One thing I have always been REALLY into has been the sounds of a game; I really mean it. Nothing can pull together the gaming experience quite like a good set of headphones, or speakers. Let’s face it, sound can make or break your experience while gaming. It has been a while since we reviewed any sound stuff, and thankfully Genius really came through and sent us out their new Cubed Speaker system for the PC.
We put these little speakers to a real hardcore vigorous test for this review. Here is how we will break it down: Specs, Setup and Installation, Music Quality, and then Game Quality. So let’s get to it!
|Output Power||4watts RMS (with 10% THD)|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||70dB|
|Speaker Drivers||50x50mm, 4ohm|
|Dimensions||143 x 108 x 128mm|
Explanation – For those of you, who do not understand the above lingo; let me break it down for you.
The “Output Power” relates to how many watts flows continuously while something is happening. RMS is the terminology used for this, and it’s the most important; at least in relation to the figure next to it called “THD”. Total Harmonic Distortion in this case relates to that at the 4watts RMS, there is a reading of 10% Total Harmonic Distortion happening. In a nutshell, THD is a measurement of signal between the amplifier (4watts RMs), and the input and there you have it; THD is essentially the difference between the two.
Signal to Noise Ratio is not as tricky; I am sure everyone sees the term “dB” used on every piece of audio and it stands for “decibel”. Roughly this translates to the amount of noise it can (cleanly) produce. Most home theater systems produce in between 60-80dB level, which is pretty loud. Also, your average football PA system puts out 120-160dB.
Speaker Drivers is well how big the speakers are. Honestly, I would not get too concerned by this, as for a PC system you more than likely do not care how big they are, but how good they sound.
Frequency Response, you should understand this if you have taken basic science.
These little bad boys (or girls) are as simple as it can get; as with most it is just as straight as plug and play operation. All you have to do is plug in the appropriate audio jack into the green audio connection on your motherboard, then plug in the USB into any USB 2.0 port. Really, isn’t that really simple?
Aside from gaming, one of the things we all love to do is listen to music on your laptops / desktops. Good speakers –again- make all of the difference, and these little things actually impressed me. We played a variety of music, to see at what levels (volume) they played best at. To start off this we put the volume knob in between 0-25% and then moved it up as we went along. To note, the volume on the computer always stayed the same as the knob on the speaker itself for testing.
As you can see, at 0-25% Volume Level, music quality was actually pretty good. Here is the thing though, I sat roughly 1-2ft away from them at all times to replicate how a person would have them setup in their own home. Out of all the songs we played from the genres, “Tainted Love” easily performed the best, with stellar quality; offering some nice lows, and clear highs. Of course, The Animals “House of the Rising Sun” performed almost as well, but not quite as good.
26-50% Volume Level performed just the same as lower levels and quality was still good, but not as good as lower levels.
At 51-75% Volume Level, things started to not pan out as well as I had hoped, and this is where THD% really comes into play. You begin to notice distortion in the music that was not there to begin with, often times becoming a nuisance. However, “Tainted Loved” still performed rather well, taking only a 3% dip in quality from the last volume level.
Of course at 76-100% things just kind of made me hang my head. We experienced the FULL 10%THD with 2 out of the 4 songs; the heavy metal “Endzeit” and rap of “North Carolina”. “Tainted Love” and “House of the Rising Sun” performed admirably throughout the entire testing phase and left me surprised. Not to mention, they got quite LOUD.
Here is the most important phase (for us) and that is putting it through the gaming phase. Games have heavily evolved from the 8-bit sound they used to be, and we are taking full advantage of it. This test will not be like the last one, but instead various tests / game ranging from Gun Fire, to Dialogue and measuring the quality as a whole at 100% volume.
First up was In-Game Ambience; more or less it was the sounds of the game such as birds, or background stuff (all music was turned off for tests).
Crysis 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3 performed the best in this category with perfect 100s. Honestly these things picked up on every detail, and everything I wanted to hear in the game.
Dialogue is a HUGE part of games, and if you cannot hear clearly as to what they are saying then it is pointless. For this test we replaced Tribes: Ascend with Deus Ex: Human Revolutions as it is a very heavy dialogue game. Sure enough, Deus Ex and Assassin’s Creed III beat out everything including Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 which sounded decent, but not good enough.
Explosions (????? TORGUE!) are a key to sound, and the front runner for this one was ultimately Assassin’s Creed III with the explosion while using your boat. Wow is all I can say, it sounded perfect! Black Ops 2 followed closely as well, as grenades sounded terrific.
Finally we come to the most IMPORTANT key to First-Person Shooters… Gunfire. I will be honest; no game had the chance to compete with Frostbite on this one. Battlefield 3 took the cake, with no questions from the get-go. The weapons sounded fantastic, clear and just the right amount of bass.
Honestly, the Genius SP-D150 Cubed Speakers are a fantastic addition to any gamer’s arsenal. Sure it is not 5.1 or 7.1 or 3940.219032 but who cares? These little things have beaten out most of the 5.1’s I have used in my days. I highly recommend you guys pick these up, and they are only $15-$20!!!!!!!