Ok, so the phase
is now fixed and the bass thief has left the building, but what’s the deal with
the highs? I was acutely aware of a roll-off of about 6dB per octave starting
in the 6-8Khz range. This would put 20Khz down about 12dB, which explains the
lack of hiss when the volume is wide open. While cymbals and human sibilance (ch
and sh sounds) weren’t totally removed, they were hard to hear and gave
the sound an AM radio type quality. Notice that I only messed with the left speaker,
not the right and both units sound very well matched to each other. Mmmmmm…
it struck me; these are flat-panel bi-polar speakers. Sound comes
out the front but a portion of the sound also deliberately comes out the rear.
Turning these puppies around looks stupid, but illustrates the point. Nearly full
volume emanates from the rear. How can bi-polar speakers sound good near anything?
The bottom line is they can’t and they never were designed to. In all my high-end
listening, all bi-polar setups needed several feet of breathing room around each
speaker to sound their best. Any large object placed between the radiating pair
was an absolute no-no. So I experimented further.
moved the speakers so that each satellite had a 1-foot diameter of free space.
Tada! Now, along with much-improved imaging, some high frequencies returned and
that mid-rangy nasal AM radio quality completely disappeared. But wait a minute.
These are marketed as computer speakers, not home stereo speakers—what gives?
Basically, the very design precludes any flat panel speaker from sounding it’s
best in a PC arrangement. The need for sound to radiate in the front and rear
directions, in a figure eight shape, makes their use impractical. Of course, you
certainly couldn’t affix these panels to a wall because the rear reflective sound
would "beat up" the exposed driver material and cause output cancellation.
Simple physics taking place here.
Actually, the subwoofer
is an amazing piece. While not very large, it can really pump out the lows, with
50Hz not being out of reach. At a distance of two feet, I measured an output of
103-104dB SPL. Combined with the satellites, this translated into a useable sustained
output of 100dB for the typical user. I commend AVB in managing this much undistorted
volume from approximately 32 square inches of exposed plastic. The puck has a
good feel and the controls "oozed" as if they were made of much sterner
for $84.95 and selling for as little as $79.95, the AVB Sonix S-2000 is a frustrating
product. Not really meant for your desktop, they can have a certain wow factor
in a small home theater setup as the satellites and subwoofer is fully shielded.
Because this price range is incredibly competitive, the S-2000’s face off against
such giants as the Altec Lansing ACS-45.1’s and even my long time favorite, the
While not a completely bad speaker, the overall sound quality and usability seems
to point to pricing these in the 40 to 50 buck range rather than near the three
figure mark. Therefore, I’m not recommending the Sonix S-2000’s at this time.
above reflects S-2000 set #1. After contacting AVB, I was asked to ship the first
set back and they were shipping me a new set. The first set was dated as 1999,
week #9 and the second set is dated as 1999, week #38. Installation was much easier,
not requiring nearly as much force to push and snap the stands together. The moment
came to power them on and listen. What a bummer; they were out of phase too. All
other sound aspects were exactly the same save one. There was an additional hum
in the satellites. Placing my ear next to the sub enclosure, I heard no hum at
all so I have to conclude that the problem lies in the satellite amp or capacitive
filter housed inside. The high frequencies were noticeably rolled off and the
bass still needs an extra 3-4dB of loudness to give the full "slam"
What transpired next caught me
slightly off guard. I sent word to Santa Fe Springs that all was not well with
the second sample. After a few hours a received a phone call from the chief tester!
He wanted to confirm the problem existed and talk about solutions. Well whatdya
know, a company that cares—how ‘bout that! Steps are being taken to remedy all
my rants and I must say I’m quite impressed. AVB appears to be committed to quality
and I can’t wait to see what develops in the coming weeks.