5.25" PC Drive Bay Speakers & Subwoofer from the 90s


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[laid-back piano tunes] [computer buzzes, beeps] -Greetings, and welcome to an LGR thing that I hope is a little bit simpler as I'm, well. I'm away this week. So I needed something to cover that wasn't too involved and, you know, why not go back to one of my old favorites five and a quarter inch drive bay add-on devices. I'm a sucker for these things from the mid to late '90s, early 2000s.

In some cases, you know, whether it's a set of visual graphic equalizer stuff VU meters, volume controls, inputs, outputs even cigarette lighters and ashtray/cup holders or in the case of today's thing: speakers! And not just speakers, but a subwoofer supposedly and also left and right speakers. They're not from the same company. In fact, I don't even know much about them really except that they were donated some time ago. And I just haven't taken a look at them yet. I haven't had much of a reason to or a case to do so. Well, I dug out a computer case outta storage, I'm like, "oh yeah this will be kind of ideal, I think."

And hopefully it'll be entertaining while I'm elsewhere doing other things this week. So yeah, let's take a look at this goofiness. Alright, so the concept here is dead simple, really. You got a speaker system of a sort in a five and quarter inch drive bay configuration and you just stick that inside your computer and thread the cables for audio connections through to the back of your computer and plug it into the sound card and just pass everything through, one to the other. You know, and that's that. It turns your computer

into the speaker system. Yeah. I mean, it's not a ridiculous concept. There were tons of computers that came pre-configured that way. HP did it. Compaq did it, I think, at some point I know several Apple computers did it. eMachines.

You just have computers with built in speakers you know, inside the case itself. But in terms of adding it to the case, I've had very mixed results in the past. Look at this thing, for instance, the sound is just terrible. The speakers are so teeny and tiny and just distorted and crappy sounding that it really wasn't worth using.

Of course, at least with those other kinds of devices that I've taken a look at before, they did have some "cool" displays to look at as well. So it wasn't a complete loss, I guess, even though those were mostly useless too, but wow this is really cheap in many, many respects, but yeah, it just got straight up three and a half mil inputs right there. We've got four pin molex for power. That's pretty much it, a couple of teeny little speakers in there, somewhere, volume control for left and right channels, headphones, output microphone input over here, a channel button. I had to look at a manual to see what the heck that was about.

Apparently, it's for switching between different inputs like Mic and CD input and other things you might have plugged into your sound card and then you have the amp on and off here. And I was like, why would you wanna use it without an amp? Well, you know, that's if you're using the line level or speaker output of your sound card you might not want to overdo the amplification. So anyway, it's a useful set of stuff here but in terms of what you're getting, I mean, where is the- yeah, there's the specifications for those speakers.

So take a look at that. I mean, these are gonna be teeny tiny little things and you gotta fit it into five and a quarter inch drive bay after all, but hey, maybe it'll be slightly better than the ones I've covered before even though all the troubleshooting goes over very much all the problems that I've had before, basically, oh you got bad sound, too high, too low. Oh, that's gonna be a problem. So I'm not expecting great things here but at least a step above others that I've tested that do, like, other things too. Maybe since this is focused on sound, it'll do better.

However, the one that I really have almost hope for is this thing right here. I mean, the fact that it's called a subwoofer, that - I've never seen another thing quite like this I've seen multiple speakers that go into drive bays. okay... but never a subwoofer. And I just don't know how this is supposed to be much different at all. I mean, well, we do at least have a much larger speaker there.

I mean, the driver is a few inches across at least. So there's that get kind of a reverberation chamber going on. Ohh what, what? What is this? Is that a bug or a feature? Maybe it's supposed to I want it pointed more at me this way or that way, or this is just broken. I don't, don't exactly know, there's no documentation with this one, unfortunately, but you just plug it in. Right? So you got loudness there, headphone output once again, a bit of a volume control and LED knob. I don't know if that's for peaking or what, again don't have any documentation and it doesn't say on there. And this is extremely simple too.

You know, we got power, molex, the splitter is already connected, so that's cool. And then, yeah, just three and a half mil stereo which will connect somewhere. Either to this thing's bracket or to the sound card or I'll just use an adapter or something to plug it all together. I don't know.

And we also do have this for the subwoofer, so it's it's literally just an empty hole with little mounting screws there for, I don't know what because it doesn't come with anything other than this. So I guess you're just supposed to string this through the back of your computer case and then go through there to plug into your sound card. But again, it has these mounting holes as if there's supposed to be another bracket to make this a little tidier or something, but there's not. Let's go ahead and figure out what the heck we need to do here. Although I'm kind of curious, just to open this up and see what they did inside for each of them. Unfortunately, this one doesn't seem to have a way to unscrew it to get inside.

It's just all like plastic that's crammed together. These don't go anywhere. I might be able to pry it apart. I wanna at least try it first. Breakage seems rather likely. All right, let's test it. Alright! Got this machine and dug out of storage and haven't used it in a little bit.

I think I did an LGR Blerb on this at one point. And it was also something that was used for that 5.25 inch drive bay CRT that took up all these bays. But yeah, at the moment, it's just a neat Pentium 2 machine with Windows, I think 98 on here. Just a standard sound card down there.

Sound Blaster 128 or something. Alright. Yeah, that looks like a Sound Blaster Live.

Not that it matters too much. Let's just go ahead and get these front plates outta here. Let me see what we need to do here. Well, this is a kind of annoying. The image in the manual is mirrored to that of the device.

They are labeled on the thing there, but very vaguely: ch1, ch2 and mic. And these, they're not labeled like that at all. This says mic, but that says audio in and that says radio out, radio in, and antenna. Clearly meant for another device.

They just reused the bracket. Alright. So green, we're gonna put on ch1, channel one mic is gonna be the black wire right here, and then white. This is just sort of an auxiliary. Whatever you wanna plug in around back, that'll be ch2. So you can switch between channels one and two right there.

Apparently you're supposed to, the idea is that you use it with this Win Radio FM thing, that they also sold. Sound Minds Technology. We also have this subwoofer, of course. So where are we gonna plug this in? We need another input.

So while I could plug the sub in here, that would only go for one, you know, the speaker or the sub. That might be good for comparison, but for now I'm gonna use one of these splitter cables. So this is gonna go to the sound cards output and then the output is split. So we can go to both the sub and the speakers String all that nonsense through there and just jam this in place.

It's a tight fit. But this drive bay is a little bent up from when I had that five and a quarter inch CRT in here. That thing was just, it was like slightly off. And our sub.

Come on now. [graceless knocking about] Well! You know... let's get power taken care of. We've got a rail here coming from the CD-ROM. So we'll just use the subwoofer's splitter and then use the other side of that to plug into this, the Twin Sound, if it'll reach. Oh yeah, it reaches perfectly, almost like they're meant for each other.

We'll put the subwoofer up here. Just string that on through and then all this just go right beneath that. Yeah! 90s cable management, real quick, jam that over there. And then our splitter... ...other end goes to the output of the sound card and that's it. Yeah. So output of the sound card, being split going to both the sub and the twin speaker thingy, whatever that, gets whatever that thing's called.Twin Sound! And yeah.

[satisfied chuckle] That is it. We have pass throughs for headphones and microphone headphone out for the subwoofer as well, dude. Yeah! We are ready to go with this ridiculous setup.

I am oddly excited to do this, so let's do this. Try it out with some music and games. [music doots off to conclusion] Oh yeah. All set up. Ready to go.

We're saving so much space by not having to have speakers. [sarcastic laugh] Uh anyway, let's hear how it sounds if we get anything. [speaker pops] Oh, that was a pop.

Hmm. [Windows 98 startup sound] Well what do you know? That did not sound half bad. Well um, yeah! Let's move to another position and get to testing some stuff.

There's a bit of ping from the ding there but overall it's not bad, really. Certainly significantly better sounding just right off the bat. Than like the Thermaltake Circle Fire was. Much less distortion, at least, you know, from the Windows startup sound and the sound effects there.

Let's just get a classic going. [CANYON.MID fades in, begins playing] Eh! [CANYON.MID continues] I think this sounds better than the sub. [music continues] Oh yeah! Significantly.

And it has more bass. [music continues continuing] Yeah. Getting a lot of distortion, crunchiness, just like rattling. This is not sounding great at all. And again like, no bass, not what you'd expect for a subwoofer. However, the Twin Sound. [MIDI music intensifies] Yeah! I mean, still not fantastic, but it's decent.

I mean that's kind of, you know, your standard little computer speakers, "little desktop speakers" sound. Not much on the high end at all, but yeah, perfectly tolerable. I would choose this and just not even bother with this. And this is, I mean... [sub tilts, Clint laughs]

Let's get some jazz going. ["The Years We Had" by Magnus Ringblom plays] Oh, that's awful. Yeah, so the loudness is really killing it, as in like, in a bad way.

That's just bad, bits of distortion at any volume it seems but especially with the loudness. Ugh. Uh-Oh. [jazz jazzes onward] And the moving around is so silly. It makes such a nominal difference. I don't think it's really worth I'd much rather just stay in place. And now it's being pushed inward.

Oh no, crap! Yeah, The Twin Sound is really quite good for what it is. [jazz jazzes jazzily] Yeah. Again, it's really lacking a lot on the high end. There's not much there, but overall it just sounds more rounded to me. Lower end is definitely more of it. Oddly enough, this, no joke sounds way more pronounced on the higher end and mid-range, that's hilarious. Definitely leave that loudness off.

In fact, I'm getting a bit of a buzz... ...not a good kind either. In case anyone's wondering if it makes any difference if there's nothing above it so that maybe the speaker can do a little bit more reverberation or something. [CANYON.MID plays again]

I mean, not really. It still has more of a higher end crispiness than the Twin Sound does. And the Twin Sound to me just has a little more bass and a little more of a rounded sound even though it's not as crispy.

It's just the opposite of what I expected. And yeah, the loudness? It still just causes... I don't know, maybe a slightly better tone, but more often than not a lot of distortion and crackling, and this is just not a goodspeaker despite being able to do this. Ooh. Alright, let's try some games out. So of course, we got to. [GRABBAG intro theme plays] Yeah, this is sounding pretty...

pretty good, all things considered. Yeah, significantly less distortion than like the Thermaltake Circle Fire or other things in drive bays that I've tried. So much better. There's a lot of sound pumping through there. And it's holding up just fine. Yeah dude, I -- I'm impressed for how cheap these seemed going in and just questionable drive bay speakers.

I don't know. I mean, this thing still completely sucks overall, but, it's really not bad at all in this combination with this thing turned down a bit providing high end, oddly and yeah, the Twin Sound with its more rounded sound. Yeah.

Not bad, not bad at all. Who knew? Alright, let's try this. It's a new DOS game, it just came out. I think a matter of days ago, was sort of a DOS game jam kind of thing.

Yeah. Called You Be In Orbit. I don't know if the sound is supposed to sound like that. It sounds kind of crunchy kind of tinny, but anyway, it kind of works Kind of a Geometry Wars, Asteroids type of thing.

Yeah. I just figured I'd try something new. Don't get a chance to do that terribly often. I need to look at some more of those in that DOS DOS game jam though like September 2022 or something. [lo-fi game sounds] Yeah. These speakers, I'm weirdly impressed. Yeah. How about some EarthSiege?

Haven't played this in ages. And yeah, I remember the music and sound being quite good and quite intense at points. So. Yeah dude. in fact, it's been so long I don't remember exactly how to play, so let's just view the demo. - Roger, switching over to defensive mode.

- Spotted some bad guys, sir, - I'm on it. [HERC firing] - Scratch one tin can! - Yeah! Tin cans, mess 'em up! - Scratch one tin can! - Scratch one tin can! [chuckles] - Scratch that tin can over and over and over. Scratchy can. Dude, this game is so cool. And it sounds good.

So I think I have a new, uh... kind of favorite set of drive bay add-ons. Can't say I went into this expecting that result. I really thought these would be garbage through and through.

They're totally not, at least together, working in harmony at the right volume levels. Well, that is it for this relatively simple LGR thing. Definitely much less involved than I would normally do.

But again, that is because I am out of town right now. I'm actually at Vintage Computer Festival Midwest in Elmhurst, Illinois. If you're in the area September 10th/11th, 2022... Do stop by, I've got an LGR Things Exhibit. I'll have stuff for sale. And just to play around with some machines and various computer hardware and stuff. I don't know. It's just a fun time.

So yeah, I hope you can stop by if you're nearby if not I'll have a video on it in the future. And yeah, I hope that you enjoyed this look at the Twin Sound and the subpar subwoofer. I can't believe that the sub actually has less bass and more treble, but you never know until you test this kind of nonsense, anyway, that is it for this episode, stay tuned for more things in the future. And as always, thank you for watching! [Carmageddon carnage plays out]

2022-09-11 15:16

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