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Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality product, good value, 20 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Microlab FC360 5.1 Wood Case Speaker System (Accessory)
Having decided that my ageing Creative 5.1 speaker setup, although fully operational, no longer did full justice to a modern PC's HD multimedia capabilities, I set about finding a replacement. Logitech seemed a good bet, but for PC use only the 1000 watt Z906 seemed over-the-top and the Z506's subwoofer looked disappointingly small. After investigating home cinema kit, which did more than I needed, I stumbled across Microlab. Their 2.1 and 5.1 offerings seemed to be well received, and the 5.1 system fulfilled my requirements, so I decided to give them a try.
First impressions on opening the box were favourable, the design and build being conservative but reassuringly solid. The front and rear L/R units stand vertically and unobtrusively on a bookshelf, each occupying the space of about 5 standard DVD cases, while the centre speaker lies horizontally and is slightly longer. There is flexibility in the positioning of the unpowered subwoofer, so I tuck it into the footwell of my computer desk.
Finally there is the 6 channel 100 watt amplifier, whose fascia is roughly the same in shape as that of the centre speaker, but is far deeper and needs to be accessible to see the displays of its various functions. There is a large volume control knob on the front, an input changeover button and the mains on/off button. Standby mode, mute, output mode (2.1 or 5.1), input selection and fine channel level adjustment is available from a small remote control.
Cables are permanently attached to all 6 speakers, each with a flying phono (RCA) plug. Also supplied are phono-phono cables for the 5.1 input, and stereo jack to 2 X phono for the 2.0 input. I found that I needed to extend the rear speaker cables (as I had with the previous Creative ones), and the fixed mains cable attached to the amplifier also needed an extension. I also had to find jack-phono cables for the 5.1 input, as my PC has jack outputs.
Once I had all the necessary cabling, installation was quick and painless, as my PC was already set for 5.1 output.
The sound from this equipment is good, having clear treble and quite deep bass. Inevitably there is a slight "hole in the middle" feeling as the small speakers have limited bass capability, but this is no worse than I have found in far more expensive systems than this one. Games on the PC with surround audio are frighteningly realistic and film soundtracks absorbing.
My one criticism of the sound quality would be for music, bearing in mind that I normally listen on a system where each individual speaker costs more than the complete Microlab equipment. As a severe test I played a Blu-ray disc of Mahler's 8th symphony and listened to the 'Veni Creator Spiritus' first movement. While the sound was clear and free from distortion, voices lacked a little body and warmth. The subwoofer coped well with the deep bass but was obviously separate from the rest of the audio spectrum.
In conclusion then, I find that Microlab have produced a subjectively good quality product at a tempting price, giving a sound output of more than adequate volume ( for an average room) and clarity. Whereas I would not choose it as my primary music system, it is nevertheless very listenable and doubtless I could easily accustom myself to it.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Apr 2013 17:57:58 BDT
Canopus72 says:
Hi. Can you please confirm if this speaker system can be used with a pc?. I am currently looking to upgrade my Logitech X540 speakers (I have been using them for 5 years and still going strong) but I fancy a change. I have been told that the X540 will not be able to extract all of the performance from my new creative ZXR soundcard. Does the FC360 produce notably better sound quality than the X540?. Please advise. many thanks. Suhail.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2013 07:09:03 BDT
Hello Suhail,
looking at specs for the Creative ZXR card, I see that it has 5.1 analogue outputs, the front speakers being RCA(phono) and the rear/centre/subwoofer on 3.5 mm jacks. You will therefore need 2 3.5 mm to RCA cables for the rear/centre/subwoofer channels, as these are not provided with the Microlab speakers.

I have no experience of the Logitech speakers so cannot give you a comparison, but Expert Reviews give them an excellent 5 star rating. Their maximum power output at 70 watts is slightly less than the Microlabs 100, but this is not an indicator of perceived audio quality.
If these speakers give sufficient sound output now then they are obviously adequate in that respect.

To answer your question, then, you can use the Microlab speakers with a PC and from the specs I have seen for the sound card they will be compatible with the addition of the cables I mentioned. Which speakers you will prefer, I'm afraid, I cannot tell.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2013 12:34:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2013 12:44:00 BDT
Canopus72 says:
Hello John. Thank you for your kind reply. The ZXR did come with 1 Y splitter cable. It looks like I will have to buy another one. I was thinking about the Logitech Z906, but they are somewhat expensive, plus I read a tech report over a year ago. The Z906 was compared to its' predecessor (Z5500) and it was quite an eye opener. The Z906 was technologically inferior compared to the Z5500 (poor quality circuit boards, tweeters, etc). There are also reviews on Amazon, etc of the Z906 short circuiting!. I did not think that trying to find a decent pair of pc compatible speakers would be this difficult!. Regards, Suhail.

Posted on 4 Oct 2014 19:42:24 BDT
Hi thanksfor yourgreat review!

Do you know more or less the lenght of the cables of the speakers?

Thanks a lot

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2014 22:27:56 BDT
I won't be at home for a week but will measure them as soon as possible, They're easily extended with RCA male-female anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2014 12:22:31 BDT
Good point John :) Thanks a lot for the tip!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2014 16:24:25 BDT
Hi Francesco,
Sorry it took so long - just arrived home - it's a bit difficult to measure accurately without destroying my cabling system, but roughly speaking front speakers have 1.5 metres cables, rear speakers 5.5 metres.
Hope that helps.
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Location: Penarth, Vale of Glam Wales

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