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Corsair SP2200 2.1 Speaker System Review

Testing and Installation
I actually tested these speakers with two setups, one with a computer and one without.

Test Setup 1:

  • Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955
  • Motherboard: GA-MA790XT-UD4P
  • Memory: 2x4GB G.SKILL F3 PC3 10666 @ 9-9-9-24
  • Video Card: 2x Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
  • Soundcard: On-board
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Test Setup 2:

  • Numark X2: Professional Hybrid Turntable and MP3 CD Player
  • Numark DXM01USB: Two-channel Digital Scratch Mixer

Testing Media:

  • Music: Isles and Glaciers, Atmosphere, A Perfect Circle, Poison the Well
  • Movies: The Matrix, Requiem for a Dream, Tangled
  • Games: Heroes of Newerth, Day of Defeat: Source, Section 8: Prejudice

Music:
Half of my testing I did with my Turntable and the other half I did with the on-board driven audio out of my PC. Regardless of the source device the first thing you notice with the SP2200’s are how bass-y they sound. Regardless of the satellite volume level the bass is always prominent in the delivery of the sound. This is when I first started fiddling with the sub “volume” knob on the right satellite. What was strange was even though this knob is listed a sub volume adjustment in the manual it doesn’t perform like one. Instead of adjusting the volume that the sub was outputting it changed the over bass output for the whole speaker system. It was more like a cut-off switch than a volume adjustment. The default setting for the sub is “50%” according to the dashed line above the knob (see the right satellite image) but I noticed the sound was best heard at around 1/3rd the available adjustment level.

Corsair SP2200 2.1 Speaker System

Because of the sub adjustment that I made to make my music sound reasonable I noticed that the more I turned up the overall volume on the satellites the more clear the mid-to-high range became. If you lowered the sub level below 1/3rd the mid to high fell drastically as if the bass level somehow affected the audible range the individual satellites. I think this has to do with the fact that only 8 watts of power are dedicated to each satellite and 5 of those 8 watts are meant for that mid-to-high range. When you reduce the output of the sub you reduce the overall output of the whole setup to the point where the mid-to-high on the satellites doesn’t seem to change. The use of the turntables mixer seemed to smooth out some of these problems and I imagine if you had a decent soundcard with nice equalization software you could do the same thing on your computer.

I’ve read reports that if you lower the sub volume to a certain level you can drastically tell a difference in overall volume output of each satellite. As much as I tried I couldn’t reproduce this problem with the unit that Corsair sent us in. This must have been a problem discovered on a case to case basis.

Movies:
What better movie is there to test speakers than the Matrix? It covers the entire scope from loud bass hits to soft wood winds. This is an area where these speakers shined. I’m your typical guy and I enjoy “feeling” my movies. For the physical size of these speakers it surprises you how much of a punch they pack. Anytime I can feel the rumble of a good action scene I know I have a decent setup. Dialogue isn’t affected by the mucho bass but that’s because it part of the audio spectrum that’s not affected by bass. The sound effects were very well received but the in-movie music could sound a bit distorted at times, especially if you had the sub turned up.

Like I said earlier, I’m a guy, but I still threw Disney’s Tangled in there to see if I could pick up on any sound discrepancies. Regardless of all the cheesy one liners the sound came across a-oh-kay.

Games:
I look at it this way. If you’re a true gamer and you want the full audio experience you’re going to buy either a 5.1 setup or a decent headset. With the exception of the Antec Sound Science 2.1 setup I’ve never experience a 2.1 that fully can immerse you in a game. This setup is no exception. The overall quality is fine and with the ambient noise some games provide (DoD:S’s background machine gun fire) the bass boost is hit or miss. Guns almost sound distorted at times. Games like Heroes of Newerth provide no sound benefit at all. Section 8: Prejudice had a nice clean sound but nothing I haven’t heard from cheaper 2.1’s. The one truly nice thing that this setup has it the 1/8th inch headphone jack input for that sound isolated headset you have hanging on your second monitor.