The hardest thing to do now is decide what to listen to first, or watch as the case may be, depending on the user.
I decided to use my little USB flash drive first to test out some musical prowess to get the ball rolling, but quickly moved to CD for the higher bit rate.
I loaded up some fairly demanding acoustic material as well as some heavy on the low-end dance music. First up was the natural acoustic music to get a feel for the nature of the speakers chosen here by AKAI.
During my testing I found the two silk dome tweeters used within this unit to be of quite a marginal quality. First using the factory setting, I found the treble to be really quite absent from the mix, so I altered the setting to allow for more high-end frequencies and found that the quality of the high-end diminished further as I increased this value.
For the mid-range frequencies AKAI has chosen to use small 4" drivers, which should be enough in theory.
I found the mid frequencies to be very mechanical and brash, really not bringing any of the timbre of the percussion instruments out in the mix. These all important mid frequencies were also not being projected out into my test room; rather they felt confined and trapped somewhat.
With stereo imaging being confined to the shape and height of the unit rather than being projected out into the room, I did not feel greatly involved in what I was hearing; more like I was standing on a balcony watching the performance below me instead of being front row center.
The bass frequencies were also very fluffy and loose with a really boomy disconcerting feel, like I was testing a factory car stereo. In complete honesty I cannot add anything positive about these two 5" woofers, I have heard much better for a whole lot less. They simply are not value for money period.
Unfortunately my results were not ideal, but that is not to say that the audio of this unit cannot be enjoyed by some people. It's just that these people will probably struggle to justify the price of it.
When it came to testing the other features of the unit I did not encounter any problems at all. Connections and buttons are laid out logically and are all easy to find. The remote control really brings it all together with a touch of a button.
The video up sampling does look a whole lot nicer than standard DVDs, but you will of course require a high definition TV as well, so add another two and half thousand to the price if you want a full HD big screen, thank you very much.
It's a hard road to walk designing a product that does it all. Considering all the different variables, will the user actually appreciate quality speakers? Is it worth including Blu-ray if it becomes more trouble than it's worth because discs are locking up? What features do these people want? And most importantly, what are they willing to pay for them?
They're all difficult questions which become difficult decisions in time. And honestly, I do not think AKAI has made a whole bunch of really bad ones, it's just that they sort of missed the boat when choosing a target audience, because unfortunately the people willing to spend such a large chunk of money on something like this really do want good speakers and a Blu-ray player inside.
Right then, it's time to tie this one up.
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