The Three Mistakes of my ‘acoustic’ Life !

When the Power Adapter of my Creative Speaker (Inspire) breathed its last for the 3rd time (yes 3 times in a row), I thought it is worthwhile to scrap the whole set to the trash can and find a new alternative. Though the decision came little late and somewhat insane. But buying it for the fourth time was to exceed the total cost of the Speaker itself – and this is when inner-self of a smart buyer came into the being. Realized it late – Mistake One !!!

Since I’m more into music than movies, my only preference was multimedia speaker with 2.1 channel output. Also, considering it my temporary buyout (for the reason that I stay in hostel), I was in no mood to spent a fortune over the sets which boasts of acoustic nirvana. Instead, I was to settle with the one which would give me bang for the buck in shoestring budget. And by the time this article has been written, one can have a decent speaker system for somewhere around Rs 2000-3000.

Now came the question that which model to go for – Logitech or Altec Lancing (I’ve given up with Creative)  ? Then decided that Ill better judge it at the store.

When at shop, I inquired with the aforesaid brands of speaker and the vendor with all his marketing skills persuaded me for F&D (Fenda).

(F&D) Fenda A510 Multimedia Speaker System

(F&D) Fenda A510 2.1 Channel

I dont know why, my preference for brands like Frontech, Intex, iBall, Zebronics etc are wee bit prejudiced with the fact that they happen to be a cheaper but sub standard goods. And I thought Fenda must be one of them which was a major discerning factor. But the shopkeeper still insisted to give them a try. He also made me an offer that I found hard to resist. I was told that I can keep them as a trial piece and if not satisfied, they would replace it with the model of my choice. I agreed thinking that if speakers don’t lives up to my expectation, Ill get myself Logitech or Altec Lancing giving me the chance to review two speakers for the price of one !  Was hellbent for pricier options – Mistake Two !!!

Finally comes in the melodious cacophony. Below is my experience with F&D (Fenda) A510 Speaker System which turned out to be an aural treat for measly Rs. 1800.

Package Content :

I was impatient to unwrap that semi-huge carton when reached my place (though I saw it at the shop too but couldn’t resist anymore to get it connected to my laptop). The whole unit came to be a no-frills system neatly packaged in carton & cushions. It had 2 sattelites and a bulky Sub Woofer. I was also impressed to see a pair of  RCA Audio connectors. Plus, a wire with standard 3.5mm pin was also there but RCA inclusion gives you an advantage of coupling it with the standalone CD/DVD players at home.

Build Quality :

The sub-woofer is more of a massive cube made of wooden enclosures. The satellite is a hemispherical plastic (with cushioned base) big enough to house 4 inch drivers for mids & highs. Both woofer and satellite is covered with good metallic grills. But I wished the whole system was little heavy with cabinet being thicker. Aesthetically average, but sturdy for the price it comes for.

Features & Specifications :

As I’ve already stated that this one is a no frills equipment. But Fenda I think has devoted the resources more into other department to get the best possible sound in its category, which is quite evident from its specifications. The sub-woofer of A510 came out to be a front firing with bass port in the rear. The right side sports all the connections and controls like volume,bass and power switch. The 6.5 inch dimension of woofer driver seemed to be convincing to pronounce it as a Bass Heavy unit. One thing I liked from its spec-sheet was Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR Circuit built in) for wide main operating voltage range i.e. 88~264V AC.

But Fenda I think have devoted the resources more into other departments to get the best possible sound in its category, which is quite evident from its specifications…

And this I guess to have gone missing in my previous Creative Speakers which was the possible reason of their unwarranted demise – every now and then. The whole system also boasts of 5000 PMPO output which is nothing but a fancy figure. I then checked its RMS output power which was of 52 watt (16Watt x 2 + 20Watt). This is more than enough to fill 10″ x 10″ room with all octaves and commendable fidelity. Though I didn’t find any SNR (signal to noise ratio) figure anywhere which could have made me more than a happy soul. Though frequency response of 20Hz~120Hz (Subs) and 120 Hz~20KHz (Satellite) came to its little rescue. So far so good !

Installation :

Since, it doesn’t comes with wired remote or discrete volume knobs, the installation was as easy as Granny’s affair as it needed no multiple connections. So it was hassle free and was done in a minute flat. Though the wire lengths were little short as compared to other counterparts, but will not pose any problem for typical desktop placement. The satellite is upward aligned with some degree which is permanent, I wish it was flexible/swiveled. Finally, the whole unit sits over respective cushioned bed with good damping of vibration factors.

Performance :

Showtime !

For my audio test, I pulled up following tracks from my music folders :

  • Sadness from Enigma (FLAC) – A bass laden number with rich orchestra and cymbals. To exploit sub-woofer’s  ability to deliver fuller bass.
  • Lover’s Call from Tarun Bhattacharya (FLAC)- Strings Instruments at its best with Santoor & Guitar being played in a nice sync. To test the mids & highs and the speaker fidelity.
  • Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevay from Pt. Jasraj (mp3) – To test vocals and Indian Classical.
  • Shepherd’s Call from Pt. Ronu Majumdar (mp3) – To test overall tonal range and ability.
  • Hysteria from Deff Lepard & I Can’t Tell You Now from Eagles (mp3) – To test western numbers.
  • Beautiful World from ATB & Halcyon from Chicane (FLAC) – To test Trance numbers.

With everything in my arsenal, I test fired above mentioned track one by one. And to my utter surprise, the speakers started showing its true colors. The first word of reaction was – WOW ! and the next iterative compliment was – this is the best piece a money could buy.

The speakers also bore a tag of distortion free sound even at maximum volume, to testify the claim, I twisted the volume to maximum – lo and behold – again a surprise !!!

There was no hint of distortion even at the maximum volume. The bass out of subs was rich and well-defined and wasn’t overemphasizing itself over mids & highs. The treble and mids coming out of satellite were at their own business for which they were made for. The clarity it delivered was commendable. Harshness or shrillness was almost non existent. And both sub-woofer and satellite in tandem was delivering a good sound-stage with a great listening pleasure to me. That 52 RMS of power rating seemed to be in its full glory. I then out of awe, frantically started throwing more out of my music library as if I wanted to listen them all at one go. And these black babies handled all the music genres with aplomb. But I noticed that mp3 tracks were sounding little weak over its lossless siblings (FLAC), which also meant that these speakers were good at decoding the lossy & lossless feeds. Though normal listeners wont perceive much of the difference. Another fact that I observed with these units was that they sounded best when listener at Sweetspot. Not a drawback though, but I’m more of a listener who likes to enjoy music while on roaming within the room. But a smart placement of the same can provide good enveloping sound. To sum it all up, the performance was just jaw dropping and more than satisfactory.

The Verdict :

Model F&D (Fenda) A510
Features * * *
Build Quality * * * 1/2
Performance * * * * 1/2
Value for Money * * * * 1/2

I’ve already spoken volumes of its performance. And the feelgood factor goes above for a bliss when price comes into the picture. Fenda A510 packs great value for money with impressive performance index. This one unarguably is the best in breed. And Fenda must pronounce this as their flagship product.
Fenda aint any good – my Third Mistake !!!

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