Product Review

AV123 Onix R-DES Rocket Digital Equalization System

Part I

September, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.



● Design: Five Bands of Parametric EQ
● EQ Performed in the Digital Domain
● Memory Bank Holds Four EQ Curves
● Stereo RCA Inputs and Outputs
● Connects to PC with USB Cable for Configuring EQ
    Curves Using R-DES Software
● Powered by 9 Volt Wall Wart DC Supply (Included)
● Dimensions: 2.4" H x 4.25" W x 5.2" D
● Weight: 1 Pound
● MSRP: $399 USA



I think most home theater aficionados know how important a good subwoofer is to the movie experience.

This is especially so with action films. Digitally synthesized special effects add some very deep frequencies to those explosions, gun shots, car crashes, and even fist fights (isn't it great to be male?!)

So, you just installed that nice sub over near the right corner of your home theater, plunk in the latest Charlize Theron or Kate Beckinsale kick-butt DVD - what the heck happened to Schwarzenegger and Stallone? - sit back, and . . . whoops, where is all the bass?

Welcome to the world of, "OK, I've got the good speakers and subwoofer, now how do I fix the problem of this lousy room?"

Room EQ

To resolve, or at least mitigate, the drawback that walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and doors don't benefit our search for audio nirvana, but instead, always seem to subtract from it, manufacturers have added EQ to surround sound receivers, and to subwoofers.

This EQ, or Equalization, is a series of "bands" along the audio spectrum, usually spaced out at percentages of an octave. Not all of them go through the complete range of human hearing (20 Hz to 20 kHz), but some of them do.

In receivers, even if the EQ covers the entire audible spectrum, usually the low frequency bands are sparse, and therein is the rub for those of us who crave deep bass. We need more EQ bands to cover the 20 Hz to 80 Hz range, where most subwoofers operate.

Even the subwoofers that sport built-in EQ don't usually have many bands. Some only have one, in fact, and that isn't enough.

So, what to do?


Outboard subwoofer EQ is the answer, and several manufacturers have stepped up to the plate and delivered. AV123, with their Onix R-DES (Rocket Digital Equalization System), is one of those.

R-DES consists of the EQ box, shown below, a software disc that you install on your PC for configuring the EQ curves, a wall wart DC power supply, and a USB cable.

The front of the box has a power button, LEDs to indicate Standby, Bypass, EQ Curves 1, 2, 3, and 4, and a button to select which of the four curves you want to use.

The rear panel has a set of stereo RCA inputs and outputs (use one channel if you have just one subwoofer), an input for the wall wart power supply, and a USB jack.

First, you install the software, preferably on your laptop, since you will need to go back and forth from your listening chair to the computer when setting up the EQ curves. Then, you connect the wall wart to the R-DES box, and the R-DES box to the computer with the USB cable. The computer will then say it has found a new device and go through the driver install procedure. I found it worked best to direct the installation to the folder that contains the R-DES driver rather than have the PC look for it "automatically".

Once that is done, you will have two icons on your desktop, one for the R-DES program and one for "Graph Paper". You might want to put a shortcut to the "index.html" file that is located in the Documentation directory on your desktop as well. This links to the instruction manual.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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