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VideoLogic ZXR-500 5.1 Speaker System
Author : Wayne Date : 29th April 2002
...Product ZXR-500 5.1 Speakers
...Manufacturer VideoLogic
...Supplier VideoLogic
...Price £79.99

 

 

 

 

Introduction :

.... .

As a home entertainment centre the PC has very much come of age and with so many high quality audio products available on the market the only real obstacle to owning a fully fledged home theatre and gaming behemoth is purely one of finances. At least that used to be the case but with companies like Creative Labs and Videologic offering their 5.1 ready Sound Blaster Live, Audigy and Sonic Fury cards at sub £50 price tags the only remaining difficulty was to get a speaker system capable of doing justice to their capabilities without needing to remortgage the house.

Today I want to take a look at a speaker system from VideoLogic that, on paper at least, removes that final hurdle from the equation. VideoLogic's ZXR-500 (No it's not a motorcycle!) is a full 5.1 speaker system that offers a more than respectable 65Watts RMS, it comes in a sleek silver livery and retails at, would you believe, under £80!

No doubt many of you are familiar with VideoLogic's award winning DigiTheatre and Sirocco speaker range. These speakers are highly regarded in the industry and certainly demonstrate that VideoLogic aren't lacking when it comes to designing top quality audio solutions. In fact it's the development of these high end speakers that has pioneered the creation of the ZXR-500 and in their own words "this compact powerhouse has been engineered to outperform systems costing twice as much.With five powerful discrete satellite speakers and a mighty 25W RMS subwoofer, ZXR-500 pumps out some serious sound". We shall see.

Of course a quick walk along the shelves of your local PC retailer will confirm that cheap speakers are nothing new, in fact just yesterday I was looking at a boxed 4.1 setup (4 satellite speakers + Subwoofer) that claimed an almost ridiculous 600Watt output for less than £35. I asked if I could hear it in action and the manager duly obliged while I stood their smiling. Output at best was around 10Watts RMS, the satellites were tinny and badly overdriven and the bass boomed wildly along with the sound of unsecured cables rattling away inside the enclosure. There's no such thing as a free lunch but this God-awful system barely passed as a quick snack. So it seems you very often get what you pay for, which didn't bode well for the ZXR-500s. At a mere £79.99 I was bracing myself for some pretty poor performance and some very crude design short cuts.

Let's get the obligatory specs out of the way first.

Minimum System Requirements: Six-channel output - DVD Player with a built-in Dolby digital and/or DTS decoder; separate Dolby digital and/or DTS decoder; or 5.1-channel soundcard running 6-channel software DVD with inbuilt decoding. Stereo output - PC with sound card, or any audio source with line-level output.

Output power: Total 65W RMS; fronts,rears and centre 8W RMS; subwoofer 25W RMS

Input sensitivity: 350 mV

Frequency response: Amplifier < 20 Hz to 20kHz

Power Supply: UK/Europe: 220-230V AC 50 Hz

Total Packaged Weight: 10.6 Kg

Cables supplied: Three 3.5 mm stereo jack to stereo phono cables and integrated speaker cables.

Approvals: CE marked. Compliant with the EMC and Low Voltage Directives (89/336/EEC and 73/23/EEC).

Minimum System Requirements: PC with sound card, or any audio source with line-level output.

Warranty: Two years

Technical support: Technical hotline and online support at www.videologic.com

SUBWOOFER

Wood construction cabinet housing 5" subwoofer with tuned front and rear bass ports. Front mounted volume controls for precise audio tuning.

Cabinet: Wood construction cabinet with front and side tuned bass ports.

Drive unit: 5" cone

Impedance: 4 Ohm.

Amplifiers: Integrated amplifier

Power supply: Integral low-noise power supply

Power output: 25W RMS

Controls: Individual volume controls on front panel for front, rear, centre and subwoofer, Power on/off (located on rear of subwoofer).

Connectors: Six phono inputs, five phono outputs

Dimensions (mm): 165 (w) x 250 (h) x 340 (d)

SATELLITE SPEAKERS

Five compact speaker units with powerful 3" drive units.

Cabinets: Moulded ABS construction cabinets

Drive units: 3" cone

Impedance: 6 Ohm.

Power output: 8W RMS each

Connectors: Captive speaker cables with phono connectors (3m front and centre, 8m rear)

Dimensions (mm): 85 (w) x 112 (h) x 98 (d)

All speaker cones are fully magnetically shielded

 

A quick flick through the specs immediately drew my attention to a couple of points that I speculated may be an issue with performance. Firstly no separate tweeters. With only 3" drivers handling the midrange and the high end I wondered just how these things were going to cope at the high end. The other things was the seemingly meager 5" bass speaker. Surely nothing with a 5" driver can possibly hope to reproduce the kind of tight, throaty lows I expect from a quality speaker system even if it does feature twin tuned bass ports. Well, the proof of the pudding all that.

Before we move on to the testing let's have a closer look at what you get.

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