Corsair SP2200 2.1 Speaker System ReviewnVidia_Freak - March 17, 2011
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Installing the SP2200 involves plugging in some cables and the most cursory of glances at the cables and plugs tells you what goes where. Obviously the system needs power, so plug the power plug into a main and plug the DC adapter into the subwoofer. The satellites must also be connected to the subwoofer. The jacks on the subwoofer are labeled clearly so this is very easy too. All that's left is to choose what input (s) the SP2200 will use. In my case, I used the auxiliary RCA stereo pair to connect the SP220 to my EESI Juli@.
- CPU: Phenom II x6 1055T @ 245x14 1.34v
- CPU Heatsink: Noctua NH-C12P-SE14
- CPU Fan: Noctua NF-P14
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5
- Memory: 2x2GB G.SKILL F3 PC3 12800 @ 1632 9-9-9-25 2T
- Video Card: XFX HD6970 2GB + BFG 8800GT (PhysX)
- Power Supply: XFX BE 850w
- Soundcard: ESI Juli@
- Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 750GB
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
- Speakers: Corsair SP2200
- Modified JBL 2500
- Altec Lansing VS4121
- Music: C418, Hubert von Goisern und die Alpinkatzen, Domenico Scarlatti (played by Vladimir Horowitz), The Prodigy, Rammstein, XTC
- Movies: The Bourne Ultimatum, The Matrix
- Games: L4D2, Metro 2033
My first impression of the SP2200 was that it was rather bass heavy, very boomy. So much so that it overpowered the rest of the audible frequencies. Increasing the overall volume made midrange and treble more audible. However, the amount of bass simply became a direct assault of my auditory canals. This, of course, was the impression using the the default volume level for the subwoofer. After fiddling with the subwoofer volume level, I discovered a happy medium at approximately 1/4 of the knob's turning arc, the position of which can be seen on page two. I noticed, however, that the potentiometer that should control the subwoofer's volume does not. It performs a function more like a low-cut filter, and turning the knob more to the left increases the position and steepness of the cutoff point. This has the effect of changing the sound signature of not only the subwoofer, but also of the satellites. (editor's note: sounds more like a crossover switch)
No matter, that is the setting at which the SP2200 was tested at. At this level, the overall sound signature becomes much more enjoyable. Bass is mildly flabby, but not boomy. Midrange is only slightly honky, thanks to the unusual function of the subwoofer potentiometer that also effects the very small 2" drivers in the satellites. Normally that driver size is ideal for a general purpose tweeter, not for as a midrange driver. With the bass level steeply curbed, however, they output much less of the midrange than the subwoofer. Overall I would call this signature slightly to the lower end of average.
There was one other problem that was particularly noticeable. As mentioned on the previous page, the SP2200 is marked to be in specification if the drivers perform within 5dB of one another. This is an easily noticeable difference in sound output levels, and it was very noticeable when the master volume knob was positioned at less than 1/4 of the knob's turning arc. Below this point the right channel is much lower in volume than the left, and at below 1/8 of the turning arc the right channel nearly cuts out entirely. Between 1/8 and 1/4 of the turning arc are the sound levels suitable for quiet listening, and unfortunately, the severe imbalance makes listening at these levels nearly impossible.
Movies aren't so involving with the SP2200. Newer movies often have audio that favors bass, and, as mentioned, the bass must be turned down quite a bit on the SP2200 to prevent it from being overwhelming and boomy. Unfortunately, this means that the overall volume must be turned up rather high to have a traditional movie experience. Fortunately, because most movie audio is intentionally very quiet so that any dramatic, loud moments are emphasized, means that quiet listening of movies is possible. Simply note that you might have to increase the volume to hear quiet parts.
Gaming with the SP2200 isn't so bad as I thought it might be. Certainly having the bass level trimmed considerably helps. Many newer games, mostly FPSs, are similar to movies in sound signature in that bass is emphasised. But again, the testing level used with the SP2200 mitigated most of that. With FPSs, quiet gaming won't be possible simply because of their nature. Guns sound punchy, if somewhat exaggerated. Decreasing the overall volume will make this less of a problem, but, then positional cues and subtle sounds and dialogue will be missed. Fortunately, the SP2200 does feature a 1/8" stereo TRS output on the facade of the right satellite so you can easily switch to headphones when needed.