Who doesn’t like explosions? It might be a guy thing, or maybe a gamer thing, but come on and admit it: explosions are cool. We’re like kids, mesmerized by a shiny penny. The funny thing about those explosions though, is what are the awesome visuals without the loud THUMP rocketing into your ears? Here I am trying to highlight the most craving Corsair SP2500 Speakers a gamer should have.
Not very much, to be honest. And so it goes, the lightning followed by the thunder, the fireball, and the crackle. Visuals without audio are like peanut butter without jelly; the two just GO together. So on that note (pun intended), today we’re examining a set of PC audio speakers, the Corsair Audio Series SP2500 2.1 variety, to be precise.
I have to admit that when UPS knocked on my door I was shocked at the sheer size of the shipping box; it was huge. Good things don’t necessarily come in small packages, it seems. But we all know it’s what’s inside that counts. Will the sound from the Audio Series SP2500 system be great for gaming, as well as listening to music or watching for favorite movie on Blu-ray? We’ll have all those answers and more in today’s review.
Package and Accessories
The Corsair Audio Series SP2500 High Power 2.1 Speaker System comes in a huge box measuring 22″ long by 19 1/4 ” wide by 16″ high. The front left and right sides show photos of the Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker System, a photo of the controller, and the 220W of power. The top of the SP2500 box lists the system’s specs, including information on the Subwoofer, Satellites, I/O connections, and programming, also the package contents.
The rear of the SP2500 2.1 speaker system box lists information on the system, a photo of the controller can also be found in the top right-hand corner.
The Corsair SP2500 Speakers use a sophisticated 120-watt 4th order band-pass subwoofer, which provides users with deep, powerful, and very accurate bass, with very low levels of distortion, even when you have the volume set to high. The SP2500 subwoofer design is superior to the ported bass-reflex designs that you find in most PC speaker systems.
The subwoofer unit also houses a custom-designed high-efficiency power supply, also a two-stage amplifier for the sub as well as four Class D digital amplification circuits for the bi-amplified two-way satellites.
Each bi-amplified satellite uses a hi-fi quality 3-inch mid-range driver and also a silk domed ferrofluid-cooled tweeter which ensures that the mid-band and also the treble are reproduced accurately with sufficient sound pressure and detail When you add this to the asymmetric tweeter placement found in most professional studio monitors, the tweeter placement allows ideal stereo imaging.
Most speaker systems use large full-range drivers, but the problem with using them is that they struggle to reproduce a complete range of sounds, and cannot accurately reproduce high-frequency sounds. This is why the SP2500 satellites are unique and produce clear and crisp high-frequency sounds.
The SP2500 has digital crossovers which use a digital signal processor, or DSP, integrated into Class D processing circuitry, which put the crossovers in the same class as those used in professional studio monitors. The one key of a digital crossover is that the crossover point can be adjusted dynamically.
Late-night mode which we get to later in this review takes advantage of this by redirecting a portion of the bass from the subwoofer to the satellites. By doing this it reduces bass output so you do not bother your neighbors during late-night sessions of gaming..or listening to music or a movie. As you may know, this cannot be done with a traditional passive crossover.
The Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 speaker kit also comes with a desktop digital controller, this controller incorporates a 1.8-inch TFT display that can be read during the day and also at night, the controller also has a intuit selection wheel, which makes it very easy to fine-tune your audio. It also includes multiple EQ modes, a dedicated headphone processing mode, late night mode, a Karaoke mode, and also a Mod X function for watching movies.
Usage and Listening Impressions
For testing the sound in movies, I used both a standard DVD player and also Blu-ray player, we watched Avatar and Inception on my LG Blu-ray burner/player. The A-Team and Knight and Day were watched on my ASUS DVD burner/player. The sounds of explosions, helicopters, jets, and gunfire were clear and very distinct.
The explosions were deep and powerful even ground shaking, so I have to admit that the sound effects were excellent for a 2.1 speaker system. You could get more out of a more expensive 5.1 speaker kit, but I have to hand it to Corsair, for a 2.1 speaker kit at 232 total watts the SP2500 Gaming Audio Series is the best 2.1 speaker system we have ever reviewed.
While testing the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker Kit we did find the subwoofer to be superior to other PC gaming speakers we have tested. The subwoofer’s deep and powerful sound is clean and never once distorted, even when switching to night mode where a portion of the bass is sent to the satellites.
The bi-amplified two-way designed satellites with ferrofluid-cooled silk diaphragm tweeters also performed excellently during listening to movies, games, and music even when the volume was turned up to 90% there was never any hint of distortion from the subwoofer, and the satellites always remained crisp and clear.
Listening to Sade’s “Is it a Crime” was almost like being at one of her concerts, the sax and trumpet were sharp, clear, and crisp, the drums and bass excellent, and Sade’s voice was amazing almost as if she was standing in front of you. The sound of Ian Anderson’s flute in his Orchestral Bouree was simply amazing, the best I have ever heard from any 2.1 PC speaker kit Stanley Clark’s “Fantasy Love” and Janis Joplin belting out songs like “Summertime” and “Piece of my heart” and ” Cry Baby” also sounded absolutely fantastic.
During gaming, the sounds of machine guns and pistol fire were realistic, and explosions were deep and thunderous when playing games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Crysis 2, and Battlefield 2. Voices were very clear, even when tanks rumbled by. The sound from the tracks and gears turning was clear and distinct. The one downside, of course, is that it’s difficult to hear an enemy sneaking up behind you, as this is where a 5.1 system truly outperforms a 2.1 system, but the SP2500 shines in every other area.
Moving onto the controller, the Corsair SP2500 Speakers controller has a feature-rich menu, when first powered on the controller shows the Corsair logo, it also lets you know that you’re using the SP2500, and also shows Firmware and a Rev which is 1.05.06 on our sample. The program menu has nine settings, Late Night, Stadium, Concert Hall, Club, Theater, Karaoke, Dynamic Pop, Wide, and None.
The Input menu has three settings, AUX1, AUX2, and Line in. The EQ menu has ten settings, Reference, Classical, POP, Jazz, Mod X, Action, Drama, FPS, Action Gaming, and finally Headphones.
In the setup menu, you can change the language from English to Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and many more languages. The Backlight Menu allows you to adjust the settings from 5 seconds, all the way up to 60 seconds. When we move to the color menu there are only two settings, Day and Night, I would like to add that the controller can be seen very clearly both during the day and evening, which is very impressive.
To adjust any program on the menu, you have to turn the wheel to the desired setting you would like to adjust, push down on the wheel and it will highlight the setting, then turn the wheel either right or left until you find the setting in that particular program. Even the headphone jack is very easy to reach. As you can see we have added photos of the controller under power and at different settings.
The environmental EQ programs can apply the right amount of delay, echo, and reverb for realistic simulations, which includes a wide variety of EQ curves for games, music, or movies.
The Karaoke mode can be a lot of fun at parties, or for those of you that like to rock out to your favorite music. It applies to a process that attempts to remove or at least significantly reduce the vocals from the mix so you can sing along.
The Dynamic Pop setting combines dynamic range compression, and also applies an equalization curve that can enhance bass as well as treble.
The Late Night mode can really come in handy seeing as the SP2500 is very capable of producing ground-shaking levels of bass. As we described earlier late night mode adjusts the crossover point from 140Hz to 100Hz so a larger portion of the bass can be redirected from the subwoofer to the satellites.
I would like to add that the audio stream also has dynamic compression applied so that sudden loud noises like explosions from games and movies can be reduced in volume.
The Headphone Processing mode has been designed to compensate for deficiencies found in most low-quality headphones or headsets which almost always have poor mid-band performance, plus over-boosted treble and bass. The Corsair SP2500 Speakers controllers headphone mode applies a diffuse field equalization, which can result in a balanced responsive curve and better sound.
Audio in movies is originally mastered for playback with an equalization curve called the X curve which was designed for movies in a theater, which means it was optimized for4 a very large room with a wide image, a very high dynamic range as well as a reproduction from large speakers. In some cases, the audio was not re-mastered for Blu-ray or DVD which would be used in a smaller room with playback from significantly smaller speakers than what was used in a theater.
This is where the Corsair SP2500 Speakers controller Mod X comes into use, the Mod X applies digital processing which modifies the “X Curve” so it compensates for differences and also helps movies sound better in a smaller environment.
The Corsair SP2500 2.1 speaker kit is very easy to install due to the standard analog connection to your PC’s onboard sound or sound card. The cables for the satellites measure 72 inches each, they also have 4-pin keyed connectors on each end so you never have to worry about them coming loose.
The Corsair SP2500 Speaker’s controller has a thick cable and is also vest easy to install by means of a DB15 connector that plugs into the back panel of the subwoofer. Like the satellite’s cables, the controller’s cable is also 72 inches long, and it’s nice to know that if 72 inches is not long enough for you, the SP2500’s controller cable can be extended by using a VGA extension cable. Now that the system has been connected let’s run some tests and see how the Corsair Audio Series SP2500 2.1 speaker kit sounds.
The Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High Powered 2.1 Speaker System is definitely an audio force, outperforming every 2.1 speaker kit we’ve tested, and even a couple of 5.1 kits in terms of audio quality. The SP2500 kit is extremely well-built, and with a total of 232 watts of ground-shaking power, the system manages to keep the audio quality crisp and warm.
If I had to nitpick about a couple of things, one would be the subwoofer’s thin walls; there’s no way to tell how long they will last. The other would be the backlighting on the controller, although it’s very easy to see during the day and night, we wish the backlighting would have a setting where it stays on for more than 60 seconds, but like I mentioned that’s just nitpicking.
Quality like this doesn’t come cheap, as the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker Kit retails for about $200, but you get a killer speaker kit that’s very well built, looks great and has excellent audio quality.