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Somewhere out there in the UK, there’s a new group of people that deserve our sympathy. They’re not bound together by any class, religious or ethnic ties. They’re not linked by job, company or hobby, nor do they follow a common team, band, artist or icon. You won’t even find them all within a given county, city or suburb. Nope. All these poor devils have in common is that they’re unlucky enough to live within hearing distance of someone with a set of Sony SRS-DB500 speakers. Whether they own the house next door or rent the flat upstairs, they’re never going to know real peace and quiet again.
These babies are monsters; two satellite speakers dishing out a whopping 75W per channel, backed up by one big brute of a subwoofer packing a mighty 150W RMS. Powered by an S-Master digital amplifier, this is a hideously powerful desktop speaker system. And let’s remember that as we go on; these are speakers designed to sit within a few feet of you on your desk, not distribute sound throughout your living room. If you want a set of these you’re either after speakers that can pack a Tyson-strength punch or you’re so deaf already that nothing else will do the job.
It’s no surprise that this is – literally – a heavyweight system, with the package as a whole clocking in at a mighty 10Kg, give or take 100g here or there. What is a surprise is how much of this weight is down to the sub. The satellites are solidly constructed units roughly 14cm wide, 20cm high and 10cm deep, but they’re actually quite light, weighing in at a mere 700g each. With a 2.5in cone and a bass-port they’re designed to handle the high-end, mid-range and some low-end frequencies, providing a smooth crossover with the sub, but on first acquaintance I wasn’t particularly hopeful. Compare the Sony satellites to the satellites supplied with, say, Altec Lansing’s superb MX5021 set or Logitech’s Z2300 system, then take the bog-standard, bell-wire cabling into account and you don’t come away with much faith that the SRS-DB500 will do its job,
The Subwoofer, however, inspires more confidence. It weighs in at a back-busting 8.5Kg (bend the knees when you stick it underneath your desk!) and, as mentioned earlier, incorporates an S-Master digital amplifier, as found in Sony’s more conventional Hi-Fi and home cinema kit. The 160mm driver at the end of the bass port looks formidable, and nor is it the only thing that does. As with the SRS-GD50iP system we looked at last week, Sony’s engineers have decided to get busy with the illuminations, placing a ring of red light around the large volume knob at the top of the system. Not only does this work as a volume indicator, it also throbs and revolves in time to the music or sound effects your listening to, with three different effects that you can select using the bundled IR remote control (which was sadly missing from my review sample).