Here at The Game Fanatics, we love our audio gear. The way a good set of speakers or pair of headphones complement a precisely engineered game and enhance the gaming experience like no other. So, when we had the opportunity to review the Cerwin-Vega! XD5 Active Studio Monitors, we couldn’t pass it up. After all, we’re talking about the desktop speaker line of one of the greatest manufacturers of musical instruments and professional audio equipment, Gibson.
Yes, Cerwin-Vega! is a Gibson brand, and the Cerwin-Vega! XD5 as well as the XD4 were announced earlier this year at CES as an expansion of the company’s popular XD Desktop Speaker Series. In this review, we’ll be focusing on the larger of the two, the Cerwin-Vega! XD5, as well as the companion sub-woofer, the XD8.
The XD5’s are indeed a thing of beauty, solid wood cabinets and a ported design which extends the bass response, and with the speakers being powered and magnetically shielded you can simply plug into a power outlet, hook up an audio input, and you’re good to go, with minimal interference.
Right off the bat, the form factor of the Cerwin-Vega! XD5 stands out. With the height of 12 inches, gorgeous red accents, and a shiny metal faceplate protecting its 1″ Tweeter and 5″ Woofer, these sleek speakers pack a punch. I was rather impressed by the crisp, powerful audio that the XD5’s emitted, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
Setting up both the Cerwin-Vega! XD5 and XD8 took a matter of minutes, connecting the left and right XD5 speakers with the XD8 sub-woofer didn’t take long at all. The left and right XD5’s are connected via a specialized 4-connector speaker cable, and you’ll find the inputs and outputs on the back of just the left speaker. The 4-connector cable makes connecting the XD5’s to a PC a lot more convenient than being limited by the total length of a Y cable.
Like the KRK RP6‘s that Chris reviewed, the power and knobs on the XD5 is located on the back of the unit, but conveniently the volume knob is on the front; and if you get the XD8 Subwoofer you’ll have a handy volume dimmer you can place on your desk.
The Cerwin-Vega! XD5 has a built-in sleep mode, indicated by the red ring on the front of the speakers. After an extended period, the speakers will automatically go to sleep, and the red ring will shut off…though this does not appear to affect the XD8 subwoofer. Oh and speaking of the subwoofer, if you’re worried that without it you won’t get good bass, then let me alleviate that worry. I used the XD5 sans XD8 subwoofer and was very pleased with the low-end reproduction, but with the added kick of a subwoofer, the system sounded that much meatier.
Usage-wise, the audio fidelity of the Cerwin-Vega! XD5’s simply amazes. From playing games, to watching movies, and listening to music, the speakers outputted great audio with minimal distortion, if any. You can get the Cerwin Vega XD5 Active Studio Monitors on Amazon, bundled with the Cerwin Vega XD8s Active Studio Subwoofer, you’ll be paying around $400 for a phenomenal quality, high output audio monitor setup.