We'll do our best to approach our testing of the AVLabs Bedside Companion whilst keeping in mind that it's targeted at a novelty audience and not a hardcore user.
Whether you're a gamer, music lover or movie buff, it's important that the high frequencies are kept intact as much as possible.
In the case of this unit from AVLabs, we do not have a great deal to work with in terms of dedicated high-end frequency reproduction. The two 2.75" drivers are both full range, meaning they will receive the whole frequency being sent.
This method is easy to implement and is low cost; simple. One of the ways it achieves this is by eliminating an internal crossover network. Less parts means it's cheaper to make.
So, how well does the AVLabs unit reproduce high end frequencies? The short answer is not terribly well. There is a presence of 'some' high range frequencies, but they are wafer thin and fail to add any emotion to the music. I also suspect they would not venture very high into the upper frequency range, which is why the top end has a harsh and brittle quality.
Middle of the road
The mid-range frequencies are important in the roles that they play when reproducing drums and other percussion instruments and also the human voice largely.
Without having dedicated mid range drivers charged with the duty of reproducing mid range frequencies, this little system is going to struggle from the start I'm afraid.
During my testing the mid range sounded as it should, given the specs of the product. And that is it's largely absent from the experience.
But with such a small full range driver, of what I suspect to be marginal quality, the mid range is very hard to appreciate and fails to create any natural musical tones which should have been present during listening.
Bass is an all important factor with any sound system, whether it be for a dedicated music system or multi-purpose home theatre, right the way through to small bedside systems like the one I'm looking at today.
Much in the same way as the mid range frequencies, the low end is destined to suffer a similar fate.
Due to the very small size of the drivers being used here, gaining any useful low end is a pretty hard task. Even with the use of the two small bass ports located on either end of the unit, it's just not going to cut it and does not assist in adding the required punch to allow this to be a quality system for listening to music.
I'm not totally convinced that this 'uber budget' market sector is going to last very long. I personally think that given the design, packaging, shipping costs etc. of a product like this, it cannot be viable to manufacture something of such low quality. I just cannot imagine how it would be worth it in the long run, not to mention how important reputation is with these smaller companies.
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