Arctic Sound S361 2.1 Speaker Set Review

Testing and Conclusion

Arctic Sound S361

Testing and Conclusion

Testing speakers is one of the simpler tasks as it just involves plugging them in to a variety of sources and rocking out.

The difference that the Arctic Sound S361 make over a regular set of desktop speakers is instantly and jaw-droppingly apparent. Having much larger speakers enables the audio to be reproduced over a much greater range than you get from the speakers that are built down to a aesthetically pleasing size.

Huge response range is definitely the key. Rather than everything being compressed into the middle frequency range, having different sized speakers, with different responsibilities, allows whatever you're listening to to be freed from the normal constraints. Instead of sounding muddy or tightly packed, it has room to breathe.

The mid-range, vocals, speech and the like, has enormous clarity. You can certainly hear many things which are hidden in a less capable set of speakers, but also you have such a breadth of detail in the elements you've normally been able to hear. Subtle nuances become apparent that are otherwise hidden.

If you're a fan of Motown you'll be pleased that the high-end, although naturally not as dominant, isn't overlooked either. The sound is never tinny, but rather one of clarity. You start becoming aware that normally you're straining to hear everything, whereas with the Arctic Sound S361 listening is a relaxed and joyful experience.

Finally we have the twin-speaker, ported, sub-woofer. As one would expect this delivers unholy levels of bass for a unit this size. Bass has become one of those things that gets mentioned a lot in the blurb of any new audio item. How often have you read about headphones or speakers and all the advertising mentions the excellent bass, and all the queries from potential purchasers is "what about the bass?". Sadly this often leads to audio reproduction that is more muddy than bassy. Removing the middle and high frequencies doesn't count as improving the bass. Anyone knows that bass should be tight and crisp, not muddy and watered down. That absolutely is handled by the S361s, giving more bass than you could reasonably need yet without losing clarity in the rest of the audio spectrum.

The remote unit is of particularly high quality, being very well put together and having a quality 'heft' to it that belies the price-tag. The buttons for adjusting the treble and bass are responsive, as are those for muting the unit, as well as putting it into standby. The volume knob deserves special praise for being one of the finest we've ever come across and a tactile joy to use.

About the only criticisms we can level at the S361 are firstly, the crack in the sub-woofer and bits of glue that broke off therein. Whilst this doesn't effect the performance, and with sub-woofers normally out of the way it's not even something you notice, nonetheless we'd have been very disappointed to get it home and find this. Of course this is a one off, and not indicative of the excellent Arctic products, but I'd be remiss not to mention it.

Secondly the blue LED that is constant when the unit is on, is slightly off-putting. You need the volume controls to hand, so you're aware of it, and if you do choose to watch a film, you don't really need a bright blue light glowing away. This is a small issue compared to it's blinking when in standby. My word that is SO annoying. Why on earth is it blinking? It's nice to know the unit is in standby, but as I haven't got Alzheimer's yet I haven't forgotten whether my speakers are plugged in or not. Blinking every five seconds doesn't help.

However, these are very small issues in an otherwise exceptional unit. They might not be the most subtle speakers to ever appear on your desk, or beneath your TV, but the measure of speakers is always in the happiness they bring to your ears rather than your eyes, and the S361 make my ears very happy indeed. Available for around sixty quid, they'll make your wallet happy too.

In the quest for image quality, audio can sometimes be left behind. Treat your ears too and remind yourself that quality audio can be just as smile-inducing. Couple this with the fact they only cost around £60 and you are on to a winner, taking everything into consideration I'm delighted to award the Arctic Sound S361 our Gold Award.

   

Thanks to Arctic for providing the S361 for review. Discuss in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

16-02-2011, 06:38:27

tinytomlogan
Tired of tiny speakers? Sick of the family crowding round the monitor or sharing headphones? Arctic have your problem solved.



Continue Reading

16-02-2011, 07:13:39

Zeals
Arctic Cooling make speakers? And they are good??!!!

16-02-2011, 07:37:40

dugdiamond
40Watts should be enough for anyone. But being quite chunky, i can imagine that they would have to be placed a distance from the PC, so are the cables long enough?

I personally have my rig (7.1 X-Fi) jacked into the AUX on my 200W stereo system with surround (i like overkill on everything )

BTW: sack the packer!

16-02-2011, 08:17:20

Fodr Kreatr
Do they make the floor rumble much?

16-02-2011, 11:42:14

Socks
Hmmmmz...never have been a fan of anything computer sized and making noise. Will always sound terrible to me. If i cant have my system then i wont use any other.

ATC SCM7's and a nice TEAC 8 ohm amp to drive the bad boys, awesome way to spend 700

But by the by, these looks nice, nicer than most. but still I couldnt comprehend spending this money on "toys"

16-02-2011, 12:05:34

jaw2floor
I have a AS P531 and I say for 38 (inc postage) they are EXCELLENT in all aspects.

16-02-2011, 15:04:11

AMDFTW
me like them

just in my price range aswell

16-02-2011, 15:23:44

adamjamesroe
Still prefere my logitech X-530's

16-02-2011, 15:53:58

WelshD1K
ummm make the foor shake.... get u some z5500's

16-02-2011, 16:16:05

adamjamesroe
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshD1K View Post

ummm make the foor shake.... get u some z5500's
Very nice; im to tight to splash out so much for speakers, extra GTX 570, yes speakers, no.

Welsh, you still running that rig Tom made for you ages ago, becasue its epic. saw the vid the other day.

17-02-2011, 07:00:06

ionicle
these look rather nice actually, but id sugest wait until the company refines the idea before actually purchasing them...

17-02-2011, 14:43:01

WelshD1K
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjamesroe View Post

Very nice; im to tight to splash out so much for speakers, extra GTX 570, yes speakers, no.

Welsh, you still running that rig Tom made for you ages ago, becasue its epic. saw the vid the other day.
yep stills ame rig just new ram ,,,, nothing has changed , still 2x22" same z5500's i bought brand new for 50 yes five zero

20-02-2011, 01:16:00

Filekutter
They do sound darn nice for gaming, but I do ask my 'puter to double-up as media center as well, and yes, even Movies, so.... I'll pass. I need those darn mids to be at least slightly audible, if not adjustable. Tx for the nice review and insight T.

20-02-2011, 14:19:09

AMDFTW
when are these out

20-02-2011, 17:33:22

MichaelH
These look lovely and from what your review says sound good too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDFTW View Post

when are these out
+1...when ARE these out ? I see you can buy them directly from the Arctic site for $106 but no other options ???

21-02-2011, 05:03:04

Zeals
I wonder if you can buy a empty case for the bass, than mod it to fit your computer, and disguise the fan intakes where the subwoofers would be. Than have the computer (in the bass case) and bass flanked by the two speakers. That would look so awesome >.<
Reply
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