I am PC speaker, hear me roar!
Up until a few years ago, very few people took PC audio seriously. Available sound cards offered a bare minimum feature set, and "multimedia speakers" were laughable when compared to any home audio product. In the last few years however, we have seen a phenomenal growth in the PC audio sector, both in sound cards and speaker systems.
As 3D sound cards become more widely available, four speaker (4.0 and 4.1) systems also gain popularity. We can also see a shift to 5.1 or Dolby Digital Surround speaker systems. Fueled in part by the computer DVD revolution, many of the main speaker manufacturers have recently designed special 5.1 speaker systems (two front speakers, two surround speakers, a center channel, and a subwoofer). Today we will be looking at two relatively inexpensive speaker systems, the Altec Lansing ADA-880R and the VideoLogic DigiTheatre LC.
Altec Lansing's ADA-880R 4.1 speaker system has received a fair amount of acclamation in the past. For a while, the ADA-880R was even the speaker system of choice for Dell's high-end systems. The $199 (est. street price) ADA-880R offers a four-speaker and subwoofer configuration with built in hardware Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro-Logic support. The subwoofer sports a 40 Watt RMS output, while its four satellites provide 10 Watt RMS each, for a total system output of 80 Watts RMS.
After building brand name recognition with its high-end DigiTheatre DTS and Sirocco systems, VideoLogic has developed a more affordable speaker system: the DigiTheatre LC. Sporting four speakers with an extra center channel as well as a $149 (est. street price) price tag, the DigiTheatre LC is one of the few 5.1 speaker systems to be found under $200. The DigiTheatre LC attempts to offer high-end sound at an affordable price. The one catch, however, is that the DigiTheatre LC requires a six-channel enabled sound card to make full use of its Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic output.