This view was confirmed by a quick session on Army of Two: The 40th Day. I’m not a huge fan of the game, but if you want mindless violence, this does it, and the cacophony of shotgun blasts, machine-gun fire and shouting was enough to have my better half hammering on the door and threatening all kinds of unpleasant repercussions if that racket did not STOP RIGHT NOW! This, frankly, is exactly the sort of thing that you buy a really big set of 2.1 speakers for.
It’s a similar tale with movies. I don’t think I’d want to have the SRS-DB500s set up to watch, say, Sense and Sensibility or Mamma Mia (you'd want to watch Mamma Mia at all? - ed), but with Terminator: Salvation in the PS3 and the sound cranked up the system’s no-holds-batted, belt-it-out approach has real appeal. With the satellites less than three feet from you the sensation is akin to being in a post-apocalyptic warzone. In fact, were you in a real post-apocalyptic warzone, there would probably be less danger of your ears falling off.
Still, as you might have gathered from the first paragraph, this is both the strength and weakness of this system. The SRS-DB500s sound okay with the volume dialled down, but they really only sound good with the volume turned up to midway or above. The problem is that once you have the volume turned up midway or above, you’ll lose your hearing and everyone in the vicinity will hate you. For a pair of desktop speakers this doesn’t necessarily make an awful lot of sense, and – were I spending my own money with a continuing interest in co-habiting with my nearest and dearest – I’d be more tempted to go with something a little more precise, versatile and not quite so noisy, like Creative’s GigaWorks T3 set or the 2.0 GigaWorks T20/T40 systems.
The SRS-DB500s actually seem more sensible if used with a console to replace under-powered TV speakers, but here I’d counsel you to see if you can track down the aforementioned Altec Lansing MX5021 or Logitech Z2300 sets, which to my mind produce slightly better results. The SRS-DB500s are still amongst the best gaming speakers I’ve ever come across, but sometimes you have to ask yourself: is this much power a good thing? Some buried, boyish part of me still thinks so, but another part of me is not so sure.
Big, beefy, somewhat brash speakers with the right credentials for big action games and movies. However, this isn’t the most musical or versatile system out there, and it’s arguably too damn loud for desktop use.