Review of: VMI's 2.1-channel desktop beauty
First and foremost, let me say that I was one of the lucky few chosen to review one of VMI's new offerings in the home audio market and received this set of speakers free of charge provided I write a review on them. @LuckyatVMI ;
That being said, I'll start as I always do with pics. Let's start with the unboxing:
Kudos to VMI for the impressive packaging on this set. Not only was the item double-boxed, but internally it was well-cushioned by two styrofoam plates and cups for the speakers/remote/RCA-3.5mm jack. The design of the box itself looks like it could go toe-to-toe with Logitech. You don't see many systems at this price point that include the pack-ins that it does, either.
Once unboxed, these really are more attractive than they appear on the site. Yes, the bright orange trim ring is a bit overdone for my tastes and it would most likely stand out in an uncomfortable way in a formal office setting, but here in my recruiting office, they have a good amount of flair. The LED on the sub is not as overly bright as pictured and will not double as a nightlight. Good touch there.
These are your settings as pictured on the front of the sub. From top to bottom you have treble, bass, and volume. While I like having these settings available for all kinds of input (unlike some I've heard that only have them available for SD and USB inputs), I did find it a little frustrating that there is no quick stop in the middle. There is a bit of guessing as to where the levels are for each dial and some guess-work/muscle memory will be necessary.
As mentioned before, the sub is basically the central unit and there are four RCA jacks in the rear. Two for the speaker outputs and two for the inputs. Additionally, there is a USB jack and SD/MMC card slot to allow for playing of material without utilizing additional inputs. I have not yet tested this feature, but did have difficulty connecting an iPhone 4S to either charge or play. Additionally, there are play/pause, and track forward/reverse buttons for utilizing the SD/USB capabilities. This unit does not feature a display, however, so plan to make your SD cards and thumb drives in a single-folder layout.
Certain tracks I've demoed through it so far are as follows (played via the 3.5mm jack connected to my iPhone):
Adele - Rolling in the Deep
Awolnation - Sail
Atomship - Pencil Fight
Arty - Around the World
(yes, I know, they're all "A" artists, but that's what's loaded on my iPhone at the moment)
I have also let Pandora run throughout the course of this morning.
As far as listening impressions go, I am impressed with how laid back these speakers are and I attribute that to the fact that the speakers feature paper cones. With a little adjustment of bass and treble, I've found the subs blends in well with the speakers. Bass is full and deep and not in-your-face like I've seen on a lot of consumer systems at this price point. The soundstage is deceivingly wide for speakers this small and it wasn't hard at all to throw sound around large spaces. Are you going to want to strap this up to your turntable and listen to your vinyl collection on it? Probably not, but it's a very competent system that holds its own.
Bassheads will be well-pleased with the amount of low end extension on tap. I could not get this system to break up no matter how loud I cranked the volume. This would be a great system for a small office all the way up to a large garage.
So those are my initial impressions. Keep tuned for followups including video demos and function testing of the SD/USB features.