Firstly we are going to discuss the features of the Antec Soundscience Rockus 3D 2.1 Speaker system, which are certainly impressive and fairly varied. The 3d mode is certainly a very unique feature and one that we haven’t really seen on the market yet and could potentially help bring your high-definition movies to life. The other additions to this speaker system which we don’t always see, is more than 1 input option, in this case there are 3. However, only 2 are effectively switchable so if you use both the analogue inputs you will find the speakers ‘mix’ the two together if both play, this is mildly annoying but easily avoidable. If however you want to switch between an optical source and an auxiliary (analogue) then the mode button on the volume control makes this very easy and is perfect for switching between games console and PC for instance.
The sound quality in general of these speakers is very impressive, mainly because they are a decent size, and made extremely well, on top of that they have a lot of spare power to play with. We were certainly very pleased with the subwoofer which has a full 100w but maybe more importantly has a frequency range that goes down to a mere 10 Hz which is some serious bass note, although after testing we found that the subwoofer did manage to play a 5 Hz sound note although it was quite distorted this is pretty good considering most 2.1 speaker systems have a frequency range down to 22 Hz.
The speakers automatically turn on with the Music Mode selected as this is the most likely option you will want. This is designed for all your everyday music, videos and as such is tailored perfectly to give you the best sound. We did find that the satellite speakers do most of the work and even lots of the lower frequencies go through these speakers and its not until you have a song with some serious bass that the subwoofer really kicks into life. When it does however, we were stunned, 100w for a dedicated subwoofer is quite a lot and it is certainly loud and very punchy. The quality and tone is also quite nice and manages to reproduce fairly soft bass sounds as well as the much more in your face bass. With the right song the bass will knock you off your feet.
Pressing the mode button once quickly will switch from Music Mode to 3D mode, which in theory should help you to be immersed in your movie. We did find a few problems with this, but all in all it was an amazing feature to have. The sound produced did sound like it was coming from a larger ‘angle’ and did give a more surround feel, but whether it sounded 3d is certainly very debatable. It did certainly heighten the intensity for action films, and the speakers really do come alive in this setting, but only when using the right source. For instance, if you are playing a FPS or similar game, which has full surround sound, 3D mode is pretty impressive, except that because certain frequencies are boosted, any vocal or speech noises are fainter, and this became a problem. This was admittedly less of a problem in films, but it wasn’t as clear as we would like especially when compared to the Music mode. This did mean that while playing games we were reluctant to have it in 3d mode even though it had a lot of advantages.
Having an optical input is a brilliant addition allowing you take digital sound straight into your speakers, which in theory should provide a better sound quality, and as already mentioned being able to switch sources is brilliant. That said, we did struggle to hear any audible difference between the same source playing through auxillary and through optical but this doesn’t exactly surprise us.
While these speakers are quite bulky and not the most stylish they certainly don’t look bad and will certainly look quite impressive next to a large TV for instance. However, there are a few design flaws, firstly, the stands on the satellites are at such an angle that either they expect you to have the speakers close to the ground or expect you to be sat/standing the other side of the room. Many other speakers point ‘upwards’ but these are slightly more tilted and so if they are sat on top of your computer desk they will throwing sound straight over your head. The other design flaw, is that the speaker cables are surprisingly short, for instance, if you use these speakers with a 40″ TV and put the subwoofer to the left-hand side, (of the TV) you will not be able to place the right-hand speaker to the right of the TV as the cable is just too short. Instead, you end up putting both speakers in front of the TV and quite close together. If the subwoofer is directly beneath a computer desk (below the monitor) you will be able to have the speakers spread out slightly, but if you put it to one side you will not be able to put the speakers where you want. Simply, the cable length chosen by soundscience reduces the flexibility of the positioning of these speakers so you are forced to put them where you can and not in the best position and that is quite frankly annoying. There is also no option to plug in any headphones to the volume control which is a feature even lots of the budget speaker systems have.
In terms of overall performance we are very impressed with these speakers, 3D mode when used with the right source is pretty impressive and has an intense sound. We also like the options for input devices and the volume control and mode button. However, there are a few design flaws that do let these speakers down slightly.