Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1
In my mind, Klipsch was synonymous with the huge, magnificent corner horn speakers from the early days of hi-fi. But the company has evolved dramatically since then and now sells one of the hottest brands of computer speakers around. Unlike the other three home theater systems reviewed here, the stylish ProMedia GMX D-5.1 system was designed for multimedia use-but that can include doing home theater duty in a modest-size room. And at $299 the GMX D-5.1 is a phenomenal value no matter how you use it.
The package includes five satellites, a compact powered subwoofer, and a disc-shaped control unit/surround processor. The satellite consists of a bullet-shaped main unit, attached by a ball joint to an integral shelf stand, with a smaller bullet-shaped tweeter on top. A trio of decorative metal bars extends over the midrange driver, more for looks than protection. The subwoofer has a 6 1/2-inch driver and six amplifiers rated for 100 watts total continuous power. The controller, about the size of a dinner plate, handles Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II (DPL II) processing, so you can enjoy surround playback from two-, four-, and 5.1-channel sources without need of a receiver, amplifier, or other processor. There are both Music and Cinema modes of DPL II.
You use five supplied speaker cables to hook the system up. Bare wire goes into spring connectors on the sub and RCA plugs go into the jacks on the satellites. You then interconnect the control disc and the sub using both signal and power cables. (All sub adjustments are made through the controller.) Next you wire the optical or coaxial digital output from a DVD player, satellite receiver, or home computer to the controller, which can also accept analog stereo inputs. You can balance the satellites individually using the controller's pink-noise generator.
Considering that $300 gets you a multimedia computer speaker system with processor that can also double as a home theater system, the ProMedia sounded surprisingly good. It could play only about half as loud as the three dedicated home theater systems reviewed here, but the sound was fairly clean even at full volume. Dialogue and music seemed to have an upper-midrange peak, but that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the system.
You can't beat the ProMedia as a budget home theater system for a summer house, a dorm room, or a den. Considering that it's self-contained-just add a program source-it can compete favorably with systems costing hundreds of dollars more. - R.W.
Klipsch Audio Technologies, www.klipsch.com, 317-860-8100
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