Testing was conducted using ASUS' Xonar Xense audio hardware without any processing turned on. This was in combination with an AMD/ASRock Phenom dual core platform @ 3.00GHz, with 2GB DDR3 1333.
We found the Corsair SP2500 high powered speaker system to be of the highest integrity of any comparable system through our labs, period. Attention to detail like this is usually reserved for speaker systems not found in PC retailers.
Performance backs this up with everything we threw at these speakers, with nothing but a hint of port turbulence under very heavy load to show for it. Total harmonic distortion under heavy load was also very low for a product in this class.
It would be almost irrelevant to try and compare the high end of these speakers with most conventional PC speaker systems, because they are so different fundamentally.
However, what we did find during testing was a very balanced and controlled high end which never interferes and provides localization of different instruments when stereo imaging. And thanks to the active crossover, it is really very smooth in its transition (an important one) to the mid range frequencies.
Even when compared to entry level Hi-Fi equipment, the use of the active digital crossover allows the tone and structure of the high-end to always be on under full control, which is key to good studio monitoring and as Corsair know, key to controlling a small desktop system without overly sizeable midrange components to fall back on like a big lazy set of floor standing tower speakers. Which incidentally, they can usually get away with only having passive crossover networks.
Overall, though, if users can pair these with a nice sound card, expect some great high end when listening to anything well recorded. Fatigue is very low too, which is another benefit of the active crossover network, and something else studio monitors try and achieve, rather than just ordinary Hi-Fi speakers.
The mid range has always been a soft area for most desktop systems because of the hole created in the mid range by the use of drivers that are too small along with the subwoofer being tasked with far too much of the mid range duties. Fortunately, though, it seems Corsair have negated this with some clever tuning and component choice.
Important mid range duties were handled very well indeed for the most part. Percussive instruments sounded edgy and full bodied. Drums in particular were rich and true to their original integrity.
Thanks to the combination of 8" driver and a well designed 4th order band pass enclosure, the result is far closer to proper 'Hi-Fi audio' than any subwoofer we have tested. The low end thanks to the active crossover only kicks in when needed, like it should. And when it does, the result is good clean bass down to around 35Hz.
There are certain drawbacks to using this type of enclosure, however, and this can be felt occasionally when punchy fast bass is required and the SP2500 subwoofer sometimes feels as though it would rather be involved in a movie soundtrack with lots of sweeping atmospheric low end stuff.
That being said, though, 99% of the time it's a great performer and really hard to fault when it achieves so well what it sets out to.
This is another area where the SP2500's are going to impress. During our testing we found that complex dialogue scenes and demanding action sequences were really a breeze for this system. This was without ever feeling as though a centre channel was needed in order to hear dialogue properly, which is in large part thanks to the use of such competent tweeters in each speaker.
In fact, during lengthy dialogue scenes, we found the subtle nuances in particular voices to sound really impressive. It was almost shocking in a sense to hear a 'PC' speaker set achieve this. There really is a great sense of balance and control; those words should be on the 'box art' somewhere, we feel.
A vast amount of the immersive quality of games and movies is how well integrated the subwoofer is and also how low it can extend. The SP2500 subwoofer is rated at 35Hz, and we think this is an honest and true figure which reflects the true ability of the subwoofer in question.
We feel that under fairly normal loading during complex action scenes the SP2500 subwoofer is going to perform strongly - Better than nearly all we have tested previously, but let's not beat around the proverbial here. What you get is deep tight-ish and metered out low frequency extension that is highly uni-directional. This is thanks to a well tuned band pass enclosure, active crossover and a large well powered driver.