Surround sound virtualized by new Antec stereo speakers


— 11:01 AM on February 11, 2011

Better known for its enclosures and power supplies, Antec is getting into the audio business. Yesterday, the company formally introduced its first set of speakers, dubbed the Soundscience Rockus 3D. This 2.1-speaker configuration includes a pair of 25W satellites plus a 100W subwoofer. The sub sports 3.5-mm and RCA analog inputs plus a TOS-Link digital S/PDIF connector, while a wired remote handles the controls.

3D audio isn't normally associated with stereo speakers, but these are rather special. Antec has a suite of 3D virtualization algorithms dubbed 3Dsst that purportedly simulates surround-sound speakers using stereo source material. We've seen drivers for integrated audio chips and discrete sound cards use similar virtualization techniques, but putting offering that functionality in the speakers is an interesting twist.

With built-in surround simulation and a digital input, the Rockus speakers look particularly appealing for folks who would rather not run a sound card. This isn't a cheap solution, though. Newegg is currently selling the Rockus speakers for $250, which is more than some folks pay for true surround speaker setups. You'd think that price would get you luxuries like a headphone output and auxiliary input, but neither appears to be included. Let's hope the sound quality is good enough to make up for those omissions.

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