Sound of music

Written by Raaj Dayal | Updated: Jun 28 2009, 06:26am hrs
The latest fad with the middle class is to acquire a LCD panel television. Any thing less than 32 inches is pass, 42 inches is desirable, anything above that (42 inches) is out of reach rather wait for a while and buy a NANO!

Though the 42inch LCD TV will attire your living room wall beautifully, but it will still deflate your wallet to the extent that your ultimate dream to possess a home theatre assemblage will get a jolt, and that too a big one!

To dampen this big jolt and find an affordable solution, I looked around extensively for a good but inexpensive home theatre audio system.

The shelves are loaded with all and sundry 5:1 surround sound speaker systems all over the market place, but finding one that sounds sweet to ears and wallet alike, seemed almost impossible till I came across this iXA660.

Kobian, the Singapore-based manufacturer of mercury motherboards and other computer components, has unfurled under its lifestyle brand iXA range of sub woofer and home theatre systems. This home theatre system, christened as iXA660 by Kobian, has been making waves among the audiophiles with its superior sound quality and competitive pricing. Hence, I contacted the manufacturer and they were sweet enough to send me one.

Once out of the box, this 5:1 (one subwoofer and five satellites) speaker system looked elegant and ready to blast off. The tower shaped subwoofer and its five satellites are all finished in mat black. The subwoofer sports a glossy black control panel strip with touch buttons on the front bezel and the woofer grill on the right panel giving it a non-intrusive sleek appearance.

To make you a complete couch-potato, Cobian has provided a very decent remote, with master volume, independent volume control for all the speakers along with a very useful mute button in case your boss calls you on your cell.

All the connecters (RCA) for both input and satellite speakers are on the rear of the subwoofer including a power on and off switch.

The five satellite cuboids (one for centre, two for left and right-front channels and two for surround) have logically varied length of connecting cables but no eyelet to mount on the wall. Hence, you either place them on the floor or make your own provision for wall mounting.

Aesthetically designed and build to last this iXA660 reproduces very realistic and powerful audio to compliment your HD LCD televisions video quality.

The big subwoofer is capable of reproducing pounding bass to almost dislodge your bones from their sockets, without a trace of cracking or flubbing even at a reasonably high volume and I bet, this 5:1 home theatre audio system pumps out unusually loud audio.

The five satellites handle rest of the audio spectrum faithfully between them selves creating an audio-cocoon surrounding you.

To test the surround sound effect and audio quality I ran it through the opening sequence of the Hollywood blockbuster Da Vinci Code.

The sound of the footsteps of the curator, running for his life in the Louvre, ricocheting from the walls of the empty corridors, locking of the iron doors and the crackling sound of the gunshots came out so true and enveloping.

Watching, rather listening (as I was testing the speakers only) the whole film, with this iXA660 pumping out 60 watts RMS (root, mean, square) of raw audio was an amazing experience, specially keeping in mind the maximum retail price of Rs 3,550 only.