Low-Cost 3D Sound from Philips

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - I've never been a fan of entry-level speakers, but the price of the Philips Consumer Electronics Corp. MMS205 speaker system intrigued me. Could a four-speaker system that cost only US$80 sound good? My test indicates that the quality of such speakers has improved--but you still get what you pay for.

The MMS205 is a solid first-time system for fans of 3D sound. Four tiny 2.5-inch satellites and a front-firing subwoofer pumped out crisp highs and solid lows. Stereo effects were great, too, as the satellites' small size simplified finding the right speaker position. But most sets of no-frills speakers have a catch--here, for example, there's a gaping hole in the midrange response. Music and audio effects on this shipping unit sounded noticeably weaker than on my four-year-old Altec Lansing speaker set, though much crisper.

A handy wired remote contains a volume control for the rear-channel speakers, as well as a button to activate a hardware feature that adds 3D effects to 2D recordings. The set lacks mounting brackets or stands for the rear speakers, but you can mount the tiny satellites where you wish, using a simple screw positioned at the proper depth.

Spend a bit more money to move up, and notice the difference. But if you want to try 3D sound on a budget, the MMS205 is a good choice.

--Eric Dahl

Philips MMS205 speaker system

PRO: Inexpensive

CON: Weak midrange response.

VALUE: Low-cost 3D sound.

List price: $80

Philips Consumer Electronics

800/835-3506

www.pcstuff.philips.com

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