For testing music playback I used a variety of sources,
including Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy (CD), The
Matrix soundtrack (CD), The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack (CD),
Black Hawk Down soundtrack (CD), Fellowship of the Ring
soundtrack (CD), The Two Towers soundtrack (CD), Medal Of
Honor: Allied Assault (128Kbps MP3) and a few dozen other
MP3s from the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and The
Matrix soundtracks. As with all speaker systems, impressions
will vary to some degree depending on the type of music you
listen to, with my preference being instrumental soundtracks
for the most part (if the partial listing didn’t give it
system performed pretty respectably with the material I
played on it, though at times it did seem to sound…
artificial. Output was rather clear and distortion wasn’t
noticeable until about 50% or more depending on the tracks
being played, with tracks that have a bias towards bass
showing up distortion first.
At lower volume levels though the system performed
pleasantly enough though, certainly no worse than either the
Inspire 6700 or 5300, perhaps even better.
Overall music playback with the ZXR-750 was average enough,
which for the price is pretty good.
one of the main attractions of the ZXR-750 is its ability to
play DTS-ES and Dolby Digital Surround EX titles, both of
which provide 7.1 output (using either matrixed or discrete
rear center channels). A
listing of Dolby Digital Surround EX titles can be found at
Dolby Labs, whereas a DTS-ES listing is available at
Digital Theater Systems.
For DVD playback on the PC I used
PowerDVD XP and
WinDVD 4 in either 5.1 or 7.1 output mode, depending on
the soundcard used to test. I also used an external Sony DVD
Player that was connected to a SoundBlaster Extigy (Hardware
Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder), which was used in 5.1 output
mode. S/PDIF Output support was untested as the ZXR-750
features no S/PDIF Inputs.
DVDs I tested included: Pearl Harbor, The Fellowship of the
Ring (Extended ed.), The Two Towers, Se7en, Gladiator, Black
Hawk Down, 24 Season 1, Band of Brothers, Minority Report,
among others, which covered a wide range of formats such as
Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Digital Surround EX as well as
Sound reproduction with the system was good with clear
vocals and positioning. As per before the mid-range was a
bit muddy, nothing too offsetting though. The Subwoofer
offered fine bass output watching on the PC, though it felt
lacking in power watching in the larger living room, where
I’d be seated much further back from the system.
SurFE (For 5.1 inputs – Audigy 2, Extigy) added some nice
immersion value to certain audio tracks, for example, the
scene in “The Fellowship of the Ring” where the Moria Orcs
are scuttling from the ceiling/floor, which was rather
impressive. With regard to using the Digifire 7.1/Revolution
7.1 I was able to enjoy proper Dolby Digital Surround EX 7.1
channel output. You may recall from my Inspire 6700 (6.1)
review, I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed with the use of
the extra rear channel, but with 7.1 the added channel
better reinforced the surround effect than a single rear
centre does, particularly in action movies, it just drew me
more into the film.
controls provided a decent degree of flexibility, providing
Master, Centre, Rear & Sub volume knobs – which makes the
system less reliant on the mixers provided with your DVD
Player/Decoder, should you want to adjust volume levels to
optimise your listening experience.
Overall DVD playback with the system was pleasant enough for
viewing at your PC, with the 2 rear centre channels
providing a more immersive experience, though for larger
rooms the Subwoofer might be lacking some power.