XTZ MH-800 – PC Boxes with DSP

Would it not a fine thing if you could simply adjust speaker button on the acoustics of their site? XTZ pursued this approach with its new DSP-based PC speakers MH-800 (450 euros). The result can be heard.

That manufacturer by using digital signal processors (DSP) can correct the frequency response of speakers, is basically old hat. In the normal case, it runs so that the computer chips in an active speaker amplifier module are integrated or in a separate processor box supplied.

The engineers of the Swedish manufacturer XTZ track with their new desktop set MH 800 but a completely different concept. You came up with the ingenious idea to get the required computing power from a computer, which is usually already next to the desk. That makes sense, because for one so more powerful algorithms are possible, and on the other hand the manufacturer can concentrate more on other important elements of his box, for example on a good housing construction.

In fact, the build quality of the XTZ speaker is remarkable: the two-way passive speakers, an extremely robust impression. A 7, 5 cm wide band and an indoor recumbent, 13 cm woofer driver, working with the woofer indirectly emits a front-slot in them. The two speakers are supplied by an external amplifier with juice. He also makes a very strong impression in his metal body and comes out thanks to the cool running switching amplifier technology without annoying air vents.

According to the motto “less is more” is the frequency response calculator based the speakers so only corrected: the two boxes are classic connected to the amplifier, which in turn either digital or analog directly to a PC or Mac is in contact. For this, the XTZ Amp offers a USB input and a pair of RCA inputs. Select the input source using the little rocker switch on the front.

A special filter program will be installed on the computer itself, which comes from renowned House: the Swedish digital-sound experts Dirac have with DSP software for high-end car facilities – made by BMW to Bentley – a first class name. The “Dirac Audio Processor” is specifically tailored to XTZ boxes and latches onto between the source program and the audio output. In other words: All sounds are processed by this software, before they reach the speakers. So, it doesn’t matter whether the sound comes from a player like iTunes or from a computer game.

The real kicker: Different equaliser curves are selectable via the Dirac program. So, you can adjust the sound of the boxes on the acoustics of the place of installation. Preset programs such as “Bass-Reduction”, “wall”, “loudness” and “Desk” are already available. The installation is relatively easy – you should only as a Mac user at least OS X 10.6 have played at an older version of the OS, the Setup will fail. Correctly installed the program, which is currently still in beta stage, now running in the background. So far, there is not a way to the equalizer fine to tune to their own taste.

At the first start of Dirac program’s first requesting the user data obtained during the registration of XTZ . After activating the software – start however with disabled equalisation.

How day and night

Don’t be scared: without the digital sound enhancement sound the boxes already strange. The AHA effect follows but prompt if you turn filtering with one click. Depending on the preset and site, the speaker sounds like a motherfucker. During the hearing test under realistic conditions (i.e. directly on the desktop), the ‘Desk’ setting had proved to be best sounding mode. Problematic frequencies caused by reflections, are taken into account in the processing and the adjusted sound according to.

Immediately liked the tight bass that went surprisingly deep down – without having to make it flabby. The finest details were such as “Kashiwate” the Japanese pop-band listen Clammbon (“ten”). The all-time hearing test-classic “Hotel California” from the eponymous album of the Eagles sounded impressive balanced. The disco song “Funky Boogie” by John Ozilla somewhat into oblivion over the Sweden-boxes was fun so that in the Office real party mood wanted to get wide. In classical music as well as jazz – for example, “hunt up wind” by Hiroshi Fukumura (hunt up wind) – fresh and uncompressed sound of the XTZ set liked thanks to the natural stereo imaging.

Conclusion

Not bad what the Sweden as the MH-800 DSP deliver. As long as it has no ancient machines, the idea with the computer based sound correction works really well. Some functions such as user presets would be indeed nice, but maybe that implements with later updates, especially as the Dirac software is still a beta version. The desktop set anyway, already with a solid processing, but especially with his top sound can collect points.