Digital Sound. Review of SVEN HT-435D Speaker System with a Built-in Digital Decoder


HT-435D 6-channel speaker system we are going to discuss today may seem familiar to you. No wonder – it’s the very image of HT-435 introduced in early 2009. The difference between them is reflected in D index added to the later model – the set is equipped with a DD5.1/DTS decoder. With account of wide spreading of inexpensive HD video players, users get an opportunity to create their own home theatre by connecting this speaker system to a DVD player.

Package Contents

The system is not too big, so the package is compact, too. Inside the box you can find the following:

  • subwoofer;
  • four identic satellites;
  • central channel speaker;
  • remote control;
  • two ААА remote control batteries;
  • 3.5 mm to 2 RCA signal cable;
  • 2 RCA to 3.5 mm adapter;
  • RCA to RCA signal cable (coaxial);
  • five satellite connection cables;
  • operation manual and warranty card.

Let’s focus our attention on signal cables first, as some users can be worried about their small quantity. Connection won’t make a problem: HT-435D hasn’t got a 6-channel analogue input and a stereo input operates well with one cable available in the package contents with a 2 RCA to 3.5 mm adapter.

Appearance and Construction

In terms of design, the system has classical and unpretentious appearance. Four of its five satellites are identical, so it’s up to you to decide which of them are rear and which are front. Each satellite has the same dimensions of 120×110×95 mm. The cabinets are made of 9 mm thick MDF boards glued together and coated with decorative film outside.

The vertical edges of front panels are slightly beveled, and there are silvery plastic rims screwed up over the drivers. The drivers themselves are ordinary full-range transducers with paper diaphragms about 6 cm in diameter.

The central channel speaker is performed in the same style though it’s equipped with two identical full-range drivers; therefore, its cabinet is larger.

All the five satellites are supposed to be installed on horizontal surfaces as they have rubber feet and no wall mounts. They are connected to the amplifier with wires by means of spring clips. It’s much more convenient than dead-joined cables because it enables the user to easily solve the cable length problems. If the cable is too long, it can be cut off; if too short – built up.

The subwoofer is enclosed into a narrow cabinet stretched upwards. It’s still made of 9 mm thick MDF. Though it’s quite enough for the satellites, it’s a bit too thin for a low-frequency component. Looking ahead, we should admit that inside there are some additional boards and lots of small elements making the structure stiffer.

On the front side, there is a decorative plastic plate with a Bass Reflex port below and buttons and LEDs above. There are four buttons for volume control, input and operation mode selection – they can be used for minimal setup. The LEDs show the active input and operation mode.

On the rear side, there is a metal sheet serving as both a rear panel and a cooling radiator. It has five pairs of output spring terminals, a stereo RC input, a coaxial and optical inputs. Switching of a selected source is performed with microchips on the plate inside the subwoofer.

The driver with a solid paper diaphragm and a rigid suspension is attached to one of the side walls. By default, it’s covered with a square grille dismountable at your wish. The diaphragm is about 12 cm in diameter, so, combined with the Bass Reflex cabinet, it produces quite decent bass.

Finally, the system is supplied with a rather small remote control in a convenient ergonomic silvery housing. It serves for selecting an input, operation mode switching (2.1/5.1), adjusting master volume level and volume of each channel. As you see, there’s no option of adjusting satellites’ tonal balance (increasing treble volume), though it might be quite useful.

Electronics

This speaker system is equipped with considerably greater amount of electronic stuffing as compared to other active speaker sets of the same level. To supply power to all the circuit elements an ordinary E-shaped plate transformer is used; it’s screwed up to the bottom of the subwoofer through a rubber spacer. Unfortunately, the transformer doesn’t bear any significant technical specifications. Equipped with a tester, we found out that the terminal amplifier is supplied with power via two 14 V windings. By sight, their power is about 90VA. The surge protector involves two 6800 µF capacitors. The six-channel amp is based on seven TDA2030A microcircuits. Five of them operate the satellites, and the other two in bridge connection serve for the subwoofer. The whole end part is located on one board connected to intermediate elements via numerous wires.

Preliminary sound processing is made by means of many microcircuits, and the circuitry is quite non-typical. As buffer stages, 4558D, the most popular operation amplifiers, are used. There are five of such elements with two op amps inside each. Electronic volume adjustment is performed on M61538FP six-channel microcircuit; signal switching is made by means of two electronic CD4053BE switches. It’s obvious that such a complicated preliminary part can easily cause various noises.

The decoder itself is located on a separate board attached to the main one. The central processing unit is CS493292-CL microcircuit by Cirrus Logic. This chip is not fresh as for today: it has been on the market since 2002. However, the fact that in mid 2000s inexpensive receivers were assembled on it, appeals to us. It’s a decent solution for a $140 set. For digital signal reception CS8415A-CZZ microchip is used, it supports sampling rate up to 96 kHz. CS4360-KZZ chip serves as a DAC. It’s used for converting six channels at once, while inherent noise level remains at -91 dB mark. In general, characteristics of the microcircuits used don’t arouse any criticism, especially as far as the price is considered, and the result will depend only on the quality of wiring layout, armoring, power supply, etc.

Practical Testing and Listening

To begin with, let’s study frequency response of the system components obtained by the conventional measurement method in an ordinary average room. The subwoofer shows effective operation within the band of 45 to 140 Hz and, to our surprise, demonstrates good frequency response. Unevenness within the main band is no more than ±2 dB, there is a visible distinctive shelf, and fronts have steep descent.

The satellites start playing at 180 Hz, and unevenness of frequency response doesn’t exceed ±5 dB. Moreover, this figure is caused by rise in high-frequency band, and the most important area – the midrange – is very even. At the very top there is distinctive fall, characteristic of any full-range transducer. However, it starts only at15 kHz, not lower than 10 like in most multimedia speakers of the past.

Response coordination can be considered well-adjusted. There is a quite small dip within 140-180 Hz, but it’s a petty drawback for products of the class, as more significant nuances are quite frequent here.

Describing our personal impressions from listening to HT-435D, let’s dwell on musical moments. We liked the sound of the satellites – it’s quite correct, soft and pleasant. The sound has vivid overtones, and lack of trebles doesn’t have a dramatic effect on the overall picture. The subwoofer sounds deep and dynamic enough. But don’t abuse power: as sound pressure grows, the satellites start getting compressive shades and the subwoofer acquires cabinet resonance. It doesn’t appear at moderate sound level, and channel adjustment gives very balanced soundstage. Finally, some words about the built-in decoder. Its operation causes no considerable problems, at least, with a common soundcard output. In movies, the sound is really spatial and exciting. Most of the load within the medium frequencies often falls on the central channel, that’s why its design features two drivers, which provides more non-distorted volume in store.

Conclusion

On the whole, SVEN HT-435D can be called a quite worthy set for creating a consumer-grade home theatre. The speakers are pretty small and can be easily located in any appropriately-sized room, and cables of needed length are included. The proved classical design will excellently fit into any interior style. Sound quality fully complies with the price. The set suits well for listening to music in 2.1 mode and copes excellently with decoding digital stream in modern movies.

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