Review (June 2001) - Klipsch
Klipsch, well known in the audio industry for its horn-based speaker systems, has introduced the world’s first THX®-Certified three-piece computer audio system. The ProMedia™ 2.1 has two satellite speaker and a sub- woofer as the 2.1 implies. The system comes in all black attire and features an auxilliary audio input, headphone jack and 200 watts of amplification. The subwoofer get the majority of the power and is rated with 130 watts, while the satellite speakers split the remaining power with 35 watts each. The satellite speakers are elevated on sturdy metal stands and are angled upwards towards the user. The two front controls located on the left satellite speaker adjust the master volume and relative subwoofer level.
The rear panel holds all the electronics for the ProMedia system. The mini-DIN preamp connector feeds the internal amplifiers. Spring loaded speaker connections provide a quick hookup for the satellite units. Setting up the ProMedia 2.1 took no more than 10 minutes. In fact, it could easily be done in less than 5 minutes, but I decided to look at the manual. The power switch along with a fuse holder is located toward the bottom of the rear panel. This thick metal backplate also serves as a heat sink for the power amplifiers. I decided to pop this panel off the back to take a look inside the subwoofer. This is where you can really find out what you payed for. After all, many good looking systems have complete junk inside, so I was interested to see what Klipsch offers for $179. Now for the fun part.
The first item I noticed was the linear-type power supply used to provide power to the subwoofer and satellite amplifiers. Klipsch refers to their ProMedia amplifier as a 200-watt digital linear hybrid amplifier. I'm not quite sure if this is significant or just some marketing talk that sounds good. What I do know is the ProMedia 2.1 amplifiers have a beefy old fashioned linear power supply with a heavy power transformer and reasonably sized filter capacitors. In addition, this system makes use of discrete output transistors for the subwoofer as well as the satellite speakers. That's right, no cheap amplifier chip modules for this system.
The subwoofer amplifier module utilizes high current International Rectifier HEXFETs to control the 6.5 inch high excursion bass driver. Two identical amplifier modules (seen in the photo) drive the satellite speakers with ample power. Due to the size of the satellite speakers, they are limited in output capability. However, the ProMedia 2.1 delivers very good volume levels for such a compact system. Whether your listening needs are for music or PC games, this system delivers a full sound that few small systems are capable of. The controlled dispersion of the horn-loaded tweeters on this system produced a surprisingly good soundstage. Not many PC-based speaker systems can equal the ProMedia 2.1 in performance for the dollar. The build quality on this system also impressed me.
The ProMedia 2.1 subwoofer is constructed from 1/2 inch medium density fiberboard (MDF) and utilizes a bass-reflex enclosure with a flared, tuned front port and 6.5" side-firing driver. Having the flare on the port helps reduce noise from the air rushing through the opening. The bass response from the subwoofer module blends in well with the satellite speakers, eliminating any noticable dips in the frequency response. Having the level control for the subwoofer module gives each user the ability to set the bass level to their taste. Anyone looking to add a good quality sound system to their PC or portable audio product would be pleased with the full sound the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 System offers.
- Kevin Nakano
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