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TS-CD15 Multimedia Speakers

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by Aiwa
Since the home PC boom that has taken place over the last few years, many companies not traditionally associated with computing have produced products geared towards computer users. AIWA, a company best noted for its walkman and bookshelf stereo systems, has recently released several different sets of multimedia computer speakers.

The AIWA TS-CD15 speakers, like many computer setups, come with a subwoofer and two satellite speakers. The speakers claim a total output of 20 Watts, which translates into 4 Watts for each satellite and 12 Watts for the subwoofer. I know this sounds awfully low for computer speakers, but this rating is at 10% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Many other computer speakers claim a rating of 80 Watts, but that is at 85-95 % THD.

When I took the speakers out of the box, I was surprised at how small the satellites were and wondered how good they were going to sound. The speakers come with everything needed to hook up and start playing. Included in the box were the speakers, the manual, the audio cable (1/8 Jack style), and documentation about other products. The power supply is integrated into the subwoofer, which eliminates the problem of losing your speaker power supply when you move (I hate that!). The subwoofer has both a control for satellite volume and subwoofer volume, but no tone control. After messing with the speakers a little, I did find that the tone control really wasn’t needed on this setup.

Hooking up the speakers was a breeze and a couple minutes after plugging the speakers in, I was happily gaming away. The first thing I noticed was that the size of the speakers didn’t seem to bother their performance at all. The speakers sounded good at all but the highest volume and they performed well in every game I threw at it. The speakers claim to be optimized for Q-sound (2 speaker surround) so I tested it out using my SB Live! in two speaker mode; sure enough, I found that the speakers sounded better than my Yamaha setup in two-speaker surround.

I had very few gripes with the speakers except for a few minor things. First, the speakers don’t come with RCA or other integrated leads going to the satellites. Instead they used old style spring loaded clips and bare wires, so it can be very confusing if you are struggling to hook them up in poor lighting conditions or tight spaces. Second, the speakers don’t come with a headphone jack mounted on the front of one of the speakers or the subwoofer. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, PLEASE, PLEASE, speaker companies! Put a headphone jack on the FRONT of the speakers, NOT the back. Accessing the speaker headphone jack is a pain and for this reason my front speakers will still be my Yamahas. AIWA did put the headphone jack on the front of their other speakers, so I know they’ve done it before; they just need a minor redesign of the subwoofer to do it on these. My last and final gripe was that the speakers are geared towards game playing only at moderate volume levels. If you like your games loud or you like to listen to music on your computer, these speakers are a little underpowered.

Overall, AIWA has put fourth a very good offering in computer speakers for the low price they are asking (MSRP $94.00). I would like to see some improvements made before I would recommend these to everyone; however, if you are looking for a set of speakers to round out a four speaker setup, or just looking for a reasonably priced good sounding setup, take a hard look at the AIWA TS-CD15’s.

-Tom Monter