Genius, maker of PC products and accessories, recently sent me a pair of their latest speakers – the SP-U115 Colorful USB Powered Stereo Speakers. At first glance, these aren’t exactly the type of accessories you think of in high end gaming. But then again, there’s more to life than gaming.
My SP-U115 speakers arrived in a small 5”x6” box (these aren’t exactly large speakers). Opening the box I was greeted to 2 very cute bubble-wrapped speakers and 1 quickstart user manual. The first thing I noticed while holding these little noisemakers is that their appearance is rather pleasing, or as I put it earlier – cute.
Another thing I noticed is their construction. I’ve used a fair bit of cheap speakers in my time and one common theme I’ve noticed over time is cheap construction. The SP-U115 look fairly sturdy and don’t rattle when I shake them (not that you would want to be doing that anyway, but you get the point).
With everything unboxed, it’s time to run some tests.
TEST 1: DESKTOP PC – QUIET ROOM
Sitting at a computer it only makes sense that my first trial of the Genius SP-U115 speakers come out of my office. Hooking these puppies up is a snap. I simply swap out the green audio cable on my PC and plug in the USB plug for power. Now to load up Steam!
First up, I load up P.A.M. Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, a racing game with lots of explosions and crashing. This game relies heavily on bass in its sound mix and the SP-U115 just don’t do it justice. The bass sounds muddy and flat. Mids and highs sound fine however.
Next, I load up Torchlight II, a game with more ambient music and atmosphere. This game seems to have more within the mids and so sound output is better balanced through the SP-U115. Not bad.
Now, on to some music. I put on the latest from The Killers – Battle Born – and crank it up! Overall, sound is pretty decent even at higher volumes. The highs are a little flat and the bass isn’t as prominent so everything seems to get squeezed into the middle. It’s not as annoying as I expected it to be (and definitely better than my old beat box from the 80’s). Turning the volume down to a more reasonable level, the sound quality became much better.
TEST 2: GARAGE PLAYER – ECHO ROOM
Next, I moved the speakers over to the garage where I have my Zune (yes, I said, “my ZUNE”) hooked up to a pair of no name cheap speakers. The SP-U115 speakers require a USB power source to operate. If you don’t have one available you can buy a USB to Power adapter plug for less than $10.
I play a few choice selections from Van Halen, U2, and AC/DC. Because the garage is more echo-y the highs are emphasized much more. Every clash of the cymbals sound louder than they should be. Bass is largely non-existent in the garage as well. Mids and vocals sound fine. I suppose a bass/treble control on the side would have remedied some of this. Alas, you only get volume control.
With a low price tag, Genius’ SP-U115 speakers do more then hold their own against similarly priced speakers. As an audiophillie, they won’t hold a candle to my Creative GigaWorks T20 (which are now beginning to show their age), but that’s ok. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast (yet decent) audio solution, or merely want monitor speakers, you can’t go wrong with the SP-U115. Their compact size and design lets you place them anywhere without cluttering your desktop, and they’re definitely NOT an eyesore. Pick up a set from Amazon today!
Total RMS output: 1.5 watts
Total peak power: 3 watts
Power supplied by USB port from desktop/notebook
Selected 50x50 mm speakers for clear sound
Glossy front panel
Works great with any computer system using a standard 3.5mm audio plug
Compatible with Win7, Vista, XP, Mac 10.0 or above