MidiLand S4 8200 Digital Audio Speaker/Control System

URL: http://www.midiland.com

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

 

Test System

First, a brief overview of the tools used to evaluate this system. Computer was AMD Athlon 800, Creative Sound Blaster Live! Platinum 5.1, Harman Kardon FL-8300 CD Changer, All units plugged into Rack Rider A/C line conditioner.

CD’s Used

The Ultimate Stereo Demonstration CD (Stereophile)
Erasure/Loveboat (U.K. Release)
Erasure/POP! The First 20 Hits
Depeche Mode/Ultra
Depeche Mode/Songs of Faith and Devotion
Blade/Soundtrack
Steely Dan/Two Against Nature
Steely Dan/Aja
Pink Floyd/The Wall (original)
Pink Floyd/The Wall (remastered 20-bit)
Pink Floyd/Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon (25th anniv. remaster)
Beck/Midnight Vultures
Rage Against the Machine/Evil Empire
Pet Shop Boys/Very
Pet Shop Boys/NightLife
Sheryl Crow/The Globe Sessions
Nigel Kennedy/Vivaldi-Four Seasons (live)
Eminem/The Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem/The Slim Shady LP
Dr. Dre/Chronic 2001

DVD’s Used

The Eagles/Hell Freezes Over
Goldeneye
Casino
T-2
Starship Troopers
Apocalypse Now (20th anniv.)
Blade
Blazing Saddles
2001
2010
Pink Floyd/The Wall (anniv.)

On the outside

There are 5 MidiLand satellite speakers, each at 5″ x 4″, and one subwoofer, measuring about 13″x 8″. The satellites are finished in a champagne pink/gold color, very stylish, and cloth grilles. The subwoofer is finished in utilitarian grey, with a round cloth grille (detachable). The control unit is finished in the same grey as the sub, but does have a very attractive LCD panel. The supplied material includes some pretty decent speaker wire (a whole lot of it!), a DIN cable for connecting the control unit to the sub (which is where the amplifier is), a mini-jack to stereo RCA connector, a digital coax cable, a remote control, and detachable power cables for the sub and control unit. The first thing I noticed was that the sub was HEAVY, indicating that it not only had a big power supply, but also I was not dealing with some junky speaker. Upon removing the subs grill, I noticed the sub appears to be made by either JBL or Paradigm, which make me even happier. The grilles for the sat’s don’t come off, but I would suspect they are also made by a high-quality manufacturer, given their sweet sound. The sub is vented by a 4″ port, which gives it a great sounding resonant frequency of 60 HZ, which is ideal for computer subs of this size. There are control on the back of the sub for master volume (which can be adjusted along with the volume on the control unit), a knob for sub level, a Din connection, and speaker level outputs for the sat’s.

The control module is very clean, with a minimum of unnecessary crap. There are 4 buttons which allow you to access all functions, or you can use the supplied credit card size remote. There are inputs on the rear for stereo analog, coaxial digital, and (gasp) TOSLINK optical digital! The output section contains the DIN plug, and mini-plug (yes, you heard right) outputs for center, surround, and sub. This is in case you ever want to add different components, which kicks ass!

The Sound

In a word…..Booooyaaahhh!!!

This system went head to head with my roommate’s Creative Labs Desktop Theatre DT2500, and outpaced it in every category. The DT2500 put out a measly 91.9 dB/SPL (1 watt/1 meter), while the MidiLands spanked out 102.5 dB/SPL. Bass was no contest, with the DT2500 hitting a -3dB down point at 72Hz, and the MidiLand countering with a level of -3dB down at 58Hz. Audio performance by the MidiLands was incredible. With the volume maxed on both the sub and the main unit, there was no audible distortion, whereas the DT2500 started spewing out distortion left and right with the volume set at halfway. Distortion limits were obvious here. Despite MidiLands report of 20 watts/channel @ .5% distortion RMS, my tests seem to suggest more like 28 watts/channel @ .3% distortion. The DT2500 never even got close, with 15 watts/channel @ .1% distortion.

On Dolby Digital movies, the sound was superb, with great distinction. I was a little reserved about actually buying these things, seeing as I am a home theatre buff and don’t want to be laughed at by my friends. But now I am the one laughing, all the way to the bank. I can’t seem to believe that a system this inexpensive could knock me on my butt the way it did, but here I sit, butt all swollen and red, with a fat MIDILAND imprint on it.

Final Advice: Go buy these speaker, and join in the butt-kicking fever!!!!

Submitted by: doctormidnight

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