cost of final assembly. However, it is up to the manufacturer to take a gamble that the 'true' audio fans will appreciate these differences and make the choice to buy their product over competitors.
Musical performance is certainly an area where these speakers are expected to excel, and this as usual will be my port of call for testing. For the purposes of testing I have several systems around my home to provide an adequate representation of where these speakers stand, all things considered.
I think that when evaluating speakers in general, it's a very good idea to try and listen to the same piece of music through several different systems. In fact, owning a 'test' CD that is known to the listener like the back of his/her hand can be a usual thing when testing speakers because it will soon become apparent as to what strengths and weaknesses are evident across different systems.
Of course this is the challenge of a good engineer, to be able to produce a mix that sounds good on anything from $100-10,000 which is a far harder task than one might've first imagined. This also comes into play to a different and lesser extent when making speakers; questions such as "Who is the user?", "Where will they be used?" and "What for?" are all important ones. Music, film and radio are things which all must be considered. In today's example, GIGABYTE have chosen to aim this particular system towards the music listener with games and movies secondary due basically to only having two main speakers and a bass unit to play with.
Initially I'm going to provide some general thoughts on music performance, and then I'll get into more detail and discuss specifics.
My first impression of the system was "Gee, these sound bright!" - Well, after listening to the MegaWorks and Logitechs (both without tweeters), yes at first they did sound a pinch 'toppy', but this is just the ear taking time to adjust to the extra high-end presence which is thanks to those residing dome tweeters.
Next, I began to examine the bass response which at first was not something I was blown away by, especially considering I was impressed by the two main speakers. I suppose my age old complaint about using sub (mind the pun) 8" units is not suitable for any sort of response below 50Hz. It simply boggles my mind as to why an 8" driver would not be used in this case considering the ported satellites which have decent low end reach. it just doesn't add up to me.
In a desktop environment (near field listening) I initially found these speakers involving due to their slightly pronounced upper-mid. My first thoughts on imaging were positive, I felt they pulled ahead of my logitechs and were ballpark with the MegaWorks. Although a little sterile on first examination, I did not feel initially sucked into the soundscape, rather I was simply on the outside looking in. Output near field is adequate, however I found mid-range to roll off rather fast when moving around the room. With that said though, they do fill a small to medium room with sound of a reasonable volume, I just feel off-axis response is wanting at this early stage.
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