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X-woofer
Speakers/Headphones | First Looks
Tue 30 Aug 2005



Wearable Woofer

 
Perforations indicate the stereo speaker configuration.

 
Adjust volume and vibration intensity via the wired remote.

 
Stick the holder onto a wall to hold the X-woofer when not in use.


W
ith a design that appears to be inspired by a sci-fi flick, the X-woofer is a brand new contraption aimed at delivering a different dimension of how audio should be enjoyed. Traditionally, the hard and fast way to go about reproducing the glass shattering effects of movies was to dump a good fortune into a decent audio setup that comprised of lengthy cable runs for the many speakers found in such positional acoustic configurations. Likewise for enjoying music, many purists would settle for nothing less than either a high-end stereo setup or for the more discerning individuals with a tight purse string, a top of the line headphones would be the next best option.

Having mentioned all that, those setups are not entirely without some drawbacks such as being too elaborate and disturbing (due to high volume), or would cause fatigue after an extended period of closed-ear headphones usage. The X-woofer on the other hand, offers close proximity surround sound and tangible bass reproduction while being absolutely uncomplicated and unobtrusive. Think of it as a Dual-Shock controller that you can wear around your neck for a heightened level of audio immersion, made possible via a pair of tiny speakers and vibrators, all tucked within the lightweight, but oddly shaped plastic enclosure. Simply put, the X-woofer, with its set of vibrators, is an audio gadget that delivers a different sensation of bass from those originating from wraparound headphones.

Getting the X-woofer up and running is a fairly effortless process of hooking one end of the control module to an audio source and joining all remaining components running in between together, namely the power brick and the X-woofer.

 


Apart from supplying current to the speakers and vibrators in the X-woofer, the control console as its name implies, is responsible for volume and vibration intensity adjustments. Unfortunately, the downside to enjoying this bit of virtual reality is a floor of messy running cables.

When put to test, the X-woofer was immediately found lacking in volume and power for music and movies. This outcome was likely attributed to the low power ratings of the onboard speakers and vibrators. Though increasing the master volume at the source did intensify the overall experience, the result was still a considerably different from our original expectations of what the product can deliver. Furthermore, treble and bass adjustments are not possible. Our biggest gripe however was the sub par stereo imaging of the left and right channels. Given that it is essentially an audio device, this is unfavorable for appreciating music and movie enjoyment. However, the X-Woofer feels perfectly at home when used in conjunction with gaming, especially for the FPS genre. While the stereo imaging issue is still vaguely apparent, the special effects and surround are engaging and compelling as vibrations from explosive effects and such slam directly onto the user and not mimicked/recreated through a boombox.

After uncovering the indifferent side of the X-woofer in handling music and movies, it became apparent that gaming is probably the one area where the unique vibration and close proximity audio can be put to good effect. In closing, the US$83 X-woofer should make an ideal supplementary accessory to an Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube and other/upcoming game consoles for a richer and unique gaming experience..

 

 

 

 

Product Specifications

  • Sound: 1W + 1W
  • Vibration: 2W + 2W
  • Sound Frequency: 450Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Vibration Frequency: 40 ~ 300Hz
  • 1.8m DC Adapter Cable
  • Dimensions (D x W x H): 285 x 235 x 14 mm
  • Weight: 1.3kg