Articles

soundscience rockusآ™ 3D | 2.1 Speaker Review

Author:Earl Keim

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , February 10, 2011

Antec diversifies into audio with a new brand named "soundscience designed by Antec." Its first and currently only product is the rockus™ 3D | 2.1 speaker system. While the guys at soundscience aren't much on capitalization, let's see if they took the time to build a solid set of speakers for your PC.
Many PC sound enthusiasts have limited space on their home or office desktops. They simply cannot accommodate large speakers and stereo system components, but they still want to have quality sound reproduction as well as multiple connectivity options when they are in front of their PCs. In the last few years, new PC speakers products suited to the above criteria have been scarce or non-existent. Fortunately, this situation has finally begun to change for the better.

We have decided to continue our evaluations of new and innovative PC sound and speaker solutions with a product created by another respected and established company in the PC peripheral industry.

Antec is a well-known and trusted manufacturer of stylized PC cases, quiet cooling solutions, and reliable power supplies. This global company began in 1986 and has its primary headquarters in Fremont, California.

Just as Corsair, did with its HS1 USB gaming headset, Antec has decided to expand its wide range of product offerings to include its first ever PC sound product. Today, we will evaluate the company's soundscience rockus 3D 2.1 speaker set in order to see what it can bring to our PC gaming, music, and movie experience. The unusual name "rockus" is perhaps a subliminal way of telling us the company intends to rock us with its first foray into the PC audio world.

Antec/soundscience has incorporated what it calls 3Dsst into its new product. This is:

...a suite of DSP (digital sound processing) algorithms that create a virtual surround sound experience from 2.1 stereo speakers. The technology analyzes the frequency content and pan/positioning of sounds in the incoming audio stream, and then uses certain types of filtering and phasing to widen the sound stage and create the effect of listening to a much larger surround speaker system.

Much of the above may not mean much to you, so we intend to test the speaker set just as we would any other under normal, daily usage. We are very curious to see how successful and/or innovative Antec has been in creating its first audio product for what has been a previously ignored product segment for the company.

Product Pricing and Packaging

Antec has created a new, separate subsidiary and website for its new speaker set, soundscience products. The site has product specifications, technical support information, and online product ordering directly from the company or third party vendors.

The soundscience speakers are priced at $249.99 on the company's product ordering page. The cheapest of the six shipping methods offered is $8.86 UPS ground. Amazon.com offers the same price of $249.99 with free shipping through a third party vendor. Newegg offers the speakers for $249.99 as well but shipping is $19.99. In the past, we have found that some product manufacturers typically price their products 10 to 20% higher than third party vendors, so it is refreshing to see Antec be competitive with its new product launch. The speakers have a two year limited warranty on parts and labor.

The set we received had a plain brown outer shipping box with large red lettering simply stating, "soundscience" with "rockus 3D/2.1" printed much smaller in the bottom left corner. We are glad the company sleeved the retail box inside as our set's outer packaging took a bit of punishment in shipping.

The front of the retail box shows one of the two speakers life-sized and an enlargement of another that will certainly draw the attention of shoppers browsing for new speakers. The back of the box explains the unusual construction of the satellites and subwoofer, and we will discuss those characteristics later in the review. We should point out that everything inside the retail box was packed very securely. Each component was wrapped separately in plastic and then placed in molded Styrofoam that also protected the subwoofer in between.