Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speaker System Video Review

Corsair SP2500 Speaker System Review

 Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speaker System
Introduction 

Lets play a little word ascociation together, Ill say a word and you just say th first thing that jumps into your mind. "Corsair" did you say memory, power supplies or cpu cooling? I very much doubt many of you at all said PC Audio Systems, if we are honest none of us at OC3D tower thought it either. When Corsair first contacted us about the SP2500's we have to admit we did wonder if this was a a diversifying step too far. After a little research and some lengthy chats with both Corsair marketting and the SP2500 designer himself we had to give the SP2500's a shot.

Here is what Corsair have to say:

Intelligent power

The Gaming Audio Series SP2500 high-power 2.1 PC speaker system is the product of a design philosophy that embraces the importance of clean, detailed audio reproduction — not just for games, but for movies and music as well.

Building a great PC speaker system is more than about giving you room-shaking power. You also need optimal imaging and positional accuracy, and sonic depth and detail.

Since you have only one speaker system, you don’t want to make compromises. That’s why we’ve created the SP2500.

The smartest speaker system you’ve ever met
The digital signal processor and dynamic digital crossovers provide sophisticated processing and equalization effects for a listening experience that simply can’t be matched on ordinary analog speaker systems. Enjoy late night gaming or movies without disturbing others, adjust your listening experience for your favorite gaming, film and music genres, and choose from custom listening environments.

The beauty of bi-amplification, and more

Each two-way satellite has discrete digital amplifiers for both the specially developed 3” midrange driver and the custom-designed 1” ferrofluid-cooled, silk dome tweeter for accurate reproduction. You’ll enjoy pristine audio that’s clean and tight, even when pushed to the limits. You’ll also experience stereo imaging that’s nothing short of amazing, creating a compelling experience that’s as close as possible to how the recording engineer or the game designer intended.

You’re in control

We’ve designed the Gaming Audio Series SP2500 to be a flexible and capable audio hub that will give you years of performance through multiple PC upgrades. You get a PC input, two additional audio inputs (perfect for a gaming console and your MP3 or network music player), and a headphone connector that lets you tap into the incredible digital processing power even when you’re listening in private.

Master them all with the desktop controller. The 1.8” (4.6cm) color TFT display looks great, day or night, and the intuitive menu system is simple and straightforward

 

Full specs below: 

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 35Hz – 20kHz +/- 3dB
  • 232 Watts total power (measured via FTC “RMS” method)
  • Subwoofer dimensions: 18.1 x 10.2 x 11.7 inches (46 x 25.8 x 29.7 cm)
  • Satellite dimensions: 4.25 x 4.7 x 6.25 inches (10.8 x 12 x 15.9 cm)

    Subwoofer:
  • 8” 120W (IEC60268-5 24hr continuous rating) subwoofer with durable rubber surround
  • Fourth-order closed bandpass enclosure design
  • Bridged dual 60 Watt class-D amplifiers with integrated DSP  for 120 Watts of power (measured via FTC “RMS” method)
  • Ultra-efficient integral power supply with 100V – 240V AC input

    Satellites:
  • Bi-amplified, two-way design with detachable audio cables
  • 3” 16W (IEC60628-5 24hr continuous rating) midrange drivers
  • 1” 40W (IEC60268-5 24hr continues rating) ferrofluid-cooled silk diaphragm tweeters
  • 56 Watts per satellite (measured via FTC “RMS” method):
    • 40 Watt midrange class-D amplifiers with integrated DSP
    • 16 Watt  tweeter class-D amplifiers with integrated DS

      I/O, Controls and Programming
  • PC input on subwoofer
  • Dual 3.5mm auxiliary inputs (one on subwoofer, one on desktop controller)
  • 3.5mm headphone output with digital signal processing
  • Wired desktop controller with high-resolution color 1.8” (4.6cm) TFT display and multi-lingual interface (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese)
  • Mod X™ theatrical audio  processing for Blu-Ray and DVD audio that recreates the theater experience
  • Dynamic DSP programs and EQ curves for late night listening, environment simulation, and optimal enjoyment of game and movie genres

    Package Contents
  • Subwoofer
  • Satellites (Two)
  • Desktop controller with 6’ / 1.8m cable
  • 3.5mm to stereo RCA cable for PC input
  • Two 6’ / 1.8m satellite audio cables with ATX4 connectors
  • Power cable

 

Conclusion

It will come as no surprise that I absolutely love these.

Certainly speakers for your home PC have come a long way from those tinny beige things that we pretty much were all forced to have if we wanted to hear more than a beep.

So far have we come that the Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speaker System is on a par with some hi-fi speaker packages. When I first got them out the box it looked like that immense bass unit would drown out those little satellites. As it is the whole system blends perfectly together to give us a torrent of noise that would shake your fillings loose if you desired.

It's not all about volume either. The clarity is the over-riding sensation we're left with. It didn't matter what was pumped through them or how loud they were turned up, the SP2500 just kept on churning out amazing soundscapes that saturated the air with tight growling bass and glassy highs.

The control unit is of particularly high quality giving a plethora of options to shape your tone. A highlight is the display which allows you to have a visual representation of how hard you're pushing the SP2500s along.

Naturally this kind of exceptional quality and performance doesn't come cheap. You're laying down a penny shy of 200 notes to own the Corsair SP2500 2.1. At no point though do you feel like they're overpriced. The build quality and audio reproduction are so incredible they're far and away the best PC-based speakers I've heard. It's not like you're limited to just PCs either as the various inputs mean you can attach them to most things and get enjoy the sound quality anywhere.

They are an investment. You replace your speakers about as often as you replace your monitor, perhaps less, so whilst the initial outlay may appear to be steep the SP2500s will give you many years of listening pleasure long after your current tower is consigned to the loft.

So the long and short of it is after 2 years I've finally found a replacement to the worthy albeit aging Z5500's, and I can honestly say if you don't really want or need 5.1 then the SP2500's are leagues ahead in terms of audio quality, teamed up with a decent sound card these will put a serious tilt in an audiophiles kilt (as far a set of PC orientated speakers can do of course!)

With the loudest, clearest, nicest looking, best performing PC speaker set I've ever seen, let alone tested, the Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speaker System gets an easy OC3D Gold Award and has started to make us think we may need a Diamond award when something really special like this arrives!

  

We would like to thank Corsair for the SP2500's on test today. You can discuss your thoughts in our Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

01-04-2011, 10:56:32

tinytomlogan
Corsair sell speakers now too? Is this a step too far or can they perfect PC audio?



Continue Reading

01-04-2011, 11:35:23

killablade
Thanks loads for the review, I actually requested you review this on twitter once haha

01-04-2011, 11:36:58

ahboyhan
the length of the review is almost the same as one half of premier league.

01-04-2011, 11:50:52

Aurus_OC
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahboyhan View Post

the length of the review is almost the same as one half of premier league.
That's because TTL is reviewing in the premier league of reviewers. He's in the top spot right now

But anyways, great review, really wanted to see how these perform. Corsair is really getting into different markets now.

01-04-2011, 11:54:51

ahboyhan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurus_OC View Post

That's because TTL is reviewing in the premier league of reviewers. He's in the top spot right now

But anyways, great review, really wanted to see how these perform. Corsair is really getting into different markets now.
totally agree. i think they only miss out on mobo and graphics card. maybe a corsair monitor coming out soon!! haha!

01-04-2011, 12:02:51

SG12004
very nice speakers but wayyy out my price range

01-04-2011, 12:05:49

dugdiamond
build quality looks good. cables are a decent length.

but... yet another controller to clutter up someone's desk!!!

once you have set-up your equalizer, you only need to adjust the volume... i think logitech's G-series keyboards do that fine, with the volume control on the keyboard (no extra contoller)

so, with this said, i do think the price is little too steep though.

01-04-2011, 12:08:38

Aurus_OC
I actually think the price is well set, if it really is as good as stated in the review. I actually prefer a 2.1 setup to a 5.1 setup for everything but movies. Rather have 2 quality satelites than five terrible "gaming" ones.

01-04-2011, 12:45:50

steve30x
I definately want this set of speakers. My Logitech X540's arent great. They were good enough for me three years ago , but I want to replace them now. Where can I get these with a decent sound card delivered to Ireland?

01-04-2011, 14:28:02

sheroo
WoW, I always thought that 5.1 was better than 2.1. Don't you miss it just a little bit when gaming?

01-04-2011, 14:47:04

ToeJam
KRK RP5 will make these look foolish at an extra 50quid :L

01-04-2011, 14:49:48

Aurus_OC
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

WoW, I always thought that 5.1 was better than 2.1. Don't you miss it just a little bit when gaming?
Most music is recorded in stereo. Also most games lack the proper support for 5.1, so you will get pretty much the same directionality from a 2.1 setup that you would get from a 5.1 setup in those cases. But like Tom said in the review this is aimed at music and gaming is just something that comes in the "package".

01-04-2011, 14:55:42

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurus_OC View Post

Most music is recorded in stereo. Also most games lack the proper support for 5.1, so you will get pretty much the same directionality from a 2.1 setup that you would get from a 5.1 setup in those cases. But like Tom said in the review this is aimed at music and gaming is just something that comes in the "package".
No I get it that for music they'll be awesome. I've currently got an old pair of Logitech Z10 and I think that they are pretty good, but I've always had it in my mind that the next speaker upgrade would need to be 5.1. But you guys don't seem to be that bothered? So now I'm in re-accessment mode...

01-04-2011, 16:35:14

AMDFTW
i had a play with these at SCAn the other week they were very soild build wise and LOUUUD i got told off

01-04-2011, 16:56:07

piotrekhc
Hi Tom any chance to review Creative Gigaworks T3 and Acoustic Energy Aego M 2.1 ?

01-04-2011, 17:36:55

Alicarve
good review, I want them but too expensive

01-04-2011, 17:50:53

murphy7801
Platinum award ?

01-04-2011, 19:12:19

Icekube
Yeah top review, really had me wanting a set of these, but I all most always use my headset and rarely use my speakers, I'm a little more interested in the cheaper SP2200 speakers, they're prob more in my price range for occassional use desktop speakers. Oh I wish someone would review them ................

01-04-2011, 21:16:05

Karlos_the_n00b
Hey Tom, really enjoyed the review.

Any chance of an update when you pair them with a Xonar Essence?

01-04-2011, 23:01:20

dugdiamond
OMG - 01:16AM and you're asking him this!!!

give the man a chance to rest with his loved one's - lol

02-04-2011, 18:06:52

Ya93sin
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugdiamond View Post

build quality looks good. cables are a decent length.

but... yet another controller to clutter up someone's desk!!!

once you have set-up your equalizer, you only need to adjust the volume... i think logitech's G-series keyboards do that fine, with the volume control on the keyboard (no extra contoller)

so, with this said, i do think the price is little too steep though.
Tbf, the controller isn't just a glorified volume control, its got the connection for another input, and also the headphone jack, which of course will carry an amplified signal for those high impedance headphones At least you can move it out of the way when you need to, just hide it behind a speaker haha

02-04-2011, 18:42:22

killablade
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlos_the_n00b View Post

Hey Tom, really enjoyed the review.

Any chance of an update when you pair them with a Xonar Essence?
Don't think there'd be a point in doing so as the Essence is aimed at headphones.

05-04-2011, 06:48:44

Hay11Mac
Great review TTL, Decided to treat myself you some of these, think my Z5500 are sounding a bit tinny, mind you I have had them for a good few years.......

All the reviews I have read, have had nothing but good things said about these.

05-04-2011, 07:16:24

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayleywow View Post

Great review TTL, Decided to treat myself you some of these, think my Z5500 are sounding a bit tinny, mind you I have had them for a good few years.......

All the reviews I have read, have had nothing but good things said about these.
Z55's are deffo not tinny Hayles, quite the oposite.

05-04-2011, 07:20:50

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Z55's are deffo not tinny Hayles, quite the oposite.
He's just trying to justify the upgrade to himself...

You know you wanna...

05-04-2011, 07:26:24

Hay11Mac
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

He's just trying to justify the upgrade to himself...You know you wanna...
Yeah I probably am...... I can hear something odd with my z5500's, (only recently) but maybe it is just my head LMAO.

05-04-2011, 07:30:45

sheroo
Are there any comparisons between these and the Z5500's replacements, the Z906? Or is it apples and oranges to compare 2.1 with 5.1?

05-04-2011, 07:42:34

Hay11Mac
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

Are there any comparisons between these and the Z5500's replacements, the Z906? Or is it apples and oranges to compare 2.1 with 5.1?
I read a review earlier on the Z906, that says the Z5500's are better.

Just figured something under my desk was interfering with one of my speakers,LOL (never had that before) But anyway if Tom has taken his Z5500's off his desk, for these, then they must be good.... although I am replacing my Z5500's I will be keeping them.... Just my opinion

05-04-2011, 08:13:25

AMDFTW
how would these compare to say a CA topaz AM1 amp and some gale silver bookshelf speakers?

05-04-2011, 08:40:30

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDFTW View Post

how would these compare to say a CA topaz AM1 amp and some gale silver bookshelf speakers?
Sometimes I worry about you.

05-04-2011, 08:41:28

Hay11Mac
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Sometimes I worry about you.
LMAO

05-04-2011, 09:32:44

AMDFTW
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Sometimes I worry about you.
why is that? lol

06-04-2011, 07:08:03

Zeals
How do these compare against those massive Arctic Cooling ones?

06-04-2011, 08:04:58

jonowee
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDFTW View Post

why is that? lol
how do these compare to say a Creative Sound Blaster Play! USB sound stick and some Logitech LS11?

Do you get what I am trying to get at? *nudge nudge*

06-04-2011, 19:58:38

PC-Addict64
Great review.

Just bought Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 + Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD.

What can I say coming from Logitech Z5300e 5.1 + Creative X-FI Extreme music. What a difference.

Music, Crysis 2, Dirt 2 are really amazing now.

Thanks again.

08-04-2011, 13:51:59

Joecoral
I'm gonna buy me some of these, but I can't decide which sound card to pair them with. Either Xonar Essence STX or X-Fi Titanium HD. Both are about the same price, hard to choose!

28-04-2011, 15:04:35

steve30x
Ill be buying these speakers with the Xonar Essence ST from Scan. My X540's that I have with about 4 years are starting to sound dull now.

13-07-2011, 00:32:04

JPEG
This is why i love you guys. You dont go into all this in depth speaker stuff that i have no idea what youre talking about. Just real world testing and a good, solid review based upon that.

13-07-2011, 12:38:59

Zaim
I hope Corsair release a 5.1 version of this.

13-07-2011, 17:18:23

DT-525
Just got my set. Take a look. Just posted some images:

http://forum.overclock3d.net/index.php?/topic/33487-my-new-2011-rig/

19-02-2012, 23:21:36

Lollipop
Sorry to bump the thread but i have a question. Does the headphone port on the controller work with high impedance head-phones/-sets?

11-01-2014, 13:21:13

Chogin
Hi, i would like to get this out there for everyone who owns an Sp-2500 and those who are considering these magnificent speakers.

To get the most out of them, it should be self explanatory to use a decent soundcard or good onboard audio, especially a dedicated audiophile class soundcard as it will have more dynamic range and greater signal to noise ratio.

I highly recommend checking if there is an impedance differance between your sound card and the SP-2500 as the SP-2500 is built on the -10dBv standard, mismatched impedance may cost you dynamic range if you have too turn down the volume in order too not have the DSP clip the signal. If they are mismatched, try adding a preamp to your system.

One of the most important aspects of getting the most out of the speakers is that when listening to music, your soundcard should be turned way up to 100% to allow for max dynamic range and greater fidelity. These may sound like fancy words, but in the real world. It means more transparent sound, more depth, a more pronounced difference in loudness as dynamic range is a fancy way to say how big the difference between the loudest and the lowest sounds are, which again will help music come to life.

However, there is a flipside and an annoyance. Some Soundcards have a line out signal which is in the range of +4dBu which is too "hot" for the SP-2500. The SP-2500 is more at home with -10dB and will attenuate or "clip" away all peaks which are too loud for the DSP. Some will advice you to just turn down the volume, but that WILL cost you dynamic range and will make the sound seem distant and closed.

In short, if using a high grade Soundcard with "studio" grade specs. Using a preamp/receiver to control the input volume will allow you to set your soundcard to its maximum performance level whilst not overwhelming the speaker system and as such acheive the best sound.

As for preamps or receivers, any basic one will be better than none with a high ouput card such as the Essence STX. I myself prefer a tube amp as even though i have a good DAC, the output signal is not completely analog, and the tube will smooth the sound and take away some of the harsh characteristics.

ough...

Not a very tidy post, but hopefully people are able to understand some of it. Hope some will find it useful.
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