A surround sound system for your computer can sometimes be considered an inconvenience or a modern luxury. However, there are options that offer clarity, along with a balanced sound that makes them a necessity, such as the Sony 2.1 speakers.
With the use of a surround sound system on your computer, you can watch movies, work, listen to music, all as if you were using your television. And while some are immensely bulky, there are some to found that are economical in size, with strong output, that doesn’t occupy too much desk space. Today we look at one of those options.
The Sony 2.1 Speakers
The Sony 2.1 speaker system is able to compile everything that you’d get in a full-priced, surround sound speaker system, but is delivered in a palatable, economical package. It has a sleek, modern design with a chrome, tubular shape, which brings a unique, peculiar style that is interesting to look at, while not being intrusive or a perpetual eye-sore. Some might say that it’s downright futuristic, looking as if it’s a broken-off piece of a starship.
Once set up, you’ll notice they are stylish with an aluminum finish that is minimalist, while also appearing modern. Their design allows for the speakers to be placed horizontally or, if you like, vertically. This gives the speakers an adaptability that allows you to place them wherever you wish so as to either hide or showcase the speakers.
This is a rare feature when it comes to surround sound systems as they often come with loads of wires and equipment (see equalizers). This speaker system allows you the option to showcase or hide while not being hideous in design or bombarding you with lights and colors.
It houses a built-in subwoofer that elevates your audio’s bass and fills out your sound with 25W. The bass is adjustable and can be used to prop up the sometimes tinny sound from the satellites. It also produces strong base while not being a boxy monstrosity like some square subwoofers on other systems.
The twin satellites that come with the system will provide you with ample sound of 6W each and are magnetically shielded so as to prevent any and all noise interference and disturbance to your monitor. This makes the system a great choice if you’re looking for something with big power and are using a PC that you don’t want to be damaged.
The satellites are rather uniform in their composition, coming in at 63 x 143 x 63mm. The sub, however quirky in its oblong construction, measures a peculiar 374 x 149 x 183mm. Again, this can either be a pro or con depending on how attractive a design you believe it to be.
The Sony 2.1’s also posses a control panel that allows you to adjust volume and bass, along with two input ports which give you the option to plug in anything from an iPod, iPhone, PC, or any notebook/Mac device. And for those wanting to keep the volume to themselves, there’s a headphone jack. As is commonly found with Sony, the satellites house two small drivers that have substantial weight. This does not feel like a cheap product. As sometimes found with competitors, speakers in this price range can feel hollow and inexpensive. This is not the case with this system.
As far as sound evaluation, the Sony 2.1 speakers offer a crisp sound with high tone capability, as well as resonate clarity. If you’re looking for a system to elevate your laptop, this is a strong choice. Propped up by a booming subwoofer, the system as a whole stands out. However, the problems with the system’s capabilities lie in its ability to balance the sound out unaccompanied, in what is known as mid-range. This weakness is clearly seen when the system is used as the primary output for movies or television.
The voices will sound distant and muffled if used for anything dialog heavy. Increasing the volume will not completely fix this issue as it will distort the voices and music. Much toggling is needed to assist this. In this case, sometimes turning up the bass can help the problem, but it quickly becomes a game of toggling to determine the appropriate levels for the appropriate use.
Limited mid-range capability is excruciatingly noticeable when listening to music at lower volumes. The percussion consumes the recording and drowns out instrumentation, becoming somewhat of a distorted mess. That is to be expected in the system of this price point. This problem seeps into other areas of use such as gaming where gunshots and explosions will tend to sound very superficial and paper thin. Scenes on battlefields or sports games can blur together into a continuous fuzz, offering no balance and a wall of indistinguishable sound.
While music may be the speaker’s strong suit, they do not appear to be the most versatile option. Songs with more production and instrumentation may blend together, and you may find yourself missing certain instruments in the recording. Such is the case with systems of this wattage. Luckily, these weaknesses are more than made up for with the system’s overall sound output. The sound can easily fill out a room if they’re being used casually for listening to music from your iPod or computer. Once toggled with, and given time to blend, these issues become less noticeable.
There is a flair to the design, and while that might not be for everybody, they are able to be hidden with relative ease, and there is no question that they supply strong output. As far as this class of speaker goes, the Sony 2.1’s will give you a strong output; you’ll just need to tamper with them a bit.
Various outlets, like Fry’s or Best Buy, will offer these speakers for that prices, but if you’re bargain hunting, eBay has various sellers who are willing to part for a bit less.
If some of the sound capabilities are a turnoff, and you’re looking for something with more power, you may want to consider raising your budget. In this case, you may consider something with a full-blown equalizer. If you’re looking for a system that can hook up to a turntable, I would discourage you from purchasing this surround sound system. Something with higher wattage and in a higher price point would be a more suitable choice. This system is much better for the casual listener who does so on a computer.
Upon further examination of the system’s competitors, this appears to be middling pricing but is of the higher-end as far as the value. Many systems of this price range will either be unable to supply substantial sound or are unproven in being long-lasting, durable systems. So if you’re looking for premium sound but at a higher-end bargain price, then the Sony 2.1’s are relatively what you should be looking for.
How it Compares
To give you an idea of what the competition is, and what options sit before you, we’re hand selected several options that share similar pricing.
The Sony 2.1 Speakers
- Target total output power: 25W Satellite: 2.5W+2.5W Sub-woofer: 20W
- Kelton type speaker system for sub-woofer Powerful bass sound yet compact size
- Suitable for DVD / game entertainment
Logitech Speaker system Z323
- Immersive Logitech 360-degree sound for crystal-clear, room-filling audio
- Ported, down-firing subwoofer delivers deep, rich bass. Satellites(height x width x depth): 8.3 x 3.4 x 4.5 inches
- RCA and 3.5 millimeter inputs for easy connections to gaming console, DVD player or iPod
Logitech offers clear sound with a down-firing subwoofer that delivers a rich bass. There are RCA and 3.5 mm inputs for easy connections. The satellites have dimensions of 8.3" x 3.4" x 4.5" in. The speakers come in a sleek black color and offer a 360-degree sound that is crystal clear. The 30W of power produce a big, bold sound that offers a full range.
The system itself weighs 8 lbs but can feel slightly hollowed out and cheap. It comes with black cables that extend to almost three feet, along with a single volume control on the right speaker that also serves as an on/off control for the speaker system.
Unfortunately, there is only a single adjustable switch in the back of the subwoofer to adjust the bass. And while there is no switch for the treble, if you hook this up to your computer, the treble can be adjusted from there.
Edifier R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers
- 24 WATTS RMS POWER OUTPUT - Active bookshelf speaker system with 24W total power output with calibrated, flared bass...
- CLASSIC WOOD FINISH - 100% wooden enclosures to minimize acoustic resonance, Magnetically shielded speakers
- CABLES INCLUDED - RCA and 3.5mm cables and speaker wire included. Universal 110V-240V power supply.
The Edifier’s posses 24W total power and are calibrated with a flared bass in front. RCA and 3.5mm cables are included along with speaker wire, offering universal 110V-240V power supply. The system can easily connect to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output.
The system has a unique wood finish enclosure that minimizes acoustic resonance. While these may not be best for a table top, they fit snugly on a bookshelf or an area with more space. They are a well-rounded system that is full of presence and depth that are fairly rich in detail for their size. They are considered active speakers, so there is no preamp needed, there is one built inside of them. Multiple input sources can be used, and these speakers can easily stand up to them.
While the system looks like something more substantial than average computer speakers, they will work for anything as small as a laptop. The system comes with a 2-year warranty with guaranteed high quality and reliability with hassle-free parts and labor.
GOgroove BassPULSE 2.1 Speakers
- POWERFUL 2.1 SOUND QUALITY WITH BOOMING SUBWOOFER : Satellite channel speakers and bass heavy sub woofer stream audio...
- VOLUME & BASS CONTROLS: Adjust the sound on the Full-range 5 watt satellite speakers & side-firing 10 watt subwoofer...
- GLOWING BLUE LED ACCENT LIGHTS: Bright lights provide bold flare and pulse to the beat of the music when the bass...
The BassPULSE 2.1 offers a strong subwoofer with 40W of power. The satellite channel speakers and bass heavy sub that can stream audio from any device with a 3.5mm cable.
It can easily fill a room with its output. The satellites speakers are full range, and it has a side firing subwoofer with front-loaded volume control which optimizes the powerful bass that can surprise you. If you’re looking to build a game center, then this is more the system for you. The overall wattage is nice, and you’ll get a good mixture of sound in the mid-range and higher volumes that can eventuate play on a battlefield. With a 10W sub, you’ll feel blasts and bombs with convincing power.
The design is unique as well with bright blue lights that provide bold color and supply stylish flair. The lights pulse and blink along with the music being amplified to add an interesting, unique aesthetic. GOgroove Speakers offer a strong warranty of 3-years, so there is ample protection here.
Overall if you’re looking for a quality speaker system that can fill the room, along with unique design, the Sony 2.1 speakers are an admirable choice.
Bottom line: for the price that these are offered at, and the company which is offering them, it is a price point that is hard to beat. The Sony 2.1 speakers can handle a myriad of demands and meet, maybe even exceed your expectations.