We'll be using our setup of a Shuttle XPC SD37P2 (Intel 975X), which is mated to an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude soundcard - the same setup used previously in our mega shootout. The Sony and Altec Lansing speaker systems were hooked up to the testbed using the supplied 3.5mm stereo plugs. Too bad the speaker sets of this class don't take in digital inputs.
Testing would be done across four categories: CD, MP3, movies and games. For the CD and MP3 testing section, we were interested to see how the speakers would perform across a variety of genres. For movies and games, it was all about the overall experience. Did the speakers make us feel as if we were a part of the action? Did the explosions knock our socks off?
Both the Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra and Sony SRS-DB500 have built-in controls for bass and treble, and we left them in the default "middle" position. Of course, we adjusted them accordingly to see if a better experience could be had, and if the speakers handled the stronger bass and treble appropriately.
The complete list of testing material is as follows:
- Pod Race Scene from Phantom Menance
- Tyrannosaurus Rex Sound Effects from Jurassic Park
- Theme from Jurassic Park
- Apollo 13 Lift-off Sound Effects
- Theme from Cutthroat Island
- Fanfare for Louis, performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony
- Hotel California - Eagles
- Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead
- Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele
- Elements of Life - Tiesto
- Lord of the Rings - (Starting sequence, Balin's Tomb & Bridge of Khazad-dum)
- Swordfish (Starting sequence)
- Far Cry 2