Many people still haven't heard of Cyber Acoustics. Those who do see them as inexpensive audio products that can't be taken seriously. However, when I previously reviewed their A-3640 2.1 speaker set, I was blown away at how good it performed! I was actually comparing it to Klipsch Promedia 2.1 at half the cost! So when strolling around a local Staples, I decided to check out the Cyber Acoustics CA-3618 on the display. I had my iPhone with me to evaluate it.
Recommend this product?
Cyber Acoustics CA-3618
At $40, I still didn't expect much from the red company. The satallite speakers look about the same as the ones found on the A-3640, except this time in silver. The subwoofer is much smaller (as expected), but still made of (pressed, I'm sure) wood. It is about the size of the Mac Cube (remember those?).
All three speakers are covered with black cloth mesh, and does not seem to muffle the sound at all. The right speaker contains the controls on the base, which consists of a bass and volume control knob, as well as a hard on/off switch. It also contains one of those bright blue power LED I hate so much.
In the rear of the right speaker, you also get two standard 3.5mm jacks for a headphone and auxillary line-in. The cables for power, subwoofer, and left speaker are permanently affixed to the rear of the right speaker as well. Unfortunately, the left speaker is also permanently affixed to the wire, so the left and right speakers must always be transported together.
The connector that goes to the subwoofer is a DIN-type connector, and is red in color. This matches the red outline Cyber Acoustics draws around the connector on the back of the subwoofer. This makes setup easy for users. Speaking of the subwoofer's rear, the port hole for the sub is located here as well.
While not a stellar performer when compared to the likes of Klipsch's Promedia 2.1 or Cyber Acoustic's bigger sibbling, it's not a bad sounding set of 2.1 speakers, especially for the price!
The bass can be felt even without overpowering the volume and without covering up the other frequencies. The middle range sound makes good presence, and so do the highs. There is a bit of distortion or hiss at higher volumes, but it must be turned up pretty high to do so (so much so, that the person minding the store asked me to turn it down!). However, there's no hole in the frequency range that I detected. The satallites and the subwoofer seem to cover each other pretty well.
At the high volume levels, the subwoofers start to distort first as it gets to its limits. The satallite speakers start to take over and cover the subwoofer's lack of power. However, this makes it sound like there is no more bass, and all the mid range frequencies become center stage. However, this situation is moot since everything starts to distort anyways, so you wouldn't want to be at this volume level.
At a reasonable volume level, I must say that it compares well to Logitech speakers that cost $60 or more (such as the Z-4s).
I like the fact that there is an auxillary jack for your MP3 player. While it is located on the back of the right speaker (on the base), it' still easy to get to. When in use, the main source is silenced, and your auxillary input takes over.
The headphone jack also mutes the speakers when in use, and is also located at the rear of the right speaker (on the base). I find that for both the headphone and auxillary in jacks, it's best to have a right-angle connector so you can orient the wire towards the front, though a straight connector isn't much horribly inconvienent either.
I can't complain about the sound quality for the price, and you already know about the performance limitations since I mentioned it above. The real dissapointment is the bright blue power LED indicator! The speaker sits just below eye level, but it's the light is still annoying! I found myself covering it up with a piece of masking tape!
If you are looking for a set of speakers for a budget gaming PC, these would be perfect! It won't be the best for music (even for budget, I'd suggest that you get a little spendy), but in video games, it's all about that sound presence, which mostly comes from the frequency reproduction, and not too much on clarity or accuracy.
Music is much more immersive, and we as humans are much more senstive to imperfections when the only stimulation is sound. Thus, the slightly hollow sound of these speakers may bother you. However, if you just want to casually listen to your collection of iTunes music, these speakers may suffice.
Can't really knock them for $40!
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