In the Forums...
Posted: April 18, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Installation / Setup
Usually when a speaker system comes in, we're in no hurry to set it up. Why? There is always the process of removing the old system and after that's done; there is usually a mess to clean up. Afterwards, there still is the unpacking process which is sometimes quite time consuming and always seems to leave behind a massive amount of paper, boxes, and twist-ties. And then, the system can finally be installed, which takes a while on its own.
We were actually ambitious to install this speaker system because we had not (up to this point) had a 5.1 system on this PC -- a P2@464 with a Sound Blaster Live! card from Creative Labs. The bundle of parts looks overwhelming, but in all honesty, it's not too bad. The "CM-7" Control Module hooks into the subwoofer and the speakers hook into the subwoofer, then the speakers can be positioned, the sound card is hooked up to the speakers (using outputs 1 and 2, if available) and the adapter is plugged in -- that's it! Of course there are other little details like positioning the huge "Biodome-esque" adapter and mounting the control panel... then of course, the clean up!
It is hard to be really impressed by a PC sound system when you've been exposed to serious home and car audio systems, but the speakers surprisingly did impress us. With clear highs and lows, awesome styling, and excellent controls (MidiLand appears to be king of this domain), this system seemed overall to be a very nice deal for the ~$155 price tag.
The only clear problem is the lack of power. Despite the 50 RMS watt subwoofer, bass just doesn't hit nearly as hard as it seemed to on the MidiLand 4100 speakers. Maybe it is because we're used to the thumps of the 4100s by now or maybe it's because the system is just different. Regardless, it appears that there will be no more shaking the windows, no more rocket fights in Quake3 that knock books off the shelves, and no more neighbors calling up at 3 AM... (okay so these are a bit extreme). That's not to say that the speakers are not good or are not powerful. They still have plenty of power and definitely enough to please the average PC user. Another big advantage is that with 5.1, you will get the same amount of volume "delivered" to your ears without cranking up the total volume, which appears to make this speaker system more considerate of others in the area.
But we needed some real tests to put this system under the microscope...