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Old 17th November, 2004, 09:14 PM
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Zalman headphone amplifier with hi fi speakers experience

I have 2 old Sony Hi Fi speakers from 1988, and 2 philips speakers from 1991. They are the remains of past boom boxes. The speakers are in great shape but the stereo system I'm using as amplifier for my PC doesn't have surround sound capabilities.

I just got the Zalman 5.1 surround headphone amplifier so I thought I'd give it a "in case you have old speakers and want to make a home theatre system" review.

First of all, the amplifier was made for zalman's headphones so the output connectors are 8mm jacks. Nothing too serious but it cost me a trip to the electronics store and 4 female-to-female plugs ($1). Thankfully, the zalman came with 3 8mm jack - to - composite output wires and two composite - to -composite so I didn't have to go back to the store when I forgot to get those

I got the amplifier because I already have a great set of speakers so the Zalman isn't a good solution for someone who will buy a complete surround sound system. The Zalman amplifier should only interest you if like me you have some old speakers lying around from past stereos and would like to build a home theatre system.

How are the Zalman speakers like? After learning how to wire and position the speakers of a quadrophonic system, I tested it out.
I don't know much about audiophile jargon, but I need to keep the volume in Winamp at 15% without it bothering the people in the next room. The amplifier is waaay better than a creative 4.1 system with my hi-fi speakers. Those small speakers may be loud, but they don't make the ground vibrate the way an old fashioned 25" speaker does.

Other than seperate volume control for front and rear speakers, the amplifier has no other controls. Also, at max volume the sound is loud but it isn't ear-splitting insane so I suspect the amplifier can't fully power 4 full height hi fi speakers. It will impress your friends but you can't brag that it can bring down the building at max volume. This isn't a problem for regular mp3 or DVD movies, but some games (like Metal Gear Solid 2 for the pc) and badly recorded mp3's have an unusually low volume. This poses a problem as you'll only get medium level volume for these games or mp3's..

So the amplifier is good but won't pass for studio equipment. Still, it's not expensive at ~ $78 and for someone who just needs a budget amplifier it's ideal.
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Old 17th November, 2004, 09:51 PM
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Cool! Nice work there. I figured it warrented a Front Page mention!
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Old 17th November, 2004, 10:51 PM
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Really something to keep in mind... Thanks!
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