A USB Enabled Sound Machine?

Using The AZ2555 Sound Machine, Continued

Philips offers two other goodies on the CD, which are a customized Philips skin for MusicMatch Jukebox and a sample track you can use to test the PC Link install and to make sure that everything is working correctly.

The sound quality across the USB connection was rich and sounded very good for a $119 boom box; in fact, it was a lot better than we expected. The AZ2555 Sound Machine rivals some of the best speaker systems in the same price class. No matter if we were playing games or if we were using the AZ2555 Sound Machine to play MP3s, the sound was rich and full. We would have liked a little more control over the equalizer than the adjustments to the three bands that are provided by the AZ2555 Sound Machine, but then again, this is an inexpensive boom box.

To test the gaming inputs on the AZ2555 Sound Machine, we used our Microsoft Xbox system and connected it via the front input GamePort jacks. Although this was only an analog connection, the sound was very good here as well, and much better than you'll find with many TVs. The composite RCA type video pass through on the back of the unit is a nice feature.

The AZ2555 Sound Machine offers four settings in the GameSurround mode to help "juice up" the sound. These settings are BLAST, PUNCH, SPEED, and NORMAL. We liked these settings and found the "PUNCH" mode to be the best for most of the games that we played.

Once you are done using the AZ2555 Sound Machine as a speaker system for your PC or game console, it is as simple as disconnecting the unit and taking it with you for use as an AM/ FM radio and CD player. Both the radio and audio CD functions worked well. The remote was handy and, while it is a little on the small side, it gives you convenient control of the system.

A close-up of the remote that comes with the AZ2555 Sound Machine. While it is a little smaller than we might like, it offers all of the important functionality necessary to operate the unit.

We did a brief test of the battery life of the AZ2555 Sound Machine using eight standard alkaline D cell batteries, and found we were able to run the CD player all day without the batteries going dead. We estimate the battery life of the unit to be above average. The unit offers a power saving feature: once it reaches the end of a CD with no buttons pressed for 15 minutes, it switches into a power saver mode to save your batteries.

Overall, the unit performed well and delivered what the box promised. We could suggest that direct MP3 decoding and perhaps a CD writer functionality across the USB link might be nice additions, but it would be difficult to cram all these features in at the $119 MSRP price point. The sound quality was good and the system was able to get loud enough to shake the walls, which is surprising for such a small boom box.