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Written by Dan McNamara   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
Ineo Alienvibes W401 Speaker System
Closer Look: Alienvibes W401
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing & Results: Alienvibes W401

Testing Methodology

I am still working on my testing regime for audio systems. In this I used a combination of known sound signals to test the responsiveness of the system and the ability of it to move the sound around. In addition I used various types of music to see how well the system worked in the real world. Finally, as the system is supposed to be hooked up to a computer after all, I used it while participating in the Crisis 3 MP Beta, which has ended because EA is now set to release the full version 19 Feb 2013.

Test System

Just a quick note on the test system. I decide to limit my input to my laptop, which is obviously not the cleanest input for the system. My reasoning was that the customer (you) will be far more interested in how it works with a computer system because this system is really an entry level audio system. So rather than test high end sound card I stayed with just a regular audio output. I understand that a higher quality input would produce a higher quality output, but the system below provided me a standard input for testing.

HP Pavilion g6-2288ca Notebook

  • Motherboard: ACPI x64-based PC (Mobile)
  • System Memory: 7650 MB
  • Processor: Mobile Quad-Core AMD A10-4600M, 2700 MHz
  • Audio: IDT 92HD87B2/4 High Definition Audio Controller
  • Video: AMD Radeon HD 7660G
  • Disk Drive 1: TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075 SATA Disk Device
  • Monitor: 15.5" led 1280x800
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8

Results

In order to provide a level objectivity in the assessment process I searched for standard audio inputs for the system. There is a very large body of articles on the internet about audio testing but at this point I am not looking to set up a lab in my basement. Not just yet. Eventually I was able to find a website where audio test tones were available for download: http://www.audiocheck.net/. I was able to choose a selection of test tones that I could use to test the system. I also conducted general listening tests at this time.

Alienvibes_W401_ Audio_testing _results.jpg

The following tests really are for the mid to upper sound range produced by the system. After listening to a few songs I was not worried about the bass from the W401 Speaker system. That is why I tried to test each separately. I will cover the test and results in the order listed above.

Acoustic Space: The definition I have used to define acoustic space is that the sound system will create an acoustic bubble. In this space you can move around and the sound picture will not noticeably move, allowing you to rotate your head to concentrate on aspects of the scene. So in my set up with an approximate 8 foot isosceles triangle formed by the two satellite speakers and myself I detected an approximate 2 to 2.5 foot circle describing this acoustic space. In my opinion that is pretty good for a sound system that has such a modest price, and three speaker locations. So I rated it at 75 out of 100.

LEDRO - Overhead: LEDRO stands for Listening Environment Diagnostic Recording Test. This means that sounds are spatially rotated and you can listen to see how well you track the sound. On the Overhead test a sound is produced above your head and to the left. It travels from left to right and back again. You should be able to picture in your mind the sound moving with some precision. With the Alienvibes W401 Subwoofer Speaker System the sound was clear, and above, but the clarity of where the sound was a little weak so I rated it at 65.

LEDRO - Down to Up: The down to up test provides the same audio translation. With a down up down simulation for the right and left sides. In this case the sound was quite distinct and you could form a clear picture of where it was in your mind. Score: 85.

LEDRO - Left to Right: The Alienvibes W401 Subwoofer Speaker System also performed very well in this test. The sound clearly hovered to the front and translated left to right and back. Score: 85.

Timber - The timber, in my definition, is the covering the audio across the full audio band. I assessed the system using various music types: Classical, Rock (Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody), and Pop (Psy - Gangman Style). I also threw in some Diana Krall and Herbie Hancock to round out the styles represented. The Alienvibes W401 Subwoofer Speaker System is very strong in Bass and Treble reproduction. There is a distinct weakness in the mid-range, but honestly, outside of the audio sweet spot it is almost undetectable. Score: 85.

Sound location Left and Right. This was a quick test. A voice is transmitted to the left or right and it was so distinct you wanted to turn your head. Score 80.

Imaging Detail. Imaging detail is another very subjective test. It is easier to pick up when listening to complex music representing many instruments. Mostly this is clearer in good quality classical music. A truly remarkable sound system will allow you to almost pinpoint where every instrument is placed. In this test the W401 also did very well. The sound was reproduced very well and singular instruments could be heard in general locations. For this reason the system scored 80.

Distortion. I did my very best to produce distortion in this system. Granted I only used my computer, and I am sure if I wanted to overdrive the audio inputs I could, but I was able to max out all the volume levels available and I only was able to detect distortion at the edges of the sound. Score: 80.

As I mentioned above I was given access to the Crysis 3 MP Beta. The Alienvibes W401 Subwoofer Speaker System provided a full picture of the audio during the game, although it was limited to the frontal 180 degree hemisphere. When sound was coming from that direction you could clearly detect movement from left to right and up and down. And the level of audio detail generated a very positive gaming environment.

Having conducted the preceding tests I then turned to the Bass end of the audio production. So I cranked up all the volumes, maxed the W401 Speaker System bass and went back through my list of Dubstep music that my son provided to me. If you want to isolate the bass in your system try maxing the bass and run Brain Damage by Jomekka through a couple of times. As applicable you might want to make sure that your; wife, parents, and/or dogs are out of the house. Just saying. The Alienvibes W401 Subwoofer Speaker System performed very well - around 100 Hz there is a distinct resonance in my basement ceiling. You could tell though, that the system was at the edge. There was some distinct buzzing at some points in the music. I can say, however, for a system at this price I was very impressed.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Ineo Alienvibes W401 Speaker SystemCR 2013-03-13 08:20
I find it interesting that the main controls are on the sub unit. In my experience, the sub is usually placed on the floor or even out of sight (which works since our brains can't accurately tell where low frequencies are coming from). Having controls on the sub means the sub must be placed on the desk or at least within reach (i.e. not on the floor). And with only 4 foot cables for the speakers, the sub will most likely need to be centrally located. In my setup, that would be where my monitor sits. At 11" x 9" x 9" (roughly), that would be a problem. It is nice that the speakers have a nice look, but I expect that most people will find controls on the sub unit as a huge drawback.
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# RE: RE: Ineo Alienvibes W401 Speaker Systemkiv 2013-04-30 09:26
If by interesting you mean a poor design choice, then yes, it is interesting. All your points are deal breakers for me. my current speaker system has a wired control unit that extends pretty far from the base unit.
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# RE: Ineo Alienvibes W401 Speaker Systemkzinti1 2013-04-30 11:48
I agree that the controls have the most stupid placement I've ever seen.
This tiny system is made to sit on a small shelf!
If you try and hide the sub, you may never see the thing again.
It appears this system is made for an iPod or tablet.
I'll stick with my Corsair SP2500 with its Ottoman sized sub cabinet, thank you.
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