on 9 June 2012
After much deliberation, and based on the few editorial reviews available, I decided to purchase the Roth Audio Charlie 2.1 (black). Although I realize it is risky to purchase audio equipment sight unseen (or unheard), this seems to be how it is done more and more these days (online and on the high street). Over and above that, I have been enjoying a Roth Audio AudioBlob 2 (also a 2.1 system) for several years now. Based on my experience with the AudioBlob 2, I decided to 'upgrade' to the Charlie 2.1, imagining, if anything, the sound quality would be superior to the AudioBlob. Sadly this is not the case.
While the Charlie 2.1 has a good range of nifty features: wireless RothDock, remote control for IPod and the speaker unit itself, a range of inputs, including USB in from a computer, none of this compensates for the poor quality sound of the system. I have fiddled for several days now trying to find a balance between the subwoofer volume and the satellite speakers volume, I have played only the subwoofer, only the satellites, tried every speaker cable arrangement, all to no avail: the sound quality of this system compared to that of the AudioBlob 2, at bass, mid, and high frequency ranges, is disappointing to say the least.
While the AudioBlob 2 is not perfect (a noticeable hum for example), lacking many of the attractive features of the Charlie 2.1, it is more compact and has a much more convincing lower end (middle and high as well). In short, the Charlie 2.1 is harsh on the ears, the subwoofer produces something much more like the mid-range sound of a long wave or AM radio, and the satellites produce a harsh, brittle and tinny sound, nothing like the smooth, warm and silky sound of the AudioBlob, with its more convincing lower and upper registers. Just to say, in an effort to give the Charlie 2.1 a chance, I've also tried a wide range of source material using the Roth Dock, USB in, 3.5 cable, DVD, IPod, telephone, ITunes direct from computer, and even streamed radio, so I am confident it is not the source material, more so because side-by-side comparisons with the AudioBlob 2 reveal the very significant sonic limitations of the Charlie 2.1.
Obviously, I should have left well enough alone and stuck with the AudioBlob 2 until its demise, though the features of the Charlie 2.1 (and my previous experience with a Roth Audio product) made it very attractive, especially at the price of around £80 delivered, from a non-Amazon (or marketplace) seller. In terms of price, I should say that had I paid the original release price of £199 I would've felt terribly ripped-off. The disappointing sound quality of the Charlie 2.1 just couldn't warrant such a high price. Even at £80 delivered, the Charlie 2.1 isn't worth the cost, at least not for this reviewer.
on 1 February 2011
One of the main attractions to this setup is the wireless ipod/iphone docking station. unfortunately when this communicates with the subwoofer the signal it emits interferes with the wifi and completely Knocks out the wifi signal so i can`t access anything via wifi, listen to You tube, internet radio etc. while the ipode/iphone is docked and in wireless mode. It even effected the wifi siganl on all my other wifi items. This might not happen to everyone but it did to me and my linksys router setup. The system was larger than i envisaged and did not live up to the sound quality that i expected via some of the other reviews.