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Manufacturer: Jazz Speakers
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: RCA Audio Port

Jazz Speakers J9906
February 26, 2003 | Greg Gant

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Never heard of Jazz Speakers? If you're in United States, don't be surprised if you haven't. Jazz Speakers mainly produces OEM/ODM products for industry heavy weights such as Microsoft, TEAC, Klipsch, Sony, Dolby Labs, and Intel. Jazz Speakers' product line can be found in Europe, Australia, Canada, South America and Asia, or in specialized import stores in the U.S.

The J9906 brings a total of 110 watts RMS to the table: 60 watts for the subwoofer and 10 watts for each of the five satellite speakers. The speakers cover a 35 Hz ~ 20 kHz sound range, roughly 9.25 octaves of the audible 10 octaves. Each satellite uses a two-way speaker combination of a 1-inch tweeter and 3-inch driver. The center channel boasts dual 3-inch drivers and 1-inch tweeter. The J9906s sport RCA inputs and a special port that can be used with one of Jazz Speakers' 5.1 Digital/ProLogic decoders such as the DE007 (included in this review), ideal for use with your Mac, to game consoles.

The J9906s documentation is thin at best but setting up the system is a walk in the park, thanks to the color-coded cabling and pictorial iconography located on the back of each speaker. JS didn't skimp on cables either; the J9906s come with multiple cable extensions. It seems too often that speaker cables are not long enough for use in a multi-purpose environment.

The DE007 and Digital Surround
In order to take advantage of digital surround sound, the digital source data must be converted into analog sound with a Digital-to-Analog converter (DAC) before the sound is transmitted to the speakers. To save space on a DVD, the audio track is compressed with a popular codec such as Dolby Digital or DTS.

Once the digital sound stream is extracted off the DVD, it is transmitted through a digital cable of one of the following cable formats: coaxial or optical (TOSLINK). Despite the hype of optical cablin,; neither sounds better than the other. Coaxial and optical cables both transmit digital data, 01010101 is 01010101 regardless if the data is carried by light or electricity. In theory, the advantage of optical cable is that RF (radio frequency) noise cannot affect the signal, thus the cable doesn't need to be heavily shielded. The "wow" factor comes at a price though, as optical cable is more expensive and less durable than coaxial.

The sound stream must then be decompressed with a decoder chip before it can be converted into analog sound. In a home theater, a receiver functions as the decoder/DAC. On a computer, software and/or hardware is used. As of this writing, there are no hardware or software decoders available on the Mac, but the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 and Sonica are capable of digital output.

The DE007 Digital/ProLogic decoder is a standalone unit that provides the service of decoding Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby ProLogic audio. It has an optical (TOSLINK), coaxial input, and an analog input. Each input is separate so one can connect three separate devices total. The DE007 allows the user to toggle between inputs, adjust sound volume, and change sound modes. Also it provides the user with a wireless remote. The DE007 connects with single wire to the J9906s but can be used with any analog computer speakers sets on the market.


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