Aztech AMS 5.1 Speakers - Page 3

Sounding Good?
Okay, let’s see how it sounds. As with any audio quality tests, a lot of this is subjective and relative, as I don’t possess any audio metering equipment to measure the frequency response curves of the speakers. Although, Aztech did bundle in a good brochure with technical evaluation results of the system (indicating frequency response stats, etc), I was not inclined to refer to these to remain as objective as possible. Ultimately, I believe it is what you hear that counts.

What I did was compare it to my old Cambridge FPS speaker system and also to my existing unorthodox setup of an old Denon Hi-Fi amp (about 10 years old) paired with 02 x front JVC 2-way speakers + 02 x rear Sony SRS-88 active-speakers. I actually preferred my existing setup to Cambridge setup, because it gave much more depth without sacrificing clarity (owing to the clear treble from my Denon Hi-Fi amp). However, I did recognize my existing setup fares badly with a sub-standard bass.

I must also qualify that I use my machine mainly for games (especially Q3Test) and surfing the net. Occasionally, I also do listen to various MP3s and play DVDs in my room (if my TV in the living room is unavailable) and place higher priority on clarity of sound rather than a strong 'bassy' effect.

When I first powered on the Aztech 5.1 speakers, it issues a small but deep “pop” sound from the sub-woofer beneath my PC. I then suspected that perhaps such a relatively high-powered output system may be susceptible to introduce unwanted Gaussian noise or static to the audio. Hence, I performed a crude test by turning the volume settings all the way up, but was pleased to note that I could virtually not hear any hissing at all.

Secondly, I launched Gamespy in attempt to test with my favourite multi-player Q3Test game. I was immediately struck by the power of the bass when the “Welcome to Gamespy” voice message was output. The bass is exceptionally stronger than what I was ever accustomed to. Undaunted, I launched Q3 on my system and nearly reeled back when the sound of the first rocket blast hit me!!  Man, my whole desktop was rumbling (like Godzilla had just passed the building) as the immensely powered sub-woofer was just placed under my feet, above my computer!! I am truly impressed with what this sub-woofer can output and have no qualms getting the system for this sub-woofer alone!! Truly, it you’re typically into heavy rock / fragging and long for a rumbling experience in the PC environment, this sub-woofer delivers above expectations. However, in the end I had to tone down both the bass and volume on the sub-woofer as it typically over-shadowed the other satellites.

But sub-woofer aside, I did find the Aztech satellites slightly lacking in clarity. I found that the satellites are typically strong in the mid-range but do not offer as pure a treble as the Cambridge FPS ones. However, overall I still preferred the Aztech satellites over the Cambridge, as the sound does sound fuller but still a tad mellow compared to my unorthodox setup of the Denon + JVC + Sony. This was all done in the normal stereo mode to allow a fair and pure basis for comparison.

Thirdly, I then cycled between all the various resampling modes to note their effects on the sound output.  It was then that I noted that the Aztech AMS doesn’t support Dolby Digital decoding in its amp, although it was built as a 5.1 speaker system!! This was a main gripe that I had and I felt was a cardinal overlook in my opinion.  Granted that Dolby is rather sticky in issuing its certification for such a feature, however I just felt any 5.1 speaker system wouldn’t be complete without having hardware-based DD decoding. Hence, in order to really hear true discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital sound from all their DVDs, you’ll have to depend on software decoding such as Win-DVD coupled with a sound-card like the Skywell Magic 5.1 that offers a 5-speaker break-out cable. Thus, I still can’t test my SPDIF output via my SBLive!! Deluxe…

However, I did find that the 2-5.1 or 4-5.1 (utilizing Aztech’s Advanced Theatre Surround Processing technology) resampling mode does offer a better surround feel than normal stereo / 4-speaker mode whilst watching DVD movies and playing games. But it definitely isn’t a mode for music lovers, as it tends to muffle the sound slightly to achieve its surround effect. The various equalizer modes also work decently and offer distinctive audio ambience. 

In summary, I did find the audio quality good but tends to be a bit lacking in clarity in my opinion (despite boosting the treble). However, I must admit that once I reverted to my existing 4-speaker system, it was immediately apparent that my sound had lost nearly all its bass owing to the lack of a powerful sub-woofer like the Aztech’s. Like I said, Aztech’s sub-woofer adds so much more to the gaming / home-theatre experience that I would have easily bought it separately for my use…

Wow, anything else to add??

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