The ZiiSound D5x is an enhanced version of the D5, which I reviewed last year. At the time I praised its sound quality and looks.
Well, with the D5x, none of that has changed – it looks and sounds just as good. What that extra letter on the end means, however, is that it now has an ability to link, via Bluetooth, to other D5x speakers and even to an optional sub-woofer (the DSx). In fact you can have 3 D5x speakers and the DSx connected together in total, allowing you to play back audio in a variety of ways – including using one as a centre speaker and then having separate left and right channels.
The same apt-X Bluetooth connectivity is present too so you know that the audio being shared across devices will be high quality.
As always, Creative have gone to town with the high quality packaging of their product. A well made, embossed, external box is opened up to reveal everything nicely packaged inside in smaller boxes. Little details, even down to an embossed card with the product details on, make you think you’ve bought a quality product. Included is a thick manual with plenty of walk-through assistance on pairing and connecting other devices.
It’s a lot more compact than other premium iPhone docs (the B&W Zeppelin, for instance) and, although somewhat bland in its black, angled, rectangular form, it has enough aesthetic touches to make up for it. For example, the ends of the ZiiSound are finished in a dark-gun metal material and the volume is shown via a series of white LEDs. To adjust the volume you simply move you fingers across the touch sensitive panel on the top – it responds and looks superb.
For testing I took my daughter’s iPod Touch and connected the supplied Apple adapter underneath. This gives it apt-X transmission capability and it docks nicely in the top (charging the iPod as well). I also had the DSx subwoofer (I’ll review that later). The speaker was placed one side of the room and the sub-woofer in an opposite corner. The result was an amazing sound, with the only wires being present being connections to the mains (the D5x has an external power supply, I assume, to keep the size of the speakers down). There was no interference and I’d never have known the connection was via Bluetooth – although that’s probably a lot to do with the use of apt-X. The link between speakers has a 30 metre range (whereas the Bluetooth connection is 10 metres).
Using the DSx sub-woofer is how most people will want to connect it, and that’s when it really comes into its own. As with the D5 you can use an audio connector rather than Bluetooth and, along with the DSx, it makes an amazing sound bar for the TV – discreet but with an amazing sound. With most flat screen TVs coming with poor quality sound this works as a brilliant alternative – and much cheaper than many equivalent quality alternatives.
Visually, the only difference is the addition of an extra light and touch sensitive button on the front for the purpose of device linking. Otherwise it’s still the same wonderful looking unit it was before – all shiny blacks and metallic ends! But that’s not to say that’s the only difference as the D5x is a lot lighter than the D5 – it’s only around 60% the weight of the original!
[review]If you have no intention of buying more than one, or the matching sub-woofer, then I’d stick with the original D5 which is currently £50 cheaper. Otherwise, this is a brilliant sound system, particularly with the DSx sub-woofer.[/review]
… beyond purer sonics, what this system really delivers is surprising horsepower for its size.”Room-filling sound” is a phrase that gets tossed around quite a bit these days, but the D5x/DSx 2.1 combo really does have sufficient power for a party.