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iDome DS 500 & SW 510

The iDome product line currently consists of two multimedia speaker sets, the DS500 digital speakers and the iDome SW510 digital subwoofer. These two units are sold as separate products and they are designed as independent units, each with their own controls and each capable of receiving, decoding and playing digital and analog audio sources. This means you can purchase either the DS500 or the SW510 to supplement your existing sound system, or you can use the DS500 separately in a 2.0 setup or combine them to make a 2.1 speaker system. You could even purchase two DS500s to make a 4.0 or 4.1 setup. Both the DS500 and the SW510 offer pass-through outputs so you can daisy-chain them together, allowing you to connect multiple speaker sets to the same S/P DIF optical output.

Abit has emplyed their uGuru branding once again with the iDomes, but instead of helping you overclock or monitor your temperatures and voltages, the uGuru chip found in the DS500 and the SW510 afford you limited EQ settings. The SW510 only gains the ability to adjust bass levels, but the DS500 gets that as well as treble adjustment and five EQ presets. The EQ presets are Jazz, Rock, Movie, Music and Game. There is also a "normal" setting that disables the EQ. While the bass and treble controls are a welcome addition, we found the preset EQ settings to be somewhat of a gimmick and rather limited in practice. We don't think the settings improved our listening experience much, and good speakers shouldn't require you to adjust them depending on what your listening to.



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iDome DS500

iDome SW510

Total Output Power

50W RMS (25 per channel)

50W RMS

Drivers

1” tweeter + 4” mid-range per satellite

6.5” woofer

Frequency Response

20-20,000 Hz

16-160 Hz

Impedance

4 ohm

Signal to Noise Ratio

86 dB

93 dB

Input Connections

S/P DIF In

RCA In (Left & Right)

Output Connections

S/P DIF Out

RCA Out (Left & Right)

Controls

Power Button
SFX Control Knob
Treble Adjustment Knob
Bass Adjustment Knob
Volume Knob
Power Button
Treble Adjustment Knob
Bass Adjustment Knob
Volume Knob

Enclosure Material

Medium Density Fiber Board (MDF)

Dimensions

186(D) x 135(W) x 250(H) mm

320(D) x 200(W) x 350(H) mm

Special Features

24bit/192KHz Internal DAC

Abit uGuru Technology

Magnetically Shielded

LED Lighting

Street Price

 $117.60

$106.40 


While the current street prices for these units may seem very high, they are not unreasonable considering each unit contains a high-spec internal DAC, MDF cabinet construction, built-in adjustments for treble and bass and the wide variety of input and pass-through output connections. The iDome product line is not lacking when it comes to features.  

The iDome DS500 is a two-piece speaker set that consists of two slick looking ported satellite speakers. The satellite speakers are very large for multimedia standards and resemble a small home theater bookshelf speaker. Each satellite is rated at 25 watts RMS and contains a 1" tweeter as well as a 4" full-range. The tweeter handles high frequency sounds while the 4" full-range speaker is on a crossover that only feeds it mid and low frequencies. This two-way approach traditionally works much better than using a single full-range driver to do everything and usually results in better sound quality. The satellite cabinets are made entirely from MDF with a plastic front facade and they are supported by a transparent plastic stand.

The connections for the duo are located on the right channel satellite and it also contains the decoding hardware as well as the uGuru chip which gives the DS500 several preset EQ settings. The power button, power LED, EQ selector switch, bass knob, treble knob and the volume knob are all located on the front of the right channel speaker. The two satellite speakers are connected by standard speaker wire which is held in place by a set of spring clips on the back of each satellite. It seems the right satellite speaker got all the fun because the left satellite speaker has no controls, LEDs or connections of any sort besides a set of spring clips. Unfortunately, the DS500 does not sport a headphone jack. A headphone jack should be a standard feature on any multimedia speaker and the lack of one on the iDome, especially considering its cost, is disappointing.



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The transparent stand on the right channel speaker is illuminated by a red LED which is recessed into the speaker cabinet. This creates a cool effect since the light from the LED is spread out relatively evenly by the transparent plastic, causing the engraved "iDome" logo to glow red. Unfortunately, since the left channel speaker does not have its own power source, it does not contain any LEDs. Since only one of the speakers glows, it greatly diminishes the cool-factor of the effect. Luckily the red LED can be disabled by a switch located on the back of the right channel satellite speaker.

The SW510 subwoofer shares the same aesthetic theme as the DS500 speakers. Its cabinet is made entirely from MDF and it also has a glossy black plastic front facade. In the center of the facade is the SW510's power LED, which glows red. At the top left corner of the facade are the controls; a power button, bass knob and volume knob. The fact that the DS500 and the SW510 are controlled independently is both a blessing and a curse. It means you can tweak the volume and bass levels of the speakers and the subwoofer independently, but it also means that turning down the volume on your speakers will have no effect on your subwoofer.


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The SW510 is rated for 50 watts RMS and since the SW510 is designed as a stand-alone product, it features the same set of inputs and pass-through outputs as the DS500. It is also capable of decoding digital signals, just like the DS500. The SW510's 6.5" driver is located on the rear of the unit, above the connection panel. While the driver is rear firing, the enclosure is also ported on the bottom. The port on the bottom of the unit is recessed by about four inches, which gives it additional room to breathe. Instead of transparent plastic, the SW510 sits on four rubber legs which should do a decent job of keeping it planted and absorbing vibrations.

Both the DS500 and the SQ510 come bundled with the necessary cables to get you hooked up, with analog and digital sources. The DS500 and the SW510 both come with a power cord, TOS-Link optical S/P DIF cable, and an analog cable that has RCA connectors on one end and a standard 3.5 mm stereo jack plug on the other end. The DS500 also includes a 2 meter length of standard bare-wire speaker cable for linking the two satellite speakers.

Considering the emphasis on digital sources, we are surprised that neither the DS500 nor the SW510 have coaxial S/P DIF support, only optical. While you can purchase an adapter to turn your coaxial source into an optical one, we wished abit had included coaxial connectors. We have seen several motherboards that only have coaxial S/P DIF so it would have been nice if the iDomes supported both types of digital connections right out of the box. While both the DS500 and the SW510 have digital and analog connections, you can't use both types at the same time. You must choose whether your using analog or digital inputs with a selector switch found on the connections panel of the DS500 and the SW510.

Overall, we thought both the DS500 and the SW510 felt very well constructed and except for the lack of coaxial S/P DIF inputs, the iDomes possess an impressive feature set. The promise of digital speakers is that they will be able to deliver equal sound quality regardless of the sound source, provided it is digital. This is because almost every sound card, from the highest-end discrete sound card to the lowly integrated solution are equally capable of passing through a digital bit stream from their S/P DIF ports. While this may be true, ultimately, sound quality hinges on the quality of the speakers. It won't matter that the iDomes use a digital source if they sound like junk.

Tags:  music, Abit, air, AC, AI, id, and

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