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Review: Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1

by David Ross on 10 February 2005, 00:00

Tags: Klipsch

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Listening tests

The usefulness of any set of speakers is, in the end, judged by its audio quality. Of course, sound quality is an entirely subjective thing, and any real audiophile will tell you to listen to a sound setup yourself before you buy anything, but let me grace you with my own thoughts about these GMX A-2.1 speakers under a variety of conditions to give you an idea of what to expect from this offering. I did most of my testing on a SoundBlaster Audigy equipped system, with everything set up in stereo/2.1 mode, although I did also give them a brief run out on my Denon HiFi.

CD/MP3 Audio

We'll begin with what these speakers are all about - High quality sound reproduction for stereo sources. And it has to be said, the level of sound quality becomes immediately apparent, no matter what you throw at the GMX A-2.1.

After adjusting the volume and subwoofer levels as appropriate, the speakers soon began to distinguish themselves, delivering crisp, clear and lively sound through a variety of CDs, handling the at times powerful bass and wide sonic range of Orbital's 'The Altogether' album with aplomb. This was then followed up with stunning reproduction of a handful of orchestral tracks from the 'End of Evangelion' movie soundtrack, before a handful of various pop songs were also dealt with flawlessly. Moving on to some choice MP3 tracks, the same could be said, with every genre of music I could think of producing an amicable performance and sounding just beautiful.

What struck me most during this music listening-fest was the 'liveliness' of the sound produced, for want of a better word - The separation between the two speakers and 'depth' of the sound really fills the room, and almost belies the fact that you're only listening through two speakers. I even picked up some moments on the opening seconds of one particular track that I'd never even heard before, as every note was delivered in crystal clear quality.

DVD playback

Next, I took a look at how the GMX A-2.1 handled playback of a DVD, to see what it would make of a soundtrack designed for playback on 5.1 capable sound systems in an ideal scenario. I elected to pick out a sequence that normally makes impressive use of surround sound effects as well as offering quite a wide sound range, and for this I went with the pod racing sequence from Star Wars: Episode I - Yes, that's right, I sat through several minutes of Jar-Jar Binks just for you, our trusty readership!

As someone who has been using a 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS set-up for quite some time now, I expected to be disappointed by the lack of surround sound during watching. Although yes, the full-on immersion of 5.1 sound was nowhere to found, the richness of the sound delivered by the Klipsch speakers almost made up for it. Again, stereo separation was excellent, and the subwoofer put in a powerful performance when called into action without ever being overbearing. Dialogue was crisp, and the whole experience was still very enjoyable indeed. Although devoted movie watchers will balk at the lack of multi-channel audio, the more casual DVD watcher will still be delivered an immersive experience in this field.

Gaming

Your experience gaming using the GMX A-2.1 speakers will depend largely on what games you're playing. While a lot of games don't really require multi-channel audio, modern first-person shooters that make use of surround sound make owning a multi-channel setup almost mandatory. Probably the best example of this is Doom 3 with its fantastic positional audio - Hearing your enemies movements before you spot them, and being able to pinpoint where that movement is coming from, is a matter of life or death in the game world. Such scenarios are often played out behind you, and serve as an early-warning system as to your impending doom, and this is where gaming using stereo speakers leaves you out in the cold. Make no mistake, these Klipsch speakers sound wonderful in games, again delivering a great range from bassy explosions through to high range sounds, but if you're serious about your gaming chances are you'll be wanting that positional audio.