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New speakers.

Alastair Grant | Tuesday 17 February 2004

I have just upgraded the speakers on my PC. Until recently they were very low range speakers, which were persistently conking out (one too many kicks, over the years).

So as I have a nice Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card, I thought I would get one of these acentric 7.1 surround systems. Then after some pondering, I decided no. My TV stuff only has 5.1, and even so, I don't think I own anything with more than 6 channels of sound.

Next idea was a 5.1 Dolby Digital system. Then it slowly dawned on me. I don't need film audio, with a centre channel for speech, main fronts for music and such, and rear effects.

I need all-around equal response. I don't watch films on my computer, that's why I have a 500W amp and Widescreen TV for. I use my PC to play games, and to listen to music when I do other things. So what I need is a good frequency response 20Hz-20KHz ideally - from all directions. Dolby Digital doesn't have a rear sub-woofer, you only get the mid and high range from the rear.

I don't think I could cope playing Operation Flashpoint and not hearing the distant rumble of a helicopter from my rear speakers. What have I done in the end? I've got two 2.1 and combined with good old analogue sound to get a 4.2 setup. Bliss.

I decided to buy two sets of Hercules 2.100 Silver speakers. Boasting 30Hz-20KHz for a good price. A measly 12.5W per satellite, but I don't need more than that on my PC. The punch from them isn't exactly great, and my pre-amp has had to been shunted up by about 3 times.

The subwoofer has a high cut-off of a staggering 150Hz, meaning the noise isn't very well distributed as my sub is underneath my desk. For reference, my main sub-woofer on my hi-fi has a cut off of 50Hz. This of course, is hardly surprising as the satellite speakers on these are tiny 1.5" thingys, on my Hi-Fi my main speakers are the same size as the sub's on these.

But all in all, better than my previous setup - I think. Now we get down to Hercules. Never buy anything from them. One of the subs wasn't working so I popped off the cover and had a butchers. Loose connection. On closer examination the connection in question had been heated so high, the surrounding plastic had been melted and the connector pushed through the board.

A bit of de-soldering later and I hard wired the sub speaker straight onto the pitiful PCB amp. The production level of these speakers are shoddy, and I wouldn't be surprised if they just fell apart. You would have a hard time passing GCSE Electronics if you produced that as course work.

Anyway, they work now, and seem to cope with an adequate level of noise - think the family will appreciate the lower out-put.

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