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When we bought my current desktop PC for work, we bought the entire set-up from Dell, which included a set of these A225 speakers.
The speakers are as unremarkable as speakers could be to look at, bordering on ugly, measuring 6.5cm wide x 17cm tall and around 5cm deep. They are angular in appearance, chunky and square, with splayed top corners and sstanding slightly raised from a flat base of a moulded foot. They are made entirely of black plastic, with a silver plastic mesh to the front speaker area. The speaker mesh covers almost the entire front face of the speakers.
The speakers are powered by usb connection and then they are plugged into a 3.5mm jack into the relevant PC port and are supplied with a generous cable over 1.5m long to plug into the computer, plus around 2m between the two speakers, which gives more options for positioning them than I would ever need, and I'd guess as much as anyone would want, without going wireless.
The speakers are switched on with a turn-knob which is housed on the front of one of the speakers. When powered on, a small green light illuminates just above the knob to remind you to switch off when finished. Volume is adjusted simply by turning the knob to the required level.
Before reviewing the speakers, I have only used them very occasionally when I've needed them, I don't have them switched on all the time and have never looked upon them as something to turn my computer into a music player. I have now rectified this and am currently listening to some music, which is actually amazing me with the quality. I'm no music fanatic so I don't mean to suggest that these speakers are about to replace a surround-sound-system or anything, but to listen to music they are perfectly fine, and in fact at full volume it was quite deafening, without distorting the sound at all. The output is up to 1.2W. For such small units, and the price at which they can be picked up - around £10 - I'm seriously very impressed.
The main reason that I don't have the speakers switched on all the time is that they are super-sensitive to my mobile phone signal, even if the phone isn't next to them on the desk. When a call or text is incoming it picks up the signal with that dut-dut-dut noise, which is annoying and quite loud, depending on the volume level selected.
Being powered and connected by means of the standard sized jack plug, these speakers work with any laptop/PC with such a port as well as fitting into the earphones socket on mp3/ipod, and giving a great sound, although the sound is nowhere near as loud, and both the device and the speakers need to be near to maximum. I've now replaced my usual radio-listening with playing my ipod music during the day ... writing this review has been a revelation!
Being a curious soul, I found the idea of plugging in an AC/DC adapter power supply to a CPU Speaker odd. There was times I curse the CPU Speaker manufacturer for lack of forward thinking, especially when it comes down to using the planets resources needlessly. Not that I'm an eco-warrior, heaven forbid - cow's methane gases is the culprit on that score - but the irritation of coordinating wires and moving power supplies to more worthwhile devices to facilitate a CPU Speaker! In a bid to get some sound out of my mute 'Dimension' workstation, which had a plethora of USB enable connecting options - this staggered me mentally for years. This premise came at the time when people mimicked 'Hello Moto' <TV advert for Motorola>. The age of audio technology streamed onto our flip-phones emulating a proverbial 'wall of noise' - I suppose I was expecting too much too soon for CPU user-friendly audio-ware. For an audio-bully, I strived for high spec audio for lower bandwidth - finding a high spec audio conversion once was a tough task, for a while it was an obsession of mine. I tinkered with voice-recognition software to aid my quest in absorbing the wonders of 'Shockwave' (SWF) which derived from Macromedia's 'Flash' software. Audibly the technology was ready. It took years for CPU Speakers to follow suit.
Not only did the power hungry speakers want their own power supply - the speakers also plagued your workspace. For best performance, place the twin towers; firstly to the right of your workstation and then the other tower place it to the left. Brands, such as 'Logitech' went out of their way to provide needlessly bulky speaker devices which required a sturdy shelf purely for the unit to operate on - not the case with Dell. On the contrary, Dell seemed to be courteous when it came to device size and their device size ethos weren't intent on invading workspace either; hence, why I prefer a lesser ostentatious speaker. Dell's A225 model fits into the designated workspace adjacent to my lobes - room enough to slide a stylus each side. The dimensions are: 2.5 x 2.5 x 7 inches - equipped with a built-in avant-garde stand, the semi quirkiness is a plus point. Ultimately, due to the design - I can if I choose to, squash in the 7 inch towers around stationary if required. Making it, versatility wise a malleable object when necessary. Squared off at the edges depicts the 'Art Deco' style - the 'On / Off' volume control and how the speakers swoon around the knob reminds me of a mid 1930's radio transmitter, except for the fact the A225 model isn't the size of a sideboard.
Dell's A225 multimedia speaker's energy efficiency is 1.2 Watts of RMS (Root Mean Square) output, for both towers collectively. Connectivity comes directly from using the CPU power source, via an USB 2.0 (Universal Serial Bus). The audio jack colour is lime green and this complies with the colour connector on your workstation. I'm had Dell's A225 speakers since mid 2007 and overall apart from picking up interference from a mobile phone receptor the performance is adequate, for the price of 15.00 GBP (Red Planet Trader) at present. Naturally, the product has dropped considerably since my purchase - quality wise, the Speakers have not deteriorated in audio quality to a great extent, whereby it is noticeable by the naked ear. Then again, it depends on your usage duration and how you use them. My usage flicks from iPlayer - YouTube and music downloads. Having designed audio real-tones for mobile devices I prefer to listen to the end products via the mobile devices it's intended for; rather than expect the A225 Speaker to do the whole job for me. Therefore I send data via wifi to devices instead - it kind of cuts out the middle man, and ultimately quickens up the audio procedure. Don't expect miracles for the price.
Ace for base
No warp sounding vibrations are evident when dealing with lower tones, unlike other speakers in the past. Boasts of a frequency range of 100 - 20,000 Hz (Hertz - a measurement of sound per cycle) - Named after the German Physicist; Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894). The higher tones do have a minuscule echo effect on the ear drum - however, the middle notes balance out the audio quality. Certain vocals stimulate crispness to the audio output which some audio fiends may conclude as a viable piece of audio equipment. Proof that digital media quality even shows up on a dinosaur multimedia speaker. Each of us hears audibility differently. One thing to note - the vocal capabilities of Elton John is no better, via listening through a Dell A225 Speaker. The Speaker won't make Joe Pasquale's voice sound like the 'Honey Monster'. But the differences are apparent, if you listen hard enough - Three Stars.