One of the system’s most appealing features is the control console. This is a small desktop unit that plugs into the back of the subwoofer and allows you to adjust the volume, switch between the various sound modes and adjust the levels for each channel. This is obviously of greater use to those using the Z906 as a desktop PC system, but when using it in a traditional home cinema configuration you can use the supplied remote to control those settings, so either way you’re onto a winner.
The console features a large volume dial in the middle, surrounded by a ring of LEDs that indicate the volume level and flash when in Mute. To the right of the dial is a curious-looking cluster of orange lights that represents the layout of the speakers in a traditional 5.1 setup – the point of this is to show you which channel is selected when adjusting the levels. On the other side of the dial are rows of lights indicating the currently selected input (each one numbered to correspond with the rear panel) and the current sound mode.
These modes enhance stereo signals with different effects. They include Stereo 3D, which adds a ‘3D’ surround effect through all speakers; Stereo 4.1, which plays the stereo signal through fronts, rears and sub; and Stereo 2.1, which plays the signal through the fronts and sub. You can, of course, turn them all off and listen to sound in its natural form.
Although its connections and decoding fail to cater for HD audio formats like Dolby True HD or DTS HD Master Audio HD, the Z906 can decode regular Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams through the digital inputs.
The speakers boast a frequency range of 35Hz and 20kHz, and each one features a 3in polished aluminium phase plug driver.
Once you’ve got over the rather cryptic method of adjusting levels, the system is easy to use. The supplied remote is small and buttons are sparse, but this simple array covers every function – volume, mute, and input, level and sound mode selection.