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Corsair SP2500

Bringing Home The Bass: 2.1-Channel Speaker Roundup
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Corsair is new to the speaker industry, but the SP2500 shows that the company is quite serious about establishing respect right out of the gate. The 232 W rating (using RMS voltage, according to FTC guidelines) is the highest in our test group, the subwoofer enclosure is the largest and heaviest, and Corsair’s product is the only one that comes with a remote equipped with a color LCD screen.

Each satellite houses a 1" 10 W ferrofluid-cooled silk diaphragm tweeter and a 3" 40 W bi-amplified, two-way design mid-range driver. The satellites are attractive, despite a somewhat conservative design, and at 6.3" x 4.3" x 4.7", they are average-sized compared to the rest of the test group.

The 8” subwoofer is the largest by an inch, and is rated at 120 W. At 19.2 lbs. and 11.7" x 18.1" x 10.2", the sub enclosure is no small box, and placement is something you’ll want to consider if you’re interested in the SP2500. This is the only subwoofer in our roundup that uses a fourth-order band-pass design, as opposed to the standard bass reflex configuration. This is a fancy way of saying that the 8” driver is mounted completely inside the enclosure. Corsair claims that this is a superior enclosure configuration that provides better power handling and more detailed bass. It also explains why the subwoofer is so large compared to the competition.

These speakers come with a 1/8” stereo mini-to-RCA cable, satellite stands, a manual, and speaker and power cables. The speaker cables use a four-pin color-coded connector I haven’t seen elsewhere, which works well, but doesn’t allow for easy wiring customization. The stands can be used to better aim the satellites at the listener if more of an angle is appropriate. The bundle also includes a wired remote that we’ll examine shortly.

The rear of the subwoofer is home to RCA and 1/8” mini-jack stereo inputs, and the wired remote has another 1/8” mini-jack input. Unlike some systems, only one input can be used at a time, which must be selected with the remote. The requisite headphone jack is conveniently located on the wired remote.

A quality speaker system offers good controls, and Corsair has gone beyond the call of duty here with a wired remote that sports a ton of options and a color LCD display. A large knob allows the user to change the master or subwoofer volume, and can also be employed to navigate and select menu options. The control knob works a lot like the wheel on an iPod. It is possible to select effects, equalizer presets, source input, and setup options with the remote.

Corsair’s SP2500 is also equipped with digital crossovers using a dynamically-controlled DSP. This allows for unique abilities, such as “night mode,” which redirects bass signals to the satellites in order to keep the large sub from disrupting the neighbors.

Strangely enough, despite the integrated DSP, the SP2500 does not accept a digital audio input. Corsair points out that a digital input would have to downmix Dolby or DTS streams into two channels, a function already built into integrated audio codecs and sound cards.

The Corsair SP2500 has an MSRP of $249.00, putting it in a three-way tie for the most expensive option in our roundup.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    damasvara , January 6, 2011 6:34 AM
    Audiophiles dissing common audio listeners = Hardcore PC gamers dissing console gamers

    Typical... :pfff: 
  • 11 Hide
    cleeve , January 6, 2011 6:03 AM
    clownbabyWow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash.


    If you know audio, you know that the environment has a *MASSIVE* effect on response recording. Even moving the mic a few inches in the same environment can change the result by a large amount.

    As we've stressed in the article, we don't have the luxury of a professional-grade anechoic chamber for testing. Our results are likely heavily degraded by comb filtering and phase cancellation, but they can be used to compare speaker output to each other because they were all tested in the same conditions.

    The bottom line is, don't write these products off based on a response taken in less than ideal conditions.

    Use these response graphs for what they are good for--not absolute, but relative measurements.
  • 10 Hide
    miaaron , January 6, 2011 3:03 PM
    A few comments:
    1) The Creative Gigaworks T3 does have 3 drivers in the sub enclsoure, but two of the drivers are not active/powered. They are more commonly referred to as passive radiators and they just tune an enclosure like a port would. If you want more info on how ports work, search for "helmholtz resonator".

    2) Don't knock the speakers for the freq response measurements, or any other speakers measured freq response when someone measures them in a regular room. What those freq measurements are showing is the freq response of the speakers in their room...not your room. That's why all the response curves look alike for the most part, because the acoustic patterns of the room are going to dominate the measurement. So don't look at the measurements themselves, look for deviations from the overall pattern to identify issues, like the dip in the response of the sp2500 between 2k-5k.

    I've done a LOT of room measurements and can say the author did a decent job here. If he had no other audio experience before diving into this project, it shows he really did his research...or got really lucky. lol The people with the nasty/mocking/snob comments should actually take the time to do some in-room measurements, they would be suprised.

    3) Don't let anyone tell you a PC speaker sucks because it is a PC speaker. I've built dozens of DIY speakers, and I bought a logitech Z-5500 for my bedroom. Why, cause I couldn't build them for the price I paid ($160 AR @ buy.com). I could have built something very similar if I wanted, as the Tang Band driver logitech used in the z-5500 was well known to the DIY community, but it wouldn't have been a nice without a lot of effort & extra money.

    4) Plastic enclosures aren't bad. The enclosure material doesn't matter as long as it blocks the rear wave of the cone output and doesn't resonate. Plastic actually has a huge benefit in small speakers like this, as a simple curve or some added thickness can add a lot to strength...something cheap and easy to do in a plastic mold.

    5) Don't be afraid to use the EQ built into many sound drivers.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    hmp_goose , January 6, 2011 4:14 AM
    It's you: Where the hell are my 5.1 sets?
  • 4 Hide
    Mark Heath , January 6, 2011 4:20 AM
    Interesting.. thanks for the article. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    jazn1337 , January 6, 2011 4:40 AM
    Dang, I was hoping you guys would look at the Swan M10s.
  • 7 Hide
    clownbaby , January 6, 2011 4:50 AM
    Wow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash. The bass peaks and generally crappiness in the mid range seem to be a common theme. Almost no consideration seems to be given to music listening.

    2.1 is the ideal setup for a computer imo. 4.1 at most. A center channel just isn't needed for monitor sized screens.

    You can buy a cheap onkyo receiver, some low end bookshelf speakers and a small sub for a few hundred bucks and have sound that will destroy the best pc speakers.

    The fact is, pc speakers are toys. There is no high end option. What they market as high end would be laughed out the door by the regular audio comminuty.

    p.s. Plastic is not an acceptable cabinet material
  • 0 Hide
    clownbaby , January 6, 2011 4:52 AM
    this is what frequency response graphs of decent speakers should look like.

    http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/StatementCenterChannelResponsePlots.JPG
  • 3 Hide
    tigerwraith , January 6, 2011 4:53 AM
    My Logitech G51 speakers have a Headphone and mic passthrough on the remote.
  • -2 Hide
    clownbaby , January 6, 2011 4:54 AM
    this is a frequency response graph of the first diy speaker I built from a popular design. This is a super budget MTM speaker.

    http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/TritrixMTMfr.gif
  • -1 Hide
    d0gr0ck , January 6, 2011 5:03 AM
    clownbabyWow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash. The bass peaks and generally crappiness in the mid range seem to be a common theme. Almost no consideration seems to be given to music listening.2.1 is the ideal setup for a computer imo. 4.1 at most. A center channel just isn't needed for monitor sized screens.You can buy a cheap onkyo receiver, some low end bookshelf speakers and a small sub for a few hundred bucks and have sound that will destroy the best pc speakers. The fact is, pc speakers are toys. There is no high end option. What they market as high end would be laughed out the door by the regular audio comminuty.p.s. Plastic is not an acceptable cabinet material


    Pretty much this. I've been telling people for ages that their super-duper PC speakers aren't. Any brand that quotes max power over RMS values raises an instant red flag for me. Even 20yr old Radioshack shelf speakers can run circles on most modern PC speakers.

    I die a little bit every time I hear someone with a premium add-in sound card is running generic PC speakers.
  • 0 Hide
    tigsounds , January 6, 2011 5:25 AM
    This is all Go out and buy it junk. Build your own and end up with something that rattles the neighbors nerves if done right.
  • 3 Hide
    Mark Heath , January 6, 2011 5:46 AM
    For all those who trash all PC speakers, they're usually the best option on the lower end of the scale. There are people out there who have compared entry level (sub 400) active speakers to the Klipsch Promedia set (best active speakers ~150 for sound quality imo) and they say that they're not that different. If you do it right, then it's not as bad as you might think.
  • 11 Hide
    cleeve , January 6, 2011 6:03 AM
    clownbabyWow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash.


    If you know audio, you know that the environment has a *MASSIVE* effect on response recording. Even moving the mic a few inches in the same environment can change the result by a large amount.

    As we've stressed in the article, we don't have the luxury of a professional-grade anechoic chamber for testing. Our results are likely heavily degraded by comb filtering and phase cancellation, but they can be used to compare speaker output to each other because they were all tested in the same conditions.

    The bottom line is, don't write these products off based on a response taken in less than ideal conditions.

    Use these response graphs for what they are good for--not absolute, but relative measurements.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2011 6:05 AM
    I would be interested to compare these with the Harman Kardon 2.1 soundsticks III, which i own and i am very happy with, even though they are (only) rated @ 20W RMS (Sub) + 2 x 10W RMS (satellites).
  • 5 Hide
    pandemonium_ctp , January 6, 2011 6:29 AM
    Quote:
    Is it just us, or are 5.1- and 7.1-channel speaker systems impractical for PCs?


    It's just you (guys). Gamer immersion? IMHO more channels is more important for gaming than for watching movies (which I also do with my 7.1 setup; TV speakers = 2 additional).

    Simple rules for buying good speakers (and anything peripheral):
    -Stay away from wireless
    -You can't really go wrong with Logitech, Bose or Altec Lansing (though not as good as they used to be)
    -High RMS/Watt output means next to nothing (unless you're deaf and need speakers at high volume all the time and don't care about quality of tone)

    TigsoundsThis is all Go out and buy it junk. Build your own and end up with something that rattles the neighbors nerves if done right.


    I'm all for building your own, except most people won't know the properties that are important for stereo systems and will wind up with sub-par performance compared to cheap store-bought crap. If you're just after rattling your neighbors nerves then you're just a douche. :/ 
  • 12 Hide
    damasvara , January 6, 2011 6:34 AM
    Audiophiles dissing common audio listeners = Hardcore PC gamers dissing console gamers

    Typical... :pfff: 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2011 6:52 AM
    I upgraded my computer speakers this holiday season and let me just say they are AMAZING now. I can't believe how much better real speakers are than PC speakers. I also tossed in a high end sound card and my music experience is surreal.

    If anyone is curious, google for "WAF-1 Rosewood Pair" the price they are selling for right now is a STEAL right now. Unfortunately they ran out of the matching 2-channel amp, so you need to find an amp elsewhere. I also picked up a BIC V1020 subwoofer because I like dance music. I'll never go back to normal PC speakers again.

    Price wise, it's the equivalent of getting a top-tier video card, but for your sound system.
  • 2 Hide
    specter_jester , January 6, 2011 7:02 AM
    I've no regret till now of my 1.5 years old Logitech Z2300 ;-)
  • 1 Hide
    reasonablevoice , January 6, 2011 7:37 AM
    clownbabyWow, those freq response graphs are pretty telling that computer speakers are basically all trash. The bass peaks and generally crappiness in the mid range seem to be a common theme. Almost no consideration seems to be given to music listening.2.1 is the ideal setup for a computer imo. 4.1 at most. A center channel just isn't needed for monitor sized screens.You can buy a cheap onkyo receiver, some low end bookshelf speakers and a small sub for a few hundred bucks and have sound that will destroy the best pc speakers. The fact is, pc speakers are toys. There is no high end option. What they market as high end would be laughed out the door by the regular audio comminuty.p.s. Plastic is not an acceptable cabinet material

    I've been saying this for years. It is 100% true.
    As per damasvara's comment about audiophiles dissing casual listeners, nothing could be further form the truth. We are not criticizing you, we are criticizing these low end speakers! We are trying to tell you that there are much better products out there for the money. Come, join us, you'll never look back.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2011 8:23 AM
    Much more expensive but please vbuild and review a system like this:

    B&W CM5 + Rotel RC-1550 + Rotel RB-1552 + Optical Out Sound Card
  • 1 Hide
    ZakTheEvil , January 6, 2011 10:01 AM
    I'll never fall for another overpriced computer-specific speaker system. SPDIF connected to Home Theater receiver and a set of decent 5.1 HT speakers works for me well and adds the flexibility of multiple inputs and a fully featured remote, also has EQ, compression for night time listening, etc. Movie surround modes work great for games too.
  • -1 Hide
    Hupiscratch , January 6, 2011 10:21 AM
    My Bose Companion 3 is doing great, and have the auxiliary jacks you´re asking. It should be on a next test.
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