Release Date: 7/9/2010
It has been a long time coming, but I finally got a surround sound system. I had never really heard one before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. After opening the box and seeing about 20 cords it felt pretty daunting. Thankfully the Alienware X51 that I hooked them up to had 5.1 audio jacks and the colors matched perfectly. There’s also only one power cable coming from the subwoofer which is really nice. I thought I had to plug every speaker into the wall! Once you get everything set up cord wise, you then have to position every speaker. There are 5 in total so you’re going to need a lot of room. Plan ahead of time and decide where to put them. Some probably should be on a shelf above your monitors, the subwoofer can sit nicely next to your desk while the center speaker should be in front of you. It’s the rear speakers that are tricky. They are supposed to be on either side of you but most people don’t have that kind of setup. Thankfully I had a bookshelf and table on either side of me, so the trickiest part is positioning these monsters.
Once you get them plugged into Windows should automatically set your sound up to 5.1. Once I started playing music in Windows Media Player I was blown away. It sounded like I was in a theater and these speakers get really really loud. During gameplay, I heard enemies coming from behind me (literally) and crashes off to the side like you are in a theater. The same goes for movies as well. Being surrounded by all these speakers it feels like the sound is coming from all angles. The speakers have great clarity as well and don’t rattle or sound tinny like some cheaper models. For $100 this is a great deal.
My only issue is that there is buzz and hissing when no sound is coming out. This is pretty common for speakers, but you need a well-grounded home or an expensive surge protector to prevent this. I tried a few methods such as plugging it into the wall by itself and turning the volume up high and the device volume low. At least the buzzing stopped once I started playing something through them. This will drive you nuts though and you will resort to turning them off if you aren’t listening to anything. On the other hand, there’s a headphone jack on the front speaker so you don’t have to use your PC jack and the power button is on there as well. No reaching behind the subwoofer to flip a switch.
With all that said, the z506 are fantastic speakers for the price. They blow you out of your house and are great quality. The only problem is the constant buzzing and hissing if you don’t have a good grounding. It takes a little while to get set up and seems daunting at first (even someone who’s knowledgeable about all this stuff). Once you get everything setup it’s well worth it and you won’t be disappointed one bit.