Testing and Conclusion
When it comes to testing audio, it will always be subjective. What sounds good to me may not be welcoming to you. The following is based on my experience and what I perceived during using the SW-2.1 over the course of a week for various functions.
TitanFall– Players fight as free-running foot soldier “pilots” who can command agile, mech-style exoskeletons—”Titans”—to complete team-based objectives.
Titanfall was an easy choice for audio reproduction testing because of the wide range of samples, different types of gunfire, giant mechs stomping around, explosions, voices and just because it is fun as heck to play. With the audio set to max, the SW-2.1 2000 did a good job of bringing me further into the environment of the game. Titanfalls were indicated with a nice rumble and solid bass landing, and gunfire and rockets were produced with fairly crisp levels. It was loud but I still felt myself reaching to make it a bit louder. Unfortunately, I couldn’t as it was already maxed out. A few more decibels would have been perfect. The sub woofer was placed under the desk facing towards me. That was a good position but felt the bass reproduction was better when I had it firing towards the wall from about 8 inches out. Either way it was facing, the bass sounds sounded better from downstairs then in the room with the sub. That could be from placing it under a desk instead of beside a desk. Overall it was a good experience but a bit more volume would be appreciated, and you will need to experiment with sub woofer placement.
Final Fantasy XIII -2 Explore a richly developed world featuring both new and familiar faces, and an exciting and highly developed strategic battle system. In this ongoing saga, the future is about to change.
If you have ever played a Final Fantasy game then you will already know about the killer sound scores and dazzling visuals that have been a staple of the franchise. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was just released on PC last month and has consumed some of my free time since. The Sw-2.1 is perfect for this type of game as it is mostly music scores, some fighting sound effects and voice reproduction. The only time the sub driver is really utilized is during cinematic cut scenes and it handles those well. Using the Sw-2.1 on FFXIII-2 offered a better overall experience than it did with Titanfall. keeping the volume on max was not an option as the higher pitched sounds from the environment and repetitive statements at the end of each battle will drive you nuts.
Saving Private Ryan
I tend to use this movie for audio testing because of the varied audio in the battle scenes. (That, and the fact that I love this movie.) The scene I use is the beach landing at Normandy because of the rapid gunfire, explosions, screaming and just all out chaos. All of these effects going off at once can test the reflex of the speakers and amplifier. Again I feel the Sw-2.1 is better suited at cinema sound than rapid fire FPS gaming audio. I ended up watching the entire movie if that tells you anything. Each battle was welcomed and each deep discussion was clearly produced.
One thing that all of the samples and testing had in common was a lack of psychoacoustics. This is the altering or manipulation of sound to give the perception of it coming from somewhere else. I did not get that during any test. Technically it is a 2.1 sound system but it is not a 2.1 surround or virtual surround. The sound came directly at me from the speakers and never did I feel the sound or some action beside or behind me. The continuous from behind deaths by Titanfall pilots shows I had no reason to think there was a threat, unfortunately.
Despite these shortcomings, the SW-2.1 2000 is a good entry level sound system, but it would be hard to justify the $99 price tag I see them for on Amazon when there are other options on the market. This includes the SW-2.1 3000 that offer more power at roughly the same price point. They do sound pretty good and will make your experience more enjoyable. For that the GX Gaming SW-2.1 2000 Gaming Speakers gets the PureOverclock Good Hardware Award.