MidiLand S4 3050M 2.1 Speaker Systemby Jim Warren on November 9, 2000 12:00 PM EST
The time from opening the box to listening to music for this system was incredibly short. The first thing out of the box is the users manual, which includes both illustrations and descriptions of the connections. Included in the box are two satellite speakers, the subwoofer/amplifiers, a power adapter (wall wart), two speaker cables with RCA connections, and one stereo line level cable with minijacks on each end.
The connection to the sound card is extremely straightforward—plug the green color coded plug into the green color coded jack on the sound card for front output. The only remaining connection is to plug the other end of the cable into another stereo minijack on the subwoofer/amplifier. This prevents flipping the stereo image and minimizes the number of connections, all leading to a speedier setup.
After removing the satellites from their small boxes, a choice has to be made. Depending on the listening environment, the speaker enclosures have different angles on the top (15°) and bottom (25°) faces to allow for a lower or higher sweet spot, respectively. For taller listeners, this helps get the sweet spot up to their ears, instead of just smacking them in the chest and having things sound bad as they are off axis of the stereo image. A little care is required to make sure that both are on the same angled face.
The nature of a small computer speaks induces a certain amount of directionality to the sound reproduction, as the drivers are smaller and the lower powers need to be more focus. This is fitting to a near field listening situation in which there is a limited number of people (usually one in a computing situation) listening to the system and therefore the sweet spot can be narrowed. This also benefits such 3D positioning techniques as A3D, and environmental audio effects such as EAX, whose algorithms are based on psycho acoustical perception at the sweet spot.
The satellites connect to the amplifier integrated into the subwoofer via two 4’ long RCA cables. The included speaker cables could be a little short for some setups, though they could be replaced with longer RCA cables. The cabling for the system is not the highest quality equipment—the gauge of the wire is fairly high (i.e. thin), and the connectors are molded plastic. This seems to be a sacrifice focused on keeping prices down, though at the relatively low power levels of the satellites, the wire is sufficient, though not optimal.