Recently, I got the chance to play and have fun with one of Creative’s latest and innovative product, the Creative ZiiSound D5 Speakers. Its a first Zii consumer product and its not a media player or internet tablet. Its a speaker, a wireless speaker which can play songs wirelessly via bluetooth. I will be showing you lots of photos and videos to proof our points.
But first, lets hear it from the ZiiSound team who is the creator of this unique bluetooth wireless speaker, probably the first in the world.
SHAPING THE ART OF SOUND.
Developed by a team that encapsulates the best talents in all fields of audio with design criteria of striking parallels to great architecture. ZiiSOUND's approach is as simple as it is complex.
From its acoustic space, structure and skin, every element is crafted together to transcend its electro-acoustical soul to become a true work of art. Each subtle nuance is drawn out by balancing the subjective feedback. of the human ear and objective equipment measurements. Ultimately, every ZiiSound delivers the universal sonic vocabulary of precision, accuracy and audiophile-smoothness.
What is the ZiiSound D5?
So what exactly is ZiiSound D5? It is a digital wireless speaker system for new age music playback devices like notebooks, net books, music phones, the iPhone, iPod and digital music players that incorporate Bluetooth wireless technology for music streaming that can fill high quality music in moderate size rooms.
Design Philosophy - "Wireless performance that is indistinguishable from wired"
Lets take a quick peek at its technical specifications:
Design / Build Quality
It is a sleek one-piece music system gives portability and space optimization. It is amazing, only about the size of your desktop keyboard. The bass port is cleverly hidden behind the speaker. It is simple, clean cut and "neat contemporary" design, encased in a sleek black cloth mesh, provides the perfect balance of design and performance while enhancing the elegance of your living room or desktop.
Award winning Bluetooth technology gives seamless wireless connection
The Bluetooth functionality is quite an interesting feature as I was curious how far can I transmit my music wirelessly. According to the specs, its up to 10 meters. For me, I can transmit it anywhere in my room but when I am out of my room and if there is a wall between my mobile phone and ZiiSound D5, there will be some disrupted signals.
By the way, the Bluetooth function not only work on iPod and iPhone, it works on any bluetooth enabled devices such as laptops, mobile phones.
There's plenty of video showing you how the ZiiSound D5 works with your iPod or iPhone. This is an excellent video.
For us, we tried it on Sony Erisson mobile phone and Samsung Galaxy Spica Andriod phone. And it simply works (Range up of up to 10 meters).
Here are the steps to get your bluetooth device connected to ZiiSound D5.
1) Turn on your ZiiSound D5
2) Use your bluetooth device to scan for 'ZiiSound D5'
3) Pair it up by keying in the '0000' pass code. You will see the 'Connect' LED light flashing on ZiiSound D5 and it means you are connected
Take a look at the video, its a simple, no thrill, no frill video which demostrates the bluetooth functionality using non-iPod and non-iPhone bluetooth devices.
apt-X gives superior Bluetooth audio
There was no downgrade of sound quality due to the low bandwidth of Bluetooth, thanks to the high performance low-latency audio codec for superior stereo Bluetooth audio.
Wireless Transmitter enjoy superior Bluetooth audio and charge your iPhone.
Allows superior Bluetooth stereo with high performance apt-X codec and charging your iphone, ipod and ipod touch when you dock it on your ZiiSound D5.
AUX-in Gives flexibility in device connectivity.
The AUX-in jack can be used for connecting to other audio devices such as your current ZEN X-Fi2 mp3 players. I do hope that Creative will have a bluetooth ZEN which can also transmit songs and dock onto the ZiiSound D5.
Touch Volume control gives optimized minimalist functionality
The touch sensitive panel for volume control is cool and trendy, just touch it and drag it up and down to adjust the volume.
Although the ZiiSound D5 can be used as a receiver to any Bluetooth compliant A2DP/A VRCP device, it uses the apt-X audio codec which apparently provides superior Bluetooth stereo audio.
My first test was with my Sony Erisson mobile phone (Aino), when I selected my song, it started playing in just under 3 seconds. I was quite shocked at just how simple and fast it was. Everything can be controlled via your mobile phone wirelessly, you get synchronized wireless volume adjust and remote play, pause, next track and back track controls, everything in controlled by your bluetooth device :)
For my second test, I used my Samsung Galaxy Spica Android phone which can play my favourite youtube videos on the ZiiSound D5 wirelessly from anywhere in my room. Cool huh?
Latency, what is acceptable?
So what exactly is latency? We always hear those sound engineers using this term and it seems so foreign to me. After doing so homework, I found this article about latency and hopefully you can appreciate it.
The average wireless 5.1 speakers for High Definition Home theatre, anything greater than 10 milliseconds can impact the seamless full surround sound experience.
For stereo headsets and speakers interacting with a video source, the industry target is approximately 40 milliseconds depending on screen size.
Sub band codec (SBC) also has a short coding delay, but its framed structure requires the transport mechanism to buffer audio and put limitations on the packet structure. For some SBC implementations, they can be as high as 200 milliseconds.
apt-X has the shortest coding delay of any professional algorithm currently available today. It has a frameless data structure so audio coding can start at just 3 audio samples per channel. The total encode/decode latency of apt-X is 1.9 milliseconds.
Bluetooth system latency in itself is a problem for real-time operation, and to date designs have been built around the SBC codec. System latency can be reduced significantly by
* One-piece speaker
* Bluetooth wireless transmitter (for iPhone/iPod/iPad)
* Backrest adapters for iPhone/iPod
* Support stand for iPhone/iPod
* Universal power adapter
* Stereo-to-stereo cable
* User Guide
* Warranty and Technical Support Leaflet
The sound quality is impressive considering the sleek and compact design of the ZiiSound D5. Creative manage to squeeze in many things including the bass port into that tiny box. There are additional plus points such as simplicity of use and the fact that you can volume adjust and remote play, pause, next track and back track wirelessly using your bluetooth devices. So it doesn't matter where you put your ZiiSound D5, it can be anywhere in your house, in your bedroom, living room, anywhere you want it :)
Creative Labs ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Wireless Multimedia Speaker System for iPod and iPhone 3G and 3GS