14.2.08

5.1 surround sound speakers: good or bad?

So I imagine that at least a few of you have 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound speakers and you're listening to me ranting on and on about how great mine are and you're just thinking, "Yeah, but you can't beat five speakers and a subwoofer!"  Right?

Anyhow, I was doing IT work today at a guy's house and he played me a few tracks on his Logitech 5.1 speakers.  He was really excited that the music sounded that good from the tiny speakers and that the bass was so powerful.

I, meanwhile, listened critically.

I'll describe the speakers first.  Each channel had a pair of 3" cones, except the subwoofer, which I didn't get to see very well. 

I listened and this is what I heard:

Bass: Loud, powerful, but undefined.  It was more boom than actual notes, even on the bass guitar.
Low midrange: not there.  There was a HUGE gap in the frequencies between the subwoofer and the mids.
Midrange: OK.  I felt it lacked some presence, but other than that it was fine.  Didn't get to hear electric guitars on it, which would have helped.
Highs: Nonexistent.  I mean, you could hear high notes, etc., but there was a definite frequency drop.  This took a lot of the 'air' out of the vocals.

And the results: I still like my CS-G403's better.  You knew I was going to say this =]

Note: I'm not against surround sound, just bad speakers.  Get me 5 CS-G403's or NS-10's and I'll have the most amazing surround setup ever.  However, most people assume that they have a lot of speakers and a subwoofer, so it must sound good.  That's what is not true.

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