Ask anyone that knows me. I'm a bit of a hardware junkie, not so much system specs or tech specs but hardware in general. DVD players and speakers must have more oomph for my money. I'm the kind of person that you dread to be next door to, loud music and earth-shattering explosions.
So I got my paws on the PS2000 Dolby Digital Speaker System from Cambridge Soundworks.
Dipole: 10 watts RMS per channel.
Subwoofer: 12 watts RMS
Targeted at the Playstation 2 but also useable on a variety of systems from set-top DVD players to your home PC, the PS2000 is billed as the affordable Digital Speaker solution for your PS2. But does it perform well?
To test the system to its max I took it from the box, read the manual and within minutes had the whole thing connected to my PS2 via the handy dandy Optical cable. After switching the PS2's sound setting to Digital/Optical I was ready for transformed sound.
The units, both the subwoofer and the dipole speaker are very nice and slick, looking space age enough to compliment the PS2, but I wasn't so much interested in the look as the sound. The dipole speaker can be switched to a number of useful settings to change the way that sound is filtered on your PS2 or device. I found that for most things the settings Ghost or Dimension were for my tastes, Ghost for movies and Dimension for games. I'll come to those in a moment.
From switch on and flicking through the settings on the dipole it was clear that these little beauties were something special, they amplified and rounded out the sound from my PS2's menu screen, for a moment I was reminded of being on a beach. With the aid of the subwoofer and its adjustable bass setting I was able to get the kind of sound that can usually only come from an expensive hi-fi system.
First up on my master test was my good old Mission Impossible 2 DVD. According to the manual the system can detect and display the kind of sound input it's getting from the source, in this case the PS2's DVD player. Some menus are recorded in various formats and the lights on the front of the dipole change to show the kind of source being used. In this case:
5 channel Digital sound.
As I commenced playback of the film itself I was pleased to hear every detail from the sounds bullets made when they struck metal to the click of the safety as it was flicked off a handgun. The system being run in dimension mode actually spreads the sound, in some cases I found it much better than a Dolby Surround. And much more affordable.
There's not much difference between Ghost and Dimension for DVD playback and games. I tend to prefer the latter for both, but that's just me.
The various sound effect filters for the system in 5 channel mode are:
Pass-through: Normal operating mode.
Prism: General listening. Music etc,
Ghost: Sci Fi or Action movies,
Moving on after being impressed by the movie and music side of the system I decided to try a few of my games. Once again the system performs very well, smoothing out and rounding out the sounds. Games like SSX sound superb with each whirl of the board being accompanied by a crisp whoosh of snow, while Dead or Alive 2 each punch reverberates with the bassy whump of the subwoofer. The whole sound system is also controlled by a handy-dandy little remote control that fits snugly into your hand.
So the bottom line? Is this the ultimate system for the PS2 for sound and game playback. As we move into the new year more and more games companies will be encoding their sound in Digital Format taking advantage of the crisper quality and special effects this media can perform. The PS2000 speaker system sits at the edge of this technology waiting for that time. I found the whole thing easy to set up and a complete joy to listen to. Enriching films, games and music to another level.
At 179£ you can't go far wrong for a high-quality and relatively cheap solution to crisp smooth Digital sound. And an added bonus is that it comes with all the connectors and wires you'd need to connect these beauties to mostly any sound source you have in your home.