Powerful bass, impressive mids and highs, excellent stereo imaging and soundstaging, wires remote with LCD, option of upgrading firmware in future
Bass should have been punchier, mids could have had a bit more clarity, no wireless remote, speakers aren't wall-mountable, speakers not adjustable, expensive
Expert Rating :
2.1 speaker systems have been in existence for a long time, but even today it is hard to come across a set that sounds really good. The cheaper ones are often built to a budget and produce passable sound, while the more expensive ones sound decent but are no match for a pair of bookshelf speakers from a respected brand at the same price. Bookshelf speakers also take up a lot more desk space and often require amplification, which a lot of people will see as an additional headache. Hence the popularity of the 2.1 speaker systems. Their space saving design and plug and play nature is what made them so popular. It is also the reason why people choose to buy them despite the quality compromise.
But sometimes you have manufacturers that take up the task of creating truly good sounding 2.1 speakers that will challenge the stereotype. Most of the top desktop speaker manufacturers have tried this and few have succeeded. This time we have a new entrant in this segment, a name we are all familiar with, thanks to their quality storage devices and power supply units.
The SP2500 is Corsair's first speaker system and it seems they have pulled all stops to make sure it is the absolute best in the segment. We hooked it up to our PC to see how good it sounds.
While the online pictures leave no doubt that the SP2500 is a physically large set, we were a bit shocked when we actually saw it for the first time. The subwoofer could easily pass off as a stool and the satellite speakers were as large as our face. Visually, the speakers are moderately attractive. They have a very safe design that doesn't stir any extreme emotions in the viewer. Corsair has left that to speakers size.
The massive subwoofer turned out to be lighter than we thought. It uses a fourth-order bandpass enclosure design. What this means is that the driver is completely inside the enclosure and is mounted on a partition within, with its backside facing a sealed compartment with a fixed quantity of air, and the cone facing a ported compartment. This arrangement requires a lot of space, which explains the large size of the subwoofer.
The satellite speakers are traditional boxes with a no nonsense design. Each of them has a 3-inch mid-range driver and a 1-inch ferrofluid cooled silk diaphragm tweeter. The satellite speakers are completely non-adjustable but they come with plastic stands that you can place under either the front or the rear feet of the satellites depending upon whether you want the firing angle to be higher or lower. Still, despite this, we would have preferred adjustable speakers as that allows a finer control over the firing angle.
The 8-inch subwoofer is powered by a 120W amplifier. The satellites are bi-amped, which means there is an amp for each of the drivers. The mid-range drivers get 40W of power each and the tweeters get 16W each, which is more than the combined power of most low-end systems. The total power rating of the system is 232W RMS, which is measured by the FTC method. The FTC rating is obtained by measuring across both the channels across the audible range (20-20,000Hz) at 0.1% THD.
Most other manufacturers state the EIA rating, which is obtained across a single channel at 1KHz with 1% THD. Due to this power output obtained using the EIA method is often larger compared to the FTC method, but less realistic. None of us listen to 1KHz sounds from a single channel and 1%THD is too high to dismiss. Had Corsair used the traditional method their total output would have been closer to or more than 300W RMS.
On the back of the subwoofer you will find the line in input, which uses standard RCA jacks and auxiliary input. The output to the two speakers is through unconventional (for a speaker system) ATX connectors. The reason for this is because the speakers are bi-amped and ATX cables allow Corsair to send the two dedicated streams without having multiple ports per channel. They are also easy to replace and extend if necessary. Lastly, you have the VGA connector to the remote controller.
The remote on the SP2500 is pretty awesome. It has a large display, a volume control knob that also serves as navigation control through the on-screen UI and three backlit keys below. One of the keys controls the master volume, the other lets you adjust the subwoofer level. The third buttons lets you enter the menu. From there you can select various sound effects and equalizer presets as well as the input. You can adjust the duration of the backlight and the color.
The remote also has another auxiliary input and a headphone out. There is also a mini USB port, which allows you to connect it to the PC. This function is reserved for future firmware upgrades, which may add additional functions or alter existing ones.