PlanarMedia 14 Multi-Media Speaker System
Level 9 Sound Design Incorporated has recently introduced the Monsoon PlanarMedia 14 Multimedia Speaker system based on their Planar Focus Technology (PFT) transducer technology. The design has been recognized with the Innovations 2003 Design and Engineering Award in the Audio category from the Consumer Electronics Society (CES2003). What sets this system apart from other conventional multimedia speakers is the unique design of the main satellites. Using PFT, the PlanarMedia 14 offers unique high quality sound in a reasonably priced 2.1 speaker system. The satellites are made from a heavy metal and not cheap plastic found on most satellite PC speakers. The highly directional design requires precise positioning to get a good image. As a result, high frequencies roll off quickly if the speakers are not directed carefully at the listener. The satellites produce a frequency response of 200 Hz to 20KHz without the subwoofer. Once the subwoofer is added to the system the response goes down to a respectable 35 Hz.
The powered subwoofer utilizes an 8" driver in a bass reflex enclosure with a smooth port opening to minimize any port noise. As mentioned, the design produces deep bass down to 35 Hz with an inherently steep roll off below this frequency. The rear panel on the subwoofer holds all the cable interfaces. The power switch is located next to the non-detachable AC power cord. A miniature DIN connector is used for the wired remote control unit. Two RCA connectors drive the main satellites and a 1/8" stereo jack accepts the line level audio from a sound card or external preamp. The PlanarMedia 14 is said to be capable of producing 200 watts peak power and 100 watts RMS that results in a respectable 103dB peak SPL.
The ergonomically designed wired remote looks cool and is full-featured with a Mute/Power button, Master Volume and Bass Level control. An indicator light above the mute button lets the user know if it's activated. The rubber-coated controls operate smoothly and provide a nice anti-slip feel. We appreciated the eight foot cable provided with the remote which offered flexible placement.
We wanted to try out some new material to exercise this 2.1 system and were drawn to style of Avril Lavigne's new debut CD "Let Go" with its youthful vocals and lyrics. The Canadian-born artist, known for her skater-punk style, has received much attention over the past year. The variety of material ranging from her mellow cuts "I'm with you", to the more aggressive sounds of "Sk8er Boi" all sounded great on the PlanarMedia 14 system. Avril's voice was open, fairly transparent and even a bit forward, which few multimedia speaker systems can claim. The acoustic guitar had good transient detail missed with most other systems. What's interesting is the PlanarMedia 14 has so much midrange detail that you will hear the limitations of your sound card. We found ourselves looking for a better source, which is rare when using PC-based speakers. The bass response was clean and tight, blending nicely with the main satellites. The crossover frequency was quite high (200 Hz) due to the inherent design of the planar drivers. Bass localization is a common problem with any multimedia system with the crossover frequency much above 100 Hz and this system was no exception. However, the system worked well and we were very impressed with the performance given the price.
of the PlanarMedia 14 is certainly unique and so is the sound it creates.
The detailed and highly directional speakers impressed us when properly placed.
The build quality is great for a system priced at $150. If you are not happy with
the sound of your current PC speaker system, we recommend auditioning the PlanarMedia
14 speaker system.
We found this system rather unique and sonically satisfying.
|Review at a glance|
Monsoon Audio PlanarMedia 14 Multi-Media Speaker System
Controls on Control Center
System Frequency Response
Maximum Acoustic Output
Line Input Voltage
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