We're reviewing the Zebronics Sound Monster ZEB-SW4700RUCF. It costs just Rs. 2,499 and offers a proper 2.1-channel stereo sound experience. The price alone should be enough to tempt the buying public, so we'll check if this truly is the bargain it appears to be.
Design and specifications
The Zebronics Sound Monster ZEB-SW4700RUCF plays MP3 and WMA files from SD/MMC cards or USB drives, and also has a standard Aux audio input. The system is rated at 10W of power output from each of the satellite speakers and 18W from the subwoofer, with a 40-20000Hz frequency response. The satellites feature 3-inch drivers while the subwoofer is powered by a 5-inch driver. The package also includes a remote control, radio antenna cable, and a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable. The only serious feature missing here is Bluetooth connectivity, which would have been nice to have.
It's unreasonable to expect a lot in terms of design from a product like the Zebronics SW4700, but it looks surprisingly neat. The set is made up of two satellite speakers and a large central unit that acts as a receiver, amplifier and subwoofer. The black and blue glossy colour scheme looks good, and the fabric covering the speaker grilles gives it a touch of elegance that is usually missing in this category.
The remote is nifty, with buttons for all the most useful functions, including bass and treble adjustment. Strangely, there is a button on the remote for Bluetooth, although the Sound Monster doesn't have this feature. We assume this is because Zebronics uses the same remote for some of its other models, but it shows a bit of sloppiness and could frustrate users.
The front of the receiver unit features a small alpha-numeric display and a large volume dial accompanied by buttons for source select, play/pause, previous and next. The top has the USB port and SD card slot, which is convenient. The back has sockets for the satellite speakers, RCA sockets for the input cable, a socket for the antenna cable, a non-detachable power cord, and the power switch. There's also an ominous warning to avoid opening the device because of a risk of electric shock.
On the whole, it's a simple and functional design. The only unusual element is that the subwoofer is side-firing, which makes proper placement of the central unit important. A bottom- or front-firing woofer would have been much more practical for a product of this size, since it will likely be kept either on or under a computer table. It also leads to sound problems, which we've described below.
We used the Zebronics Sound Monster ZEB-SW4700RUCF with a handful of sources, including our reference Fiio X1 high-res player, an Android smartphone, and a USB drive with 320kbps MP3s. Focus tracks for the review were Netsky's Love Is Gone in 16/44.1 FLAC, and Empire of the Sun's We Are The People, Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind and Marvin Gaye's Ain't No Mountain in 320kbps MP3.
Like nearly every sub-Rs. 10,000 speaker system today, the Zebronics Sound Monster is undeniably bass-happy. The sound encourages thump and loud volumes, while bothering less about things like mid-range frequencies and definition. Don't expect great imaging and soundstaging either.
Love Is Gone routed through the Fiio X1 sounded loud and powerful. It also revealed surprisingly good high-frequency range performance for a system of this size and price level. Treble and bass are both adjustable, and the tweaks are significant and clean. Depending on how you like your sound, it's possible to take it from treble-focused to bass-focused quickly and easily. The powerful subwoofer means it sounds best with balanced treble and moderately heavy bass though.
The MP3 tracks in our list showcased more of the system's capability with low frequencies. We turned the volume up to full in these cases, and were impressed by how such a small device could produce such a powerful, room-filling sound.
We Are The People and Ain't No Mountain revealed the SW4700's weakness with mid-range frequencies. The thumpy bass and decent highs have a tendency to overpower the mids, and it's particularly noticeable with softer tracks that don't rely on the low-end as much. One of the biggest problems is the fact that the side-firing subwoofer warps the sound as soon as you step to the left of the sweet spot. This isn't such a problem when you're alone because you'll likely be seated within the target zone when you're at your desktop. However, if you're used to moving around the room or you have people over, the sound won't be the same in different locations.
The Zebronics ZEB-SW4700RUCF is a neat speaker package and offers decent sound for the price. It sticks to a sonic signature that will work for the majority of people that buy this kind of speaker set. It produces a strong, warm sound that is entertaining for the most part.
It does have weaknesses in the mid-range and it certainly doesn't produce a defined and clean sound, but at this price you really should not expect more. As far as products of this calibre and in this price segment are concerned, the Zebronics SW4700 is among the better options. It's a simple, sonically acceptable solution to a requirement that a lot of people have, and we recommend it for its straightforward approach and affordable price tag.
Price (MRP): Rs. 2,499
Ratings (Out of 5)