by Jamie Fletcher on March 11, 2011 in Audio & Media
With the launch of its HS1 headset last fall, Corsair proved that the audio market wasn’t one it was planning on jumping into without first making sure that its products would impress. But what about those gamers that don’t like to use headphones? The answer is the SP2500, a speaker set with a unique design, and a lot of power.
So, after using these speakers for a lot longer than I should have, the question remains of how do they perform. As a personal preference, I’m a major user of headphones, but still enjoy a great set of speakers to deafen the neighbors at the weekend. Being the proud owner of a set of Logitech Z5500’s, these were my only real side-by-side comparison with the Corsair SP2500’s.
It’s not exactly a fair comparison by the numbers, comparing a 2.1 with a 5.1 system, not to mention the Logitech set are $100 more and 5-years-old, but some of you may be wondering about dropping the rear channels for some quality audio.
I won’t beat around the bush and make it quite clear, the Corsair speakers are fantastic, and so they should be at $250. While these speakers are being sold as a gaming set, I really doubt that was its purpose. If you want gaming audio, go with surround sound, be it with a headset or 5.1 speakers… you can’t fake positional audio.
As a set of general PC audio speakers for music, the SP2500’s are just brilliant. The mid range is warm, the bass is room filling but not overpowering (unless you want it to be) and the dedicated tweeters really push the ambiance into a room with great clarity.
The overall experience was quite a surprise when initially installed. Being a headphone user, one picks up on a lot of the various subtleties that can be lost when switching from headphones to speakers. With the SP2500’s… not the case, at all. Everything that could be heard with my standard headphones, was completely clear and audible with these speakers. This probably comes down to the bi-amplified satellites with the tweeters on its own channel.
The use of the 4th order sub really does help with bass. After using the Logitech set all these years, the one thing that did disappoint was the cold mid-range and the fact that the bass had no definition. It was loud, seriously loud; grin worthy, house shaking, dead waking loud, but definition wise, it was just bass. The use of the 4th order system in the SP2500’s really brings a lot more definition to the bass range. You can hear the difference between 2 different kick drums.
The only concern is that of the cutoff frequency, at 140Hz, it’s quite high, as anything over ~80Hz can introduce a directional element to the bass, instead of just filling the room. This had to be done to compensate for the fact that the satellites mid-range driver is only 3 inches. However, since these are near-field speakers, it’s less of a concern.
For gaming, you can’t really beat 5.1, even if you have to sacrifice some quality to get it. If Corsair decide to release a 5.1 set of these speakers… I’m gushing at the mere thought. There is still distinct stereo separation with the SP2500, provided the speakers are setup and angled correctly. Sound can still come through an invisible central channel. With the sub mounted above and on the desk, bass can rumble through into my hands, a gentle reminder of the reason I died after a grenade was thrown.
With movies, it largely depends on both your soundcard and the movie in question. Trying out the Mod X proved to be a challenge, as I’m uncertain as to whether or not any of the movies in my collection have been poorly mastered. In terms of dialogue through a central channel, flawless.
The only real concern I have with these speakers comes down to the strange way it’s been marketed. These live up to the title of high-end audio, but as a gaming set, not really. Its targeted specifically at PC audio, no consoles, no home theatre, it does come in as a rather niche product, but this can be said for any high end piece of equipment.
If I were in the market, looking for some decent stereo audio and had $250 to spend, would I go for these? Yes. For that reason, I’m very happy to gives these our Editor’s Choice. The price is a little steep, though various e-tailers are already selling them for less. The SP2500’s are built solid and perform with exceptional clarity. Corsair are setting a very high benchmark with its audio products and it’s great to see a new company take things seriously instead of a ‘me too’ attitude. Keep it up.
- Great clarity.
- Great aesthetics (subjective).
- Deep, punchy bass.
- Solid build quality.
- Variety of DSP settings.
- Expensive (~$250).
- Port noise at high volume in some cases.
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Gaming Speakers
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