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  Videologic ZXR-750 7.1 Speakers review

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Satellites

The ZXR-750 comes with 7 identical satellites sporting 3-inch cones, each of them offering 8 Watts RMS of power. For the price, the satellites performed acceptably with nothing really to distinguish from those of similar systems, i.e. the mid-range was somewhat muddy, bass & treble were sufficient. Distortion in the satellites wasn’t noticeable up to about 50% of the Master volume, which is pretty good overall though.

 

SurFE

The ZXR-750 can provide 7.1 playback from 5.1 sources by using its built-in up-mixing feature – SurFE (Surround Field Enhancement), which no doubt may prove useful to those of you with a 5.1 Soundcard (there is no capability to up-mix 2/2.1 or 4/4.1-channel sources however). The image beneath illustrates how the system handles playback of 7.1, 6.1 & 5.1 “sources” (this is determined by what the ConnX.1 knob is set to, not the amount of channels being used by them it should be noted):

As the diagram illustrates, no up-mixing is necessary when using a 7.1 input, e.g. Revolution 7.1 & Digifire 7.1. For a 6.1 input the additional rear channel is created from the other rear channel. With a 5.1 input, SurFE is used to generate 2 additional rear channels based on a mix of the surround left/right channels.

The generated channels work effectively enough with DVD playback and enhanced the surround effect very nicely with several titles I tried. For gaming purposes I’m less excited about up-mixing however. As you’ll know from previous reviews I’m not a great fan of up-mixing features, particularly when it comes to 3D Audio supporting games (given that generated channels are inevitably not positioned as intended).

This of course raises the question; if you don’t want to use SurFE what can you do about it? You may recall that with the Inspire 6700 that that had a 5.1 -> 6.1 switch that allowed you to easily enable/disable up-mixing features – the ZXR-750 however doesn’t feature such a switch. I found 2 methods to do this myself: 1) simply unplug both rear satellites when you don’t require the up-mixing 2) instead set the ConnX.1 knob to 7.1.

Overall it’s a nice enough feature for those with a 5.1 Audio device, though disabling it if you don’t want it proved a bit awkward.

 

Test System

·         AMD Athlon XP 2400+

·         256MB DDR RAM

·         GeForce FX 5600 Ultra/Radeon 9700 Pro

·         Abit NV7-S 2.0 (APU not tested)

·         SoundBlaster Audigy 2

·         M-Audio Revolution 7.1

·         Hercules Digifire 7.1

·         Windows 2000 Service Pack 4

·         PowerDVD XP (Dolby Digital Surround EX decoding, bundled with Digifire 7.1)

·         WinDVD 4 (Dolby Digital Surround EX decoding, bundled with Revolution 7.1)

All latest Drivers/patches were installed for the Soundcards/DVD decoders used. It was also tested on my living room DVD setup, which consists of:

·         Creative SoundBlaster Extigy

·         Sony DVD player

·         Philips 32” Widescreen TV

 



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