Eagle Arion ET-AR504LR-BK 2.1 Soundstage Review
Reviewed by: Compxpert
Reviewed on: July 28, 2009
Whether you're a gamer or an audiophile, good speakers are a must. In any build, after you consider a sound card, the next step is a sound system. Either you need one because you lack a sound system entirely, or maybe what you have now is simply not good enough. No matter what the case, Eagle has a solution with the Arion ET-AR504LR 2.1 Soundstage. Eagle has kindly provided some nice things with the Arion 2.1 Soundstage. If you're curious why not read on?
Though this is only a 2.1 system, it is quite loaded for one. It comes with a remote control and the subwoofer even has a built-in LCD screen for configuration. The built-in LCD even features an equalizer of sorts, which goes up and down to the beat of the subwoofer.
Looking at the front of the box, we are shown a picture of the speakers along with the subwoofer. Here is where the LCD is shown off and we are told that this system peaks at 70 watts. On one side we are shown a shot of the speaker up close and on the other side we are given the specifications and features, the most notable being the built-in LCD and the bundled remote control. Lastly, on the back of the box, the specific components of the speakers, subwoofer, and remote are detailed.
At first glance, this speaker system looks pretty nice, but let's move on and see what's inside.
When you go to open the box, the first thing staring at you is a shaped piece of special cardboard. The speakers and subwoofer are sandwiched between two of these when packed into the box. Once out of the box, the speakers and subwoofer are wrapped in individual packages of bubble wrap. Depending on how you open the box, the speakers are beside each other and beside the subwoofer standing upward, while the remote and manual are hanging out down below the bottom-most piece of special cardboard.
Once out of its bubble-wrapped prison, the subwoofer looks pretty nice and sleek. You will notice that Eagle paid special attention to put a plastic cover over the LCD screen so it would not become scratched during shipment. Of course, the biggest thing you first notice on the subwoofer is the LCD itself. Also to note are the controls placed under the LCD, which allow you to adjust Bass, Volume, and Treble. Additionally, you are capable of resetting back to default settings. Apart from that, the vent for the subwoofer is on the right side toward the rear. On the rear panel there are mainly RCA jacks for left and right. One set is for Input, while the other is for Output to the speakers. There is also a 3.5 mm input jack that you could either hook a CD player into, your PC or whatever else you might use with it. In this review, I used the RCA Inputs since Eagle kindly provides you with a 3.5 mm to RCA cable. Last, but not least, is the power switch on the bottom right.
Getting the speakers out of the packaging, you'll notice they are stylized about the same as the subwoofer. The wire that hooks into the subwoofer protrudes out the back. Obviously, with this being a 2.1 setup, it has two speakers in total. As stated before, Eagle also includes a remote control. Like the subwoofer controls, the remote control is capable of adjusting only three attributes, which are volume, bass, and treble. The remote is also capable of setting back to defaults.
Well, we're done looking at the speakers, but what about the specific features and how do they sound? Read on.
Total RMS Power
Total Peak Power:
20Hz to 20kHz
- Exceptional tonal fidelity and low harmonic distortion
- Dedicated subwoofer, midrange and tweeter drivers for high decibel output
- LCD with digital equalizers
- Raised crossover points of midrange and tweeters
- Stiff and light cone materials for precise vibrations
- Smooth response over broad frequency so you hear the music at exactly the same way it was recorded
- Solid wood enclosures accurately amplifies overall sound level
- Great for MP3 player, CD, PC, video gaming system, home audio system or just about any other audio sources
- Full function remote control
- Multiple audio inputs
All information courtesy of Eagle @ http://www.eagle-techusa.com/ET-AR504LR-BK
It's not easy to test a speaker system. The best way to go about it is to test it in at least three categories up against another system. I tested it with my home theater/gaming system, which consists of the two receivers mentioned below as the comparison system. One receiver drives my 5 speakers at 100w RMS each and the other drives my passive subwoofer, which is also at 100w RMS. I ran both setups through three very basic benchmarks that even you could easily do at your own home. The first category is music. For music, I used Winamp version 5.56. I listened to my usual playlist while working on other portions of this review for at least an hour on both setups. All comparisons in any of the categories are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst possible sound quality or experience and 10 being the best. The second category I ran each system through was video; I watched a movie with each setup. The third and final category is gaming. My game of choice happened to be Team Fortress 2, which I played for at least one hour on both systems.
- Processor: Intel i7 920
- Motherboard: DFI Lanparty UT X58-T3eH8
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card: Sapphire HD4870 1GB Toxic
- Power Supply: OCZ 700w ModXStream Pro
- Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB HDD
- Optical Drive: LG DVD-RW
- Case: Lian-Li PC60FWB
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
- Ambient Temperature: 24° Celsius
- Technics SA-DX930 5.1ch 100w RMS + Technics SA-GX350 100W RMS in 2ch (drives passive subwoofer)
Since I was using Winamp, I figured I would use some shoutcast radio to test on each setup. Specifically, I tuned into some Drum and Bass and Techno for the bass effect. I also listened to Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D., which has some very bass-heavy tracks, most notably "Boom Boom Pow."
For a movie, I figured I'd try something with its fair share of explosions and action, and for whatever reason, I decided to re-watch Live Free or Die Hard; perhaps one of my favorite action movies within the past couple years. With my home theater system, it always feels like I'm in the movie. So it felt great to be immersed in the action with Bruce Willis. The Eagle speakers got close to this, but I felt somewhat disconnected from the movie as compared to my home theater system.
What can I say, Team Fortress 2 is one of my most favorite games. With my home theater system, I could feel the explosions from the rockets of the soldier and easily pick up on the explosions from the demoman. I was able to feel fairly well-connected with the game using the Eagle speakers, but it still did not feel quite as good.
Yeah, of course my 5.1 home theater system would dominate a 2.1 speaker set. I also have way more adjustment options for sound output on my home theater system, such as delay, as well as Dolby Digital, Pro Logic, and DTS. I can't say the Arion speakers sounded bad though. They sound pretty decent, but pale in comparison to a good 5.1 system. Overall I would say the Arion makes a more cost-effective system for on-the-go, as it wouldn't be hard to move them from place to place, unlike my 5.1 system. As such, they would be great outdoors with a portable CD player or MP3 player, or even decent for watching movies on something portable like a laptop. Perhaps with more wattage the 2.1 system could have held out a bit better, but for the price I feel they can't be beat.
Of course the Arion 2.1 system lost out to my 5.1 system; that was to be expected. However, overall I was impressed with what the Arion offered for its $49.99 price tag. I would honestly say, compared to some other 2.1 systems that I have heard, the Eagle Arion sounds better. The subwoofer produced great sound when it came to the bottom end. That is one of the main reasons I say it sounds better than most other 2.1 systems, as most hardly have any bass at all. Compared to the 8" woofer I used in my home theater system though, there is no contest as to which sounds better, but for a little one, it does sound great. The system would make a great portable system, no doubt about that. I could never realistically take my home theater system with me, so this is where the Arion shines. The LCD screen offers up a way of adjusting the sound level and effects while up close and personal. If you don't want to get up and adjust the sound or tone controls, you can use the included remote control. If you're looking for something to complement your gaming rig, but are on a budget, this isn't a bad place to start. Or if you want a system you could use with your laptop, then this is for you.
- Decent sound quality for a 2.1 system
- Looks nice
- LCD screen to configure with cool subwoofer EQ effects.
- Includes a basic remote control