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Audio Quality

Audio is good in most respects all around. There is no LFE decoding in CoolDVD that I can find, so users with powerful subwoofer speaker systems won't see a huge increase in bass response over users with lesser speakers. I am of the opinion lately that DVD audio is rather like DVD Features: The players in the industry are all settling on standards, and most are beginning to sound very similar; with only a few being noticeably superior to the rest.

CoolDVD offers an industry standard array of sound choices, including Multispeaker selections, 3D audio, SP/DIF output to amplifiers, and headphone support. DirectSound 3D is not listed, but a generic 3D mode is and works well on 2 speakers.

3D Spatialization testing was unimpressive. Only a few players really seem to carefully separate the sounds from front to rear in 4 or 6 speaker downmix mode. CoolDVD had a hint of it, but not incredibly distinguishable or noteworthy. It was very clean, with no front/rear fade issues, just simply that the rears sounded very similar to the fronts, rather than clearly different as true 3D surround should be.

The Bass was fairly crisp and with good power despite the apparent lack of LFE (As stated in previous reviews and the Inmatrix DVD FAQ, LFE is Low Frequency Effects, it is the LOW bass tones, and if the player doesn't support LFE decoding, some very low BASS sounds aren't played on your speakers). High tones were decent, but not outstanding by any means. On some titles the highs seemed slightly muffled. Glass breaking in The Crow was noticeably less clear than it could have been, and several other titles showed a similar flattening of the high tones. Its not really that noticeable, but other players like PowerDVD and WinDVD have a ringing clarity to the high tones that CoolDVD does not equal.

The lack of Hardware support by the player made it impossible to test headphones on the Celeron, so the P3 did it all. The testing on Pulp Fiction was clear and surrounding, with good clarity. The larger room settings seemed to echo excessively, but selecting the room mode that sounds best to the user is the key to headphone use anyway, so the echo problem should not be a worry. It did not have the dominating feel of SoftDVD's headphone output, but seemed enjoyable if you are a user who likes DVD on headphones.

CoolDVD sounds very good on every title I tested. Clear, loud, and with a nice balance to the sounds. It is not the best 3D surround, nor the most perfect DVD audio of any player, but it is a very adequate sound experience that will not disappoint. The addition of better 3D sound modes (DirectSound 3D, Aureal A3D) and some cleaning up of the high tone output would put it up to peak levels, but it is perfectly useable as is for the most part. More than adequate on audio!

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