Sony SRS-DB500 PC Speakers - Sony SRS-DB500

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Luminous 'bling' aside, the controls are simple, with an on/off switch, an input selector and two bass and treble buttons which toggle the volume control between master volume and bass/treble volume respectively. The one area where Sony has gone a bit light is on the sockets. Beyond the two non-standard connectors for the satellite speakers, we get a pair of stereo phono inputs for the main source at the back, plus a single 3.5mm auxiliary input and a headphone socket. This makes a certain amount of sense if you’re hooking up a games console, media player or Blu-Ray/DVD player as your main source, but it’s weird to hook up a set of desktop PC speakers to your PC using the slightly messy auxiliary input at the front.

Note that mention of hooking up a games console, however, because games and movies are where the SRS-DB500 system’s strengths lie. It’s not that Sony has produced a bad system for listening to music; far from it. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of clarity and detail produced by those underwhelming satellites, and with punchy, pop or rock material the output really isn’t bad at all. The system creates a fine, wide soundstage with great positioning, and both Radiohead’s There, There and Massive Attacks Inertia Creeps sounded brilliant, with good instrument separation and lots of impact.

However, the more music – and the more varied the music – you listen to, the more you become aware of the system’s limitations. There’s sibilance to cymbals and a boxed-in note on jazz piano, brass or orchestral strings. Vocals and acoustic guitars sound great, but listen to something more complex or dynamic and the sound takes on an odd, processed edge.

Most of all the bass, while powerful, isn’t actually that well defined. That cavernous bass you come across in so many Massive Attack tracks works well, but the acoustic bass in the Bill Evans Trio’s working of Some Day My Prince Will Come lacks focus. Too Far from your Weapon, my highlight of The Dead Weather’s Horehound, has a swampy atmosphere, but the lack of precision translates to a lack of bite.

Plug in your PS3 and put in a game, however, and it’s a very different story. I took the SRS-DB500s for a quick spin through THQ’s heavy metal take on Zelda, Darksiders, and the results were incredible, the mighty blade of the game’s anti-hero, War, slicing through zombie flesh and demon bone with a heroically gory chop and crunch sound, while the noise of wind, distant moans and ambient gurgling created an incredibly immersive experience. If – like me – you spend more of your gaming time sat in front of a desktop monitor than in front of a TV, then the SRS-DB500s are easily good enough to make you wonder whether surround sound isn’t over-rated.

ilovethemonkeyhead

January 27, 2010, 11:08 am

that last picture really puts into perspective how big that sub really is:





OH MY ****ING GOD THAT THING IS HUGE!!!1

morsch

January 27, 2010, 6:49 pm

What an engineering failure. Overpowered and with an absurd subwoofer that's probably larger than most people's desktop PC. Who in their right mind would buy this? Oh but it's got a light that "throbs and revolves in time to the music," well in that case, I'll buy two.

Gareth 4

January 27, 2010, 8:16 pm

It's very very ugly in my opinion :/

J4cK1505

January 27, 2010, 9:48 pm

At first, I thought I had found my next speakers reading this, they within my new price range and look the part, but it soon became apparent that they are overkill. (Allthough that really wouldn't bother me while I'm blasting away at the Helghast)

StuAndrews

January 27, 2010, 10:28 pm

To be fair, J4cK, you could do a lot worse if you want to do some blasting. I admit I really enjoyed whacking up the volume and battling away. For a lot of desktops, though, the charge of overkill isn't entirely undeserved.

J4cK1505

January 28, 2010, 4:22 am

@StuAndrews, firstly, great review mate! I gather these are a really good set of speakers and I could do far far worse. I have my PS3 and gaming PC side by side sharing speakers and monitor. The Sony SRS-DB500 sound absolutely ideal for games and action films, but I listen to alot of varied music and the types of films I watch most often wouldn't benefit too much from the huge bass and lack of quality at lower volumes. While I would usually never say no to extra power and thump, I get all the thump I need from my Sony SRSD211.CEK! This is because my bedroom is Tiny! (about the size of 3 single beds side by side) Yea :/





I don't know, I'm sure these a great either way I might actually buy them unless you can recommend some other 2.1's for around £100. (Needs multiple inputs) a second Aux will do





Yes I have asked before about this but now I've upped my price range a little :)So if you can be bothered your help would be very much appreciated

ffrankmccaffery

January 28, 2010, 4:50 pm

@J4cK1505; if you can do without a sub, Creative's GigaWorks T40 are a great choice and for well under £100 too

J4cK1505

January 28, 2010, 6:17 pm

@ffrankmccaffery yea thanks, I have allready taken a look at these and I gather that these are great quality speakers but maybe I'm deluded but I think a sub is a nessasity. At this rate im going to end up spending around 3 times my initial budget! haha I might take a look at something in the £150 range, I mean otherwise my money will just go on beer!

Martin

January 28, 2010, 7:10 pm

Proper ugly charver speakers, them. I'm another happy GigaWorks T40 owner.

stranded

January 28, 2010, 10:20 pm

"Subtle these speakers are not; but who wants subtlety anyway?"


I want it anytime, anyhow, anywhere. They can not reproduce the "texture" of sound, extremely low resolution, metal sounds like tin can.


"it’s arguably too damn loud for desktop use"


I find their max output level perfect for any use. Neighbors will be annoyed by pure huge distortion only.

richtan

May 1, 2010, 7:35 am

The law of physic states that one cannot get a good bass without a bigger box to house the woofer. So one cannot get good bass and don't want a bigger box. Two, sounds abrasive ? There is a proven concept known as 'burn in" in hi fi. After about 50 hours of usage, the mids and highs become more musical and non abrasive. It gets better and better with usage. Best multi media speakers in the world ? There is no such an animal or object. But this set of computer speakers and several others by different manufacturers come close.

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