Date: Thursday , February 10, 2011
After unpacking the product, we have to say that Antec has created one of the most unique and best looking sets of PC speakers, or any speakers for that matter, that we have ever seen. When we think of " typical PC speakers," we can quickly recall past sets we have had, such as the original Cambridge Soundworks. That set had very small, cube-shaped satellite speakers. They were also putty-white and became discolored over time.
As stated in the specifications, the Soundscience speakers are made of anodized aluminum to reduce vibration. Upon picking up a single speaker, anyone can feel that these are very heavy, durable, and solidly-built speakers. Its appearance is quite unique and attractive; it resemble small bullhorns like those used to speak to medium-sized crowds of people. We weighed one of the speakers using a calibrated digital scale. It weighed 23 ounces.
If you have only seen product pictures of the soundscience speakers, you may not be able to tell that the collar around the outside of both speakers is made of plastic. The collar's coating is obviously intended to resemble a chrome finish, but it is a mismatch in quality compared to the speakers' solid aluminum housing. The front of each speaker has a honeycombed grill covered with taut black fabric.
Looking on the backs of each speaker and the subwoofer, you can see that a single standard RCA connector to open-ended wire is all that is needed to connect each channel to the subwoofer. We are glad to see that there are no proprietary connections like those used by Corsair in its SP2500 speaker set. If you wanted to buy longer runs of RCA cables for your speakers, they can be found online under $10.00 per set in much longer lengths, or in retail stores for a few dollars more.
The cable that connects the speakers' control pod to the subwoofer is an 8-pin male to male mini-din cable. These were once used to connect Apple printers and computers together in the 90s. We were able to find these cables in various lengths easily online, but we were not able to find them in retail stores locally. You might find them easily where you live.
Something else we immediately noticed when examining the connection choices on the back of the subwoofer is that one can connect standard RCA jacks, 1/8 inch stereo mini-jack, or digital optical cable for sound input and you should achieve similar playback results with all three.
This is excellent to have multiple connectivity choices because potential buyers will not be excluded from choosing these speakers because they believe they may have incompatible device connections. A user may think of these at first as simply a manner of connecting his PC or DVD player to the soundscience system, but an MP3 player, IPod, or any other device with compatible stereo connectivity can be easily connected as well.
We were sorry to see that Antec/Soundscience did not include a headphone out jack on either its control pod or subwoofer. This would have been another great connectivity option for both PC and console gamers, as well as late night movie watchers.
If you have ever installed PC speakers or a home stereo before, setting up the soundscience system will be easy and familiar. If you have not ever set up such a system, it will not take long for the steps to become intuitive.
We unpacked everything in the retail box, placed the speakers on our testing desk in their desired positions and then we chose subwoofer positioning. We like to place the sub in a corner for the best reverb effect, but it can also be placed under a desk without too much loss of space. The size of the satellites leave a fairly small footprint on the desktop. Each speaker is the size of a large coffee mug laid on its side. The speakers have built in stands that angle the speakers upward 35 degrees.
We plugged the included RCA cables into the back of both satellites and then placed the included control pod to our right behind the mouse pad. The control pod is small and takes up very little space. It only weighs four ounces. The control pod connects to the subwoofer with the included 8-pin mini-din cable.
We did not see replacement cables for neither the speakers nor the control pod offered yet on the soundscience website. We feel that replacement accessories or specifications for adequate substitutes should be listed on the company's website so as to coincide with the product's launch.
Next, we connected the open ended portion of our speaker RCA cables to the subwoofer. We then added the mini-din cable for the control pod. Lastly, we used a male RCA to male RCA cable to connect our sound card to the female input on the sub. This whole process was very quick and trouble-free. It probably took longer to type than it did to actually setup.
There is an on/off switch on the back of the subwoofer which we very much like. At the end of our daily usage, the whole system can be switched off. Klipsch removed this type of switch on its very popular Promedia 2.1 set in its last product revision.
Our test system is as follows: