November 20, 2002 | Greg Gant
Midiland is finally getting the recognition they deserve after their smash hit with the S4 8200 v2.0 (reviewed here). To help diversify their product line, they recently introduced the Midiland POWERSTIXX, at a MSPR of $129.95.
SpecificationsEach of the two satellites in the POWERSTIXX system is outfitted with a mini-arsenal of four 1 inch microdrivers. The subwoofer is armed with a single 6.5 inch driver The entire system packs a total of 60 watts RMS; 30 watt RMS by the subwoofer and 15 watts RMS per satellite. Each satellite covers a 120 Hz to 20 kHz sound range and the sub woofer is rated for 35 to 300 Hz. Unlike many speakers in the $100 range, the satellites reproduce a larger portion of the sound range. Only 2.5 octaves of audible sound are left entirely to the subwoofer to reproduce, thus enhancing the stereo field.
The Good SideThe POWERSTIXX sport some useful features. Each satellite has a removable stand that can be adjusted for a lower profile or wall mounting for truly stylish sound. Also, the POWERSTIXX include RCA inputs on the subwoofer, as well as a standard 1/8" (miniplug) jack for auxiliary audio input. The benefit of using the RCA input over the 1/8" input is that you can get a better (less noise and no bleed through) signal due to the fact that RCA cables often are more shielded. Out of the box, these speakers can be used for a wide variety of devices from TV, to DVD and video game consoles.
And the Bad SideThe speakers feature an unimpressive 55 db signal-to-noise ratio. White noise can be heard over the hum of my not-so-quiet Digital Audio G4. The dull hiss ranked high on my list of complaints but not as nearly as high as my next.
The speakers are not magnetically shielded. I have a rather large desk for my computer, enough to carry two monitors, the G4 and countless CDs, and I found that I had to place the speakers at the far corners of my desktop. The satellites caused visible distortion in my monitor at roughly one foot. This is simply inexcusable for a general-purpose computer speaker. I can only imagine what it would have been like two years ago, in my cramped dorm room trying to find space to place my speakers far enough from my monitor to prevent flickering. The lack of magnetic shielding is a big turn off for any users who lack space and do not wish to wall mount them.
Wired Remote The wired remote is as basic as they come, with a simple analog scroll dial, much like an old radio. Turning the volume down until the dial clicks turns off the speakers, the reverse turns them on. The dial sports a bright blue LED signaling when the power is on or off. The remote lacks the bells and whistles such as a headphone jack, power on/off, and bass and treble adjustment. I found the classic wheel easier to adjust sound volume than the Altec Lansing 2100's. Next to the Monsoon PlanarMedia remote, which features bass control, it was no contest.