In use - how do they sound?
Ears On Music and Films
Corsair stresses that the SP2500 speakers are built for desktop gaming, but in reality, most purchasers will be spending at least some of the time listening to music or watching films with them. Accordingly, we spent a bit of time going through some test pieces we know well.
An American in New York
We started off with some piano-heavy tunes, including Nine Inch Nails’ delicate 1 Ghosts I and Gershwin’s rich and frantic Rhapsody in Blue. In our experience, if a set of speakers is going to trip up, it’s going to occur when playing back the piano, but the SP2500 performed superbly. Music was crisp and clear, even at needlessly high volumes, and there were no hints of distortion. Even when things started to get busy, separation was excellent and the finer details – including the presses of individual oboe keys in our Gershwin recording – came through.
We also threw some heavier music at the speakers, spanning a number of genres and including tracks from Them Crooked Vultures, Mos Def and Gorillaz. Again, everything was exceptionally clear, and highs, mids and lows were crisp and well-defined. The ‘Classical’ equalizer setting – which we used for most of our testing, since it provides an acoustically and electrically flat mix – kept everything in balance, with neither the highs, mids or lows getting lost or overpowered.
But the SP2500s also have a heck of a lot of punch. Thankfully we were able to test them in a soundproof room, because otherwise most of the building would have been able to hear us. The speakers remain clear at volumes higher than you’d ever want to listen for extended periods. The same can be said for the sub, which can provide a genuinely trouser-flapping amount of crisp bass, but manages to hold off any distortion even when the independent volume is turned all the way up.
Lastly, we took a quick spin through Casino Royale, and without labouring the point, the SP2500s sounded very good. Quieter scenes were handled with aplomb and conversations were very crisp. At the same time, the action-heavy sequences were rich and really let you pick out the finer details. Frankly, crashing an Aston Martin rarely sounded so good.
Ears On Gaming
But these speakers weren’t primarily designed for listening to music or watching films. They’re built for gaming, so we tried to spend as much as we could running through some old favourites. Starting off with Unreal Tournament 3, the SP2500s performed admirably. As a 2.1 set, they lack any genuinely enveloping positional audio, but the stereo channels did a great job of helping to locate gunfire and generally added to the atmosphere.
Looking for something with a little more diversity, we ran through a few select sections of Bioshock and Crysis that had a little more atmosphere and fewer bangs, as well as a few laps in DiRT 2. Again, from the point of view of a gamer, the speakers sounded great and really recreated every creaking bolt in Rapture.
As with the music, detail was accurately reproduced, sounds were clear and separate and the action was suitably bombastic. The dynamic nature of most games meant that it was harder to spot any flaws by picking through familiar sections with a fine-tooth comb. But as a pure set of gaming speakers, we can safely say that the SP2500s performed very well.