Soundscience Rockus 3D ReviewManufacturer: Soundscience
UK Price (as reviewed): £172.58 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $249.99 (ex tax)
In one of several new forays, Antec, which we traditionally know for making PC cases and power supplies, now also manufactures speakers under the Soundscience brand. The Rockus 3D is the first set of speakers we've seen from the company and it certainly appears to mean business.
The subwoofer is decidedly hefty, with a huge 6.5in driver located inside. On the rear of the subwoofer is a plethora of connections, including twin RCA leads for the input from your PC, with the option of using an optical S/PDIF connection too.
The latter is a useful inclusion if you'll be using your own amplifier, but it will mean that any hardware-based processing is stripped from the signal. There's also an auxiliary input and speaker wire outputs for the two satellites, rather than 3.5mm jacks or RCA leads.
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Meanwhile, the satellites each sport 2.5in drivers and are attached to the subwoofer using traditional speaker wire. As a result, setting up the speakers is a fiddly procedure compared with using RCA leads or the 3.5mm jacks that are used by other speaker sets that we’ve seen. The satellites have a solid construction, although the front panels are overly glossy and reflective. The base of each satellite has nothing to dampen vibrations, though, which is even a standard feature of many budget speakers these days.
The Rockus 3D also includes a remote control; as well as featuring a mute button and volume control, it's also able to switch between analogue and digital inputs. The remote also enables you to select the 3D mode.
This mode analyses stereo audio signals and places them in a 3D sound field in an attempt to mimic surround sound. The 3D mode produces a slight sense of surround sound, but the effect was unwanted in some situations. Ultimately, it did little more than stretch the existing sound
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field into something that just sounded odd. It appears to be a 3D tick-box feature rather than something that's genuinely beneficial, especially as the Rockus 3D does a good job of filling a room with sound anyway.
In standard non-3D mode, music was very crisp and rich, with a good balance of range across the board that went a long way to justifying the price. There was plenty of bass too, although there's no control for it on the remote; just a three-way switch on the subwoofer for low, medium and high. High-frequency sounds proved too harsh in music and games, though, and we were unable to improve the sound by delving into our sound card's equaliser or switching to the optical input.
Increasing the bass level on the speakers only made the problem worse, especially in games, where explosions started to sound a little distorted, even at modest volumes. Movies, on the other hand, fared better and gunshots sounded fantastic. There was still a harsh aspect to the high-end, though, particularly when people spoke during periods when there was a lot of background noise.
Shattering glass and bullet ricochets sounded incredibly detailed, however; so much so that scenes we'd watched numerous times took on a new edge of tension. The optical input didn't result in a discernible improvement in sound quality in any of our tests, but it's a handy feature nonetheless, depending on your hardware setup.
Some aspects of the Rockus 3D are good, and you can crank up the volume to ear-splitting levels with little loss of sound quality. The overzealous high-end is an issue, though, especially when you take into account the high price of the set.
If you're looking for a new 2.1 speaker setup, then you could certainly do worse than the Soundscience Rockus 3D, but it's also overpriced for what's on offer. We will be reviewing a number of other speaker sets over the coming weeks, though, so be sure to check back to find out how they compare.
- Sound Quality