Surprisingly capable speakers for a low price. (October 4th, 2009)
Eagle Tech is best known for its external storage systems, power supplies, and computer chassis. Eagle’s first foray into desktop speakers was very modest, with its $30 AR502 speaker system. The Arion AR504 system we are reviewing has a lot more to offer on paper, but can a networking and storage manufacturer really build a great 2.1 speaker set for only $50?
Product Manufacturer: Eagle Tech
- Strong sound for the price.
- Interesting visual design.
- Visual feedback on the subwoofer.
- Short speaker wires.
- No indication of individual bass, treble or overall volume levels.
- No protection for the speakers.
hardware and features
The Arion has a typical 2.1 speaker design. Each satellite has an internally soldered wire protruding from the back of the speaker with a standard RCA jack on the end. The subwoofer has a power cable, power switch, and audio in/out jacks on the back. The wires connecting the satellite speakers to the back of the subwoofer are a little short and not terribly thick, but at this price range it's hard to ask for much more.
The Subwoofer has a set of RCA audio inputs as well as a 1/8 inch audio input jack. The right side of the woofer is ported and the front features some user controls and an LCD screen. The LCD screen does more for the Arion system in terms of looks than in terms of usability. The blue bars that comprise the majority of the LCD screen are responsive to the unit's bass output and flash accordingly. Below the LCD screen are some user controls that allow for changes in volume, bass, and treble along with mute and reset buttons that return those settings to default levels.
The included remote is small and feels a little chintzy, but it offers the same controls as ones on the front of the subwoofer. Our biggest gripe with the volume, bass, and, treble controls is that there is no visualization of their levels or stoppage points. Other than simply resetting the system there is no way to tell how high or low each one is set. Our other complaint with this system is that neither of the two satellites are physically shielded and could be easily damaged or poked.
sound quality and user experience
We tested a variety of music with the Arion system from various types of rock, to pop, to country. Overall, the sound quality was excellent considering the price tag of the system. Each satellite has two mid-range speakers as well as a tweeter. We found this satellite design produced crisp mids and highs that come through clearly and at good volume. Distortion was noticeable, but minor, with the volume at high levels. The ported sub-woofer does its job with deep bass reproduction.
For only $50, the Arion AR504 is a deal. Users get great sound, a remote control, and on-unit bass and treble controls. While we wish the volume, bass, and treble adjustments had a visual indicator and that the speakers on the satellites were protected, but the capability is real. if you're in the market for a 2.1 speaker set in the $50 range, the Arion system deserves a listen.