By James Cao
With the Gaming Audio Series SP2500, Corsair has reinvented the PC speaker system. Get ready to experience a revolution.
The Gaming Audio Series SP2500 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 power is yours.
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 even includes a night mode color scheme). You can use the intuitive menu system to:
- Enable Mod X™ theatrical audio processing for Blu-Ray and DVD audio that recreates the theater experience
- Select dynamic DSP programs like Late Night, which uses the power of active digital crossovers to redirect bass tones to the satellites
- Choose custom-designed EQ curves for sophisticated environment simulation and optimal enjoyment of game, music and movie genres
Why choose the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500?
The Corsair Advantage
With almost two decades of building enthusiast-grade memory and components, we've earned a reputation for quality, compatibility, and performance. Need help? Our highly-regarded technical support staff is available by phone, email or the web.
True Power Reporting
When reading PC speaker power claims, it's the details that count. Wattages stated are the sine wave continuous average power output measured using US FTC Title 16 Part 432 (RMS) rating, not "peak" or maximum power output.
- Any PC or audio device with 3.5mm line-level output (devices with dual-RCA or other audio output may be used with an adapter cable, not included)
- Firmware updates require an Internet connection and a PC running Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows Vista®, or Windows XP
- Headphone Frequency Response: 35Hz – 20kH
- Headphone Battery Life: N/A
- Headphone Sensitivity: N/A
- Headphone Wireless Range: N/A
- Impedance: 2.2 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Headphone Type: Wired, 3.5mm analog
- Headphone Connector: 3.5mm analog
- Headphone Drivers: N/A
- Microphone Impedance: N/A
- Microphone Type: N/A
- Microphone Frequency Response: N/A
- Microphone Sensitivity: N/A
Corsair Gaming Headset
The Vengeance 1500 and Corsair HS1 gaming headsets feature two sets of technology provided by Dolby: Dolby Headphone, and Dolby ProLogic IIx.
Dolby Headphone is responsible for accurately reproducing positional audio. If you're playing a multi-channel game or watching a movie with surround sound, Dolby Headphone takes the multi-channel signal delivered to the headset and applies advanced HRTF and other algorithms to deliver it the way the audio designer intended. There's no up mixing or adding of additional channels: if your enemy is behind you and to the left, that's where you'll hear him.
Dolby Headphone also applies audio processing to give you the feeling of listening to audio from speakers in a room, reducing the "in your head" effect that can lead to ear fatigue. It's a key part of the comfort equation that helps you play for hours and think about the game, and not the headset.
Dolby ProLogic IIx is an optional feature that allows for up mixing of stereo and 5.1 sources into simulated 7.1 surround sound. It's a technology that originated with home theater systems, and many people like to enable it on their home theater systems when listening to stereo music, so that the music is delivered to all the speakers. On a headset, it's not necessary when you're playing a game or watching a video with multi-channel audio. You may enjoy it with stereo sources as well, but if not, you can simply leave it turned off.
2) How should I clean my Corsair Gaming headset?
The foam pads are made with open cell foam, so they should not be immersed in water. You can use the sticky side of tape or a lint removal tool to clean the ear pads, or a gentle wipe with a damp cloth on the fabric would also be fine
3) Why didn?t you include a certain feature found in more expensive headsets?
Our goal is to create a great product in the $99 price range. We?ve done this by talking to customers about what they want and how they use their headsets, and creating a simple, durable product that focuses on what?s important: audio quality, comfort, and reliability.
In our evaluation of the gaming headset market, we?ve found several products which emphasize features at the expense of material quality, so the end result is a plasticky-feeling product that may not be as comfortable as it could be, or which is liable to wear out sooner than it should. We?ve designed the HS1 to last the active enthusiast through years of use and abuse.
4) Will a more expensive gaming headset sound better?
Our goal was not to create the best-sounding $99 gaming headset on the market, or even to create a gaming headset that?s as good as $150 models. Our goal is to create the best-sounding gaming headset on the market. This is an endeavor which has influenced everything from the choice to use 50mm drivers, to our obsessive focus on baffle orientation and geometry, and even our selection of padding and fabric materials.
But, hearing is believing. We invite you to compare the HS1 to the finest gaming headset you can find, and tell us what you think.
5) What is the exact benefit of 50mm drivers, vs. the 40mm drivers found in most other gaming headsets?
Big drivers sound better than small drivers. This is immediately understood who?s listened to the same music on large home audio speakers and a portable iPod dock. But explaining why and how they sound better requires a little more detail.
A 50mm driver has 56% more surface area than a 40mm driver (thanks to the ?A = ?r2? formula we learned in elementary school). It also has a proportional increase in what audio scientists call ?volume velocity,? or ?acoustic impedance.? This translates into a measurement that the same scientists refer to as ?acoustic power? or ?sound power.? A 50mm driver has an increased sound power of 143%. You can look up these terms on Wikipedia for more details on how they?re calculated.
The additional sound power allows the driver to reproduce audio that?s much more detailed. If your audio source has a lot of things going on at once ? a 24-track musical ?wall of sound,? for instance, or a boss level in a game where you have way too many enemies firing way too many types of weapons your way ? a driver with more sound power can recreate each of these more accurately, while a smaller driver is more liable to lose details in the noise.
This means that listening is more enjoyable, with less distortion ? whether it?s distortion that you can immediately notice, or if it?s the continuous, low-grade distortion that irritates you on a subconscious level, contributes to ear fatigue and makes you want to stop listening.
Beyond enjoyment, there?s a practical advantage when playing games ? you need to hear the voices of your teammates during the massively insane firefights. While this won?t be an issue 90% of the time (a good game audio designer will test on various types of speakers and headphones), it?s that 10% that counts.
6) How does Dolby Headphone provide surround sound using just two drivers?
The first question to answer is ?how do humans detect sounds all around them, when we have just two ears??
The answer is that we?ve learned to determine the position of a sound based on the subtle changes to the sound depending on how it reaches our ears. For instance, a sound wave that travels over the back of your ear before reaching your ear canal will be slightly modified in a way that?s different than the modification that takes place with sounds that come at you from the front. We figure this out subconsciously, and it?s not a skill we?re born with ? we learn how to do this as infants.
Audio scientists have been studying these effects for decades, and they have a name for these position-based changes: head-related transfer functions or HRTFs. Scientists have learned how to apply these functions to sounds to make them appear to come from any direction. In other words, the functions simulate the effect of the sounds coming from front or behind you. The HS1 provides surround sound using HRTF technology developed by the experts at Dolby. A key to the effectiveness of this technology is the design of the headset itself, and we have found competitive products that have licensed the same Dolby technology, but lack the proper response curve for effective HRTF. So, if you?ve tried other surround sound headsets which use HRTFs and have not been impressed, please give the HS1 a serious evaluation.
That being said, there is a certain percentage of the population for which HRTFs aren?t effective. A lot of acoustic science has gone into developing this technology, but it can?t accommodate for everybody?s unique head and ear shape. If you fall into this category, you can be assured that you?ll still enjoy great-sounding stereo audio with the HS1.
7) What does Dolby Headphone do besides provide surround sound?
Dolby Headphone also incorporates Dolby ProLogic IIx technology, which up-mixes stereo and 5.1 audio sources into 7.1 audio. It can create a feeling of spaciousness and depth that you don?t hear in the original source. It?s the same technology that?s ubiquitous in home audio. However, if it?s not to your liking for whatever reason, you?ll be happy to know that it?s optional.
Dolby Headphone also applies processing to simulate the effect of listening to speakers in a room. It doesn?t attempt to make the instruments and musicians appear to be placed far away; rather, it makes the audio source sound much as it would if you were in your living room listening to music on your audio system, rather than wearing headphones. This reduces the effect of audio appearing to come from ?in your head? and can greatly reduce what is known as ?headphone fatigue,? the syndrome where you get tired of music that appears to emanate from your skull.
In our testing, we?ve noted that Dolby Headphone works great for most audio sources, but there are some types of recordings where the effect adds a little too much processing. That?s why Dolby Headphone, like Dolby ProLogic IIx, is an optional setting. We recommend that you try it with a variety of audio sources, and play with the configuration options that allow you to choose the simulated room size. We think that you?ll find that for many types of audio, it adds a sense of realism that you can?t get with ordinary stereo headsets.
8) What has Corsair done to make the audio sound so great, besides using 50mm drivers?
The choice to use 50mm drivers, rather than the industry-standard 40mm drivers, was just the first step of the journey. There?s much more to creating a great headset beyond investing in the right high-quality components. Our audio engineering team looked at every parameter that affects accurate audio reproduction, including driver design and alignment, baffle geometry and angle, and the acoustic tuning of the materials chosen for the ear-pads and liner material.
9) Does my content need to be specially encoded to take advantage of Dolby Headphone? Do I need to look for PC games with the Dolby logo?
No. Dolby Headphone works with any stereo, 5.1, or 7.1 audio streams.
10) What is the benefit of a circumaural, closed-back design? What do those terms mean?
?Circumaural? means ?around the ear.? The other type of commonly used earcup design is ?supra-aural,? resting on the ears.
Circumaural ear cups provide superior noise isolation. Noise isolation is important for LAN parties and other noisy, high-distraction environments ? you want to get your head into your game (or your movie, or your music) without noise filtering in, and others around you may not want to hear what you?re listening to.
When designing a Circumaural headset, the key to comfort is relatively light weight, without creating pinch points or touching the ears. We?ve accomplished this by using extra-large ear cups that we tested on people who sport some of the largest ears we could find. Our use of memory foam allows a firm, uniform seal, without exerting too much pressure on the head. The fabric covering allows for less slip than imitation leather, and reduces the excess moisture that leather-like materials can cause.
Closed-back ear cups are sealed against sound leaving or entering the ear cup. Compare this to open-back ear cups, which have perforations, slots or another type of opening in the ear cups that allow some environmental sound in, and allow some of the audio from the ear cups to escape. Open-back designs do not allow for adequate noise isolation.
By James Cao
By PC World Hardware Central
Posted on June 16, 2011
PC World Hardware Central in Denmark recommends the Corsair SP2500
Publication language is Danish: PC World Hardware Central in Denmark has just reviewed the SP2500 speakers and given them a Recommended award.Full Review!
Posted on January 24, 2011
Hexus reviews the SP2500 Speakers
"In all, though. the SP2500s are the best PC-centric speakers we've heard. The asking price may well be a stumbling block for most readers, and many will look toward a budget set of KEF or Mission speakers and amplifier for the same outlay, but after spending hours with a set, there's little doubting that Corsair has hit the right note with its first foray into premium speaker territory. Got a high-end PC build planned? Do yourself a favour and put these on the list."Full Review!
Posted on January 28, 2011
Corsair SP2500 gets the Editors Choice at LegitReviews
"When the Corsair SP2500 2.1 PC speaker system showed up in the test lab we hooked it up and were shocked to hear our music. We were able to hear details in the audio that we weren't able to make out on our old speaker system. The satellite speakers on the SP2500 are amazing and the midrange audio is crystal clear. Most audiophiles talk about sound separation and having bass that overpowers vocals and we finally get what they were talking about. The Corsair SP2500 might 'just' be a 2.1 speaker system, but they fill a room with crystal clear audio that is worth every penny of it. The Corsair SP2500's are worth it. You truly need to hear these to believe it."Full Review!
Posted on January 14, 2011
TechRadar reviews the Corsair SP2500 speakers
"The SP2500 will set you back £200, but we can say without reservation that, as soon as you get them up and running, you'll feel completely justified. If you want high-end PC audio, here it is."Full Review!
Posted on April 12, 2011
HotHardware gives the Corsair SP2500
"Corsair was able to produce such a clean sounding speaker system by using individual class-D amplifiers with dedicated DSPs per driver. With a setup such as this, the power provided to each driver can be set to optimal levels and crossover points for each driver can be tuned perfectly. Couple those attributes with a tuned subwoofer enclosure, quality drivers, and tuned program and EQ presets and you’ve got a speaker system that offers clean, clear, distortion free audio at virtually any volume level."Full Review!
Posted on July 8, 2011
Corsair SP-2500 wins an award at Hardwareluxx.de
Publication language is German: "System for Gamer’s and people that love Sound with a very full Bass & extreme clearly Sound with perfect locating feeling (First Person Shooters for example)."Full Review!
By Hardware Canucks
Posted on February 8, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins Gold at PC Perspective
"Every application I could throw at these speakers sounded just as it should. While games and movies are well represented here, music is really the strong suite of these speakers. The musicality of these speakers matches, and perhaps exceeds, that of a $300 pair of bookshelf or standalone speakers. But unlike those standalone speakers, the Corsair SP2500s feature their own amplifiers and control setup. Another $150 to $200 would need to be spent to get a standalone receiver/amplifier with similar specifications... If Corsair wanted to make a big splash in computer audio, they certainly have succeeded. The SP2500s are the best 2.1 set of computer speakers that I have set ears to."Full Review!
Posted on May 1, 2011
Engadget reviews the SP2500 Speakers
"All in all, Corsair's splash into the PC speaker market has been a success in our view. The SP2500 is a ridiculously powerful desktop buddy, one that won't let you down if you decide you want to drown your entire apartment building in block-rocking beats. Construction and components are up to Corsair's typically skyscraping standards, which is also why these speakers come with a significant premium."Full Review!
Posted on August 30, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins the "SIlver" award and "Editor's Choice" award at REVIOO.com
Publication language is French: “At around 200€, the Corsair SP2500 is not what we’d call affordable, but if you are willing to spend this amount of money, and if you are the owner of a quality soundcard, then you will not regret it.”Full Review!
Posted on March 21, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins Must Have at Kit Guru
"The Corsair SP 2500 2.1 Speakers are the best ‘computer’ oriented speakers we have heard, especially in this price range. They outclass the Razer Mako THX speakers which have been a firm favourite with KitGuru staff for many years now. The bass is punchy, controlled and capable of rocking your teeth out of their sockets. This low end impact is well matched with a dynamic, refined mid range and restrained treble delivery."Full Review!
Posted on March 28, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins Top Pick at Guru3D
"So in conclusion, the SP2500 offers a lot for your money. It is an easy to use and easy to setup kit. The control pod / DSP is the cherry on top of the cake. The speaker audio quality really is extremely good with much clarity, great mid tones"Full Review!
By Tech Gage
Posted on January 7, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins the "Editor's Choice" award at PureOverclock.com
"Quality like this doesn't come cheap, as the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker Kit retails for about $200, but you get a killer speaker kit that's very well built, looks great, and has excellent audio quality. "Full Review!
By Pure Overclock
Posted on April 2, 2011
TweakTown gives the SP2500 95% and Best Performance Award
“Another stand out product form Corsair in all areas of performance. This is probably one of the best 2.1 systems we have ever heard. With six dedicated amps at work and attention to details revealing true audiophile grade equipment, this system is a game changer (or igniter) for ‘PC Audio enthusiasts’.”Full Review!
Posted on November 1, 2011
Speaker Sparring: Two 2.1 Speaker Systems Go Head-To-Head
The gaming-speaker market has been so quiet lately that we feared Logitech’s budget boxes had driven everyone else away, so we’re happy to see two brand-new players enter the ring. The Antec and Corsair names are familiar enough to enthusiasts who enjoy building their own rigs. Antec manufactures a number of very solid power supplies, a host of CPU and case coolers, and a raft of enclosures. Corsair does the same, along with memory, SSD and USB storage, and the kick-ass HS1 USB gaming headset we reviewed in December 2010...Full Review!
Posted on January 11, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins Gold at HardOCP
“The Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-power 2.1PC Speaker System is exceptional and we have absolutely no reservations about recommending these. Assembly was extremely easy, the speakers look great, and performed well in all of our tests. Corsair makes excellent, innovative products and its SP2500 speakers are another reason why the company deserves your hard earned dollar.”Full Review!
Posted on January 11, 2011
Maximum PC awards the SP2500 KICK ASS!
The SP2500 is an interesting mélange of strength and refinement. The subwoofer and speaker cabinets are brutishly powerful and unapologetically plain to behold, but the system delivers more features than we could ask for, it sounds amazing, and it’s very reasonably priced.Full Review!
Posted on June 1, 2011
SP2500 preview at Gamespot UK
The SP2500 is a fantastic 2.1 system. The accuracy of satellites is something of a revelation for a consumer-focused product, letting you hear detail that you may have been missing from your audio. Though it can come across as a little clinical, the on-board DSP does a great job of offering a range of usable sounds that allow you to tune the system to your tastes. Music is detailed, accurate, and a pleasure to listen to, movies blow your socks off, and the accurate stereo imaging makes playing games a little easier too.Full Review!
By Think Computers
Posted on March 31, 2011
OC3D Video review of the Corsair SP2500 SpeakersFull Review!
Posted on May 20, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins award at Cowcotland
Publication language is French: A great review of the SP2500 from Cowcotland in France. They love pretty much everything, including the power, sound quality, ease-of-use and DSP-based remote, and say it's light years away from the usual PC speakers systemsFull Review!
By Kit Guru
Posted on March 5, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins the Editor's choice award at Metku.net
“In short the SP2500 is the best set of computer speakers I've seen and heard. Physically the set is in a whole another league when compared to the SP2200 and other smaller sets. The satellite speakers seem and feel very high quality and sturdy and the subwoofer is huge. As a nice touch there's also a separate remote controller. The sound quality of the set should be enough for everyone, and while the SP2500 is meant for near field listening, it can also output enough sound to fill a larger room. If you're looking for a stereo setup for your computer, the set should definitely be on the top of your list.”Full Review!
By Hardware Heaven
Posted on June 22, 2011
Corsair SP2500 receives the "Gold Award" over at InGame.de
Publication language is German: InGame.de in Germany have reviewed the SP2500 speakers and given them their Gold award. They find very little to criticise about it, and absolutely love the sound quality.Full Review!
Posted on June 16, 2011
Corsair SP2500 wins the "Gold Award" at TechReaction
"The SP2500 is one of the highest-quality 2.1 speaker sets manufactured today. The set performs phenomenally in every listening area, but what makes it worth the $250 price tag is the astounding performance/low distortion in extremely loud playback scenarios... These speakers are capable of making even modest on-board AC97 Audio output sound good."Full Review!
Posted on May 1, 2011
Corsair SP2500 goes Gold at HardwareHeaven
“In terms of the internal design of each component it is very clear from using the SP2500 and reading the technical documentation that Corsair's audio department know what they are doing... All of this great build quality and design was implemented with one aim in mind, maximising audio quality and in this regard Corsair have exceeded our expectations... With the SP2500 Corsair has created a 2.1 system which exceeds the audio quality anything else in the same price range. In fact it produces a quality of audio which is better than many other more expensive products."Full Review!
Posted on June 16, 2011
Hardware.no Recommends the SP2500
Publication language is Norwegian: Corsair SP2500 wins the "Recommended award" at Hardware.noFull Review!
Posted on July 4, 2011
Corsair SP2500 hits the grand slam at LanOC reviews - 10/10, Top Honors, & Editor's Choice award
"My experience with the SP2500 was amazing. High’s, mid's and low's were all equally impressive. My only complaint from a gamers perspective was the lack of a 5.1 option for better directionality, but even for a 2.1 system in-game performance was wonderful. I was hesitant about the included controller when we started but I was impressed with its functionality. "Full Review!