We at Tech2.0 have no bias towards any brand, or any market segment for that matter. After reviewing a lot of high-end LCDs recently, costing half a lakh or more, I feel the time is right for us to pay attention to the more humble and affordable PC speaker segment.
Intex is a company that can challenge any brand when it comes to price. A recent market survey trip to Mumbai's Lamington Road resulted in vendors enthusiastically offering us its 5400 PC speakers for review.
Considering the current financial slowdown, does it not make sense to look at a low-priced 5.1 PC speaker system? Let's give the Intex 5400 FM a fair chance...
Design and Features
The design of this speaker set is satisfyingly clean and refreshing. No gaudy or fancy finishes, what you get is a set of five similar-shaped mini bookshelf (satellite) speakers. The speakers are rectangular and stand vertical on their bases. The material used for the cabinets throughout is MDF, which is predictable in such a low-priced unit.
The bases are padded to improve grip. The center should have been flat, to facilitate easy positioning under a PC monitor. But it's like the rest, and stands erect, which can obstruct your view of the screen a bit. But you can rest it sideways, so it's no big deal, especially as the satellites are one-way, only one 3-inch driver each. The 5.25-inch woofer is a side firing model.
The body of the woofer is slim and tall, with a narrow front panel done up quite well. The flat silver buttons are laid out simply, with a very basic red LED screen on the top. At the bottom is the reflex port, rimmed by shiny, reflective metal; this completes the futuristic look.
The back panel of the sub takes inputs in the form of RCA jacks, and has similar RCA outputs for connecting the speakers (which come with wires attached). For further details and specs, see the table below.
A remote control is included with the unit, which looks totally different – it's perhaps an OEM supplied by one of our friendly Asian neighbors. But I'm not complaining so long as it does the job. It's tough to find units with a remote at this price.
While testing these speakers we were rather lenient, considering the price. All I wanted to hear was the frequency response, and check that there's no audio distortion. We ran some percussion loops from Sheffield test discs, at high volume on stereo first. This exposes a lot in speaker systems, right form the amplification to the speaker cone timing. The Intex was tight enough to impress. There was good thump in the low frequencies transients, such as bass drum hits.
A few sweeping sine tone tests revealed that the frequency response misbehaves a little at mid and mid-high frequencies, though at the crossover point between the sub and satellites it was well-rounded. The overall response cannot be called accurate, though its coloration is within tolerable limits. The bass is extended and in considerable amounts. The region just below the sibilance levels in high frequencies sounded a bit off; I don't like sharpness anyway.
Then came movies in the form of DVDs like I Am Legend from our test rig, with the horrendow growls of the zombies coming out of the surround-sound Intex quite well. No complaints here. Things like finesse and complete accuracy were missing in the output, though I found it good enough for what it claims.
This product costs Rs 3950, and I would say it's a good buy for anyone on a meager budget. It's one of the few low-priced 5.1 suround PC speaker systems to offer this level of sound quality. Some obvious compromises will have to be made in the sound, but if you can live with that, check this one out.