Movie decoding is handled comfortably here with support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic 2, DTS and DTS 96/24 hardware decoding - definitely no lack of support here. The Z-5450's handled movie soundtracks very comfortably with no issues of dialogue clarity from the centre channel of any digital noise from the amplifier. Our previous concern about the subwoofer's ability to play low frequency bass notes have arisen again here with demanding film soundtracks at times asking a little more than the unit can deliver resulting in the usual garbled fluffy port distortion, which are characteristic of this design in many different shapes and forms. However, having said that, and for the most part, movie quality performance was a first rate foray into multi-channel surround happiness.
As the demands of movies are generally the same sonically as music when comparing basic characteristics, the same pros and cons do for the most part apply here, with the foremost concern being bass performance but it probably wouldn't be enough to steer me away from this system.
Under normal listening conditions, we would recommend this system to movie lovers primarily for the myriad of input options and decoder freedom, but it's really a throw up when comparing these to the Megaworks for example, which possess a fantastic subwoofer but have zero option's for digital connection i.e. no decoder which will automatically be enough to put people off. So it becomes a question of how important bass is stacked up against all the other important features, which is a subjective decision that comes down to personal preference.
Given the Z-5450's well above average music reproduction and movie capability, this should be a walk in the park. Game testing was conducted using a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 soundcard which is more than adequate for game testing. We played Quake 3 & 4 as well as a stratagem game to test more ambient sound effects. We were very satisfied with the surround positioning provided by the Z-5450's, which were an enveloping type experience.
Performance in this area is less a matter of fidelity and more a call for loud firm bass and strong clear sound from the satellites and in both departments the Z-5450's delivered faultlessly. We must say that it is quite clear that the Z-5450's were designed primarily as a games and movie system with music probably coming in third. We also found that bass could be exaggerated more than enough to satisfy most casual listeners with only the Klipsch 4.1 being better suited, in our opinion.
Another strong performance showing in this department leads us to our final thoughts.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [Installation and Configuration]
- Page 4 [Technical View - Overview]
- Page 5 [Technical View - Satellites]
- Page 6 [Technical View - Subwoofer]
- Page 7 [Sound Quality Tests - Music]
- Page 8 [Sound Quality Tests - Movie and Gaming]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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