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The Tests

How do we decide what to do with a speakerset to really determine its worthiness for PC-DVD use? How would you decide? You probably would play some of your favorite MP3s, CDs, and DVDs; and decide if you liked the sound. CONGRATULATIONS! You have just mastered what reviewers all over the web and in tech magazines have been getting paid for! (Well, some of the OTHER ones anyway!)

So I decided to pick some DVD titles with sounds that can really torture an audio system. The "Helicopter Explosion" scene in The Matrix is a fave of mine. When the big explosion hits, if you have volume up at any appreciable level, most speakers will really struggle if LFE BASS is enabled on the player. It reaches a very low bass frequency that will cause distortion popping in many speakers. Another movie with some good torture testing is T2-Ultimate Edition. The audio in this film is very well done in its remastered version. Very clear high-tone music, playing behind many low gunshots and explosions to challenge the other end of the spectrum. For audio clarity, we wanted music. Sleepy Hollow stepped up nicely, as did Gladiator, and The Patriot has a beautifully full and clear orchestral soundtrack. X-MEN was also tested extensively for its general range of sounds.

In The Matrix, it was positively without question: The 160 watt Klipsch subwoofer positively shook the room! Sitting on a couch fully 12 feet away from the subwoofer, the BASS was full, clear, and devastating enough to feel in the cushions! There is a marking on the subwoofer for "Normal output level". I generally run about 10-15% past this level as I'm a low-bass fan. The Promedias don't bat an eyelash! Now, that's not to say they are perfect or indestructible. Cranking subwoofer output to max will give you a very powerful bass blast, but it can cause popping at very high volumes (Bad to hear and bad for the speakers!), and is excessive. Volume levels on the explosion were loud enough to cause coke cans on the computer table to topple during explosion scenes and yet the sounds were clear through the spectrum. The highs still had a nice RING to them, while the bass shook the walls. T2-Ultimate was also quite a blast, and the bass drums of the theme music positively bring tears to your eyes at 2/3 volume.

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