Setup

The nature of this review is to examine solely the speakers, though a moment should be dedicated to the card used for review. In a computer based decoding situation, now becoming more prevalent as six channel audio cards provide an economical alternative to an external decoder, the sound card plays a role in the speaker performance.

The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card used for the review system provided a basis for the six channel concept VideoLogic used to design the system, as it is the same card they distribute under their name in Europe for use with the product. VideoLogic also offers the option of bundling the card with the speakers under the name DigiTheatre PC for European distribution, and includes the necessary multichannel DVD software to access the six outputs.

However, in the States, the assembly of this package is left to the user. When we intitiated our evaluation, the full system was not readily commercially available; the six channel card and speakers were on the market, but getting the WinDVD software that took advantage of all six outputs proved to be difficult. Finally, an OEM version was acquired that enabled the system to work. Now, the software has been made commercially available, though the system still has to be "assembled" from multiple suppliers.

The speakers were also tested using the Windows 98 platform; the six channel capabilities for the Santa Cruz are currently unavailable under Windows 2000. Most speaker systems are fairly platform independent, though now that the decoders are being integrated into soundcards, these compatibility issues arise. Once the card was configured and working, it was time to setup the speakers.

Opening the box started with pulling out the cables for hooking the system up. Included are three stereo miniplug to RCA adaptors to tap off of the sound card, and 5 speaker wires of varying lengths to connect the speakers to the sub/amplifier enclosure. Though not labeled on the wire, a wire stripper indicates that the speaker wires included are 22 AWG. Though not the heaviest wire, the speakers are handling a relatively low level of power, and the wire could be called sufficient. It would have been nicer to see a stronger commitment to quality in the cabling. The surround cables are long enough to go across a decent sized room, though the front speakers are slightly limited in their reach. The other components in the systems are simply the two front speakers, two rear surrounds, the center channel speaker, and the amplifier/bass unit.

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