CeBIT 2007: Razer Review 2

CeBIT 2007: Razer Review

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Mako 2.1 Speaker System

Razer is showing off a working sample of their upcoming 2.1 speakers, called Mako. Just as we have come to expect, these look completely different than the usual kind. Razer has been working with the engineers from THX on a new speaker design, which gives the computer user the best possible sound experience. Normal desktop systems point toward the user and are not able to deliver a true engulfing sound stage. This can be easily noticed, if you move closer to one speaker, making that one more prominent. Another problem are speakers with more than one driver. If there are high and mid range ones, these tend to be placed at different angles toward the listener. This means that one or both sound waves bounce off the table and reach the user at slightly different times, which degrades the audio experience. The overall design of the speakers does serve another important purpose. Razer and THX have created an enclosure that best supplements the internal components to produce the best acoustic wave.

The design of the Mako is quite unique. The mid and high range output is just a few millimeters apart and the drivers are actually pointed toward the table instead toward the user. Both sources complement each other, as they are so closely together, which eliminates the problem of the sources cancelling each other out. The satellites are true bi-amplified with DSP control, but more on that a bit later.
Due to the very new design, there is no audible differentiation and the user does not need to place the two satellites at an equal distance away. The use of the table to carry sound waves is quite noticeable, as the quality degrades as soon as it is picked up from the table. Another advantage of the design is, that it can be placed at any height the user wishes without having to sacrifice quality. Each speaker in the satellite has its own 60W amplifier.

The subwoofer is constructed much like the satellites and complements the system quite nicely. There is no need to place the sub in the corner of the room to gain the most prominent low range bass, as is traditionally done with normal subwoofers.

The demo unit has an external enclosure which houses all the electronics. This will be embedded in the subwoofer for the production unit. The unit features ClassHD digital amplifier technology with four separate DSPs. Such technology is usually found in much more expensive speaker systems. The speakers' output is regulated by a tracking power supply which keeps an eye on the output signal and varies the power output for the all speakers accordingly. The output is DSP monitored, which means that there is no way to actually overload the system. It monitors the thermal characteristics of the speaker and pulls the gain down if the user drives it too high. This system is based on something that THX actually created for the automotive industry and is used by Lincoln and BMW.

The control unit uses a touch sensitive surface. What you can see on our pictures is not the final design. On the retail units there will be additional controls for volume, bass, treble, a mute button and selection of line 1 or line 2. The headphone jack is amplified as well, to deliver the best possible sound experience to the headset. You also have a second output available which works as line-in, to give the user the option of plugging another audio device like an MP3 player directly into the system.

To give you an idea as to how the production unit will look, here is a picture from Razer:

The complete unit will deliver 300W and should cost less than 300 USD. Even though Razer has been working closely with THX and there is a lot of engineering of THX inside the system, getting the actual certification is a different process. Most people associate THX purely with the certification standard, not with the fact that they do have the know-how to produce some amazing audio hardware.
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