Sony SRS-DB500 2.1 speakers review

Reviews
Published 
21 Mar 2010
Sony SRS-DB500 2.1 speaker kit
Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
195
inc VAT

Sony’s SRS-DB500 look impressive but don’t sound quite good enough to justify its high price.

Page 1 of 2Sony SRS-DB500 2.1 speakers review

Specifications

Sony’s SRS-DB500 has a smart looking subwoofer. It looks huge, but is actually fairly light. The illuminated dial on the front isn’t just for show – it grows brighter the more you boost the bass, treble or volume using either the knobs on the subwoofer itself or on the wireless remote control.

The subwoofer only has phono input connectors, which aren’t commonly found on most computers, but a phono-to-3.5mm adaptor is included in the box, so connecting your PC won’t be a problem. The cables connecting the satellites to the subwoofer are only 1m long, which limits how far away you can place them from your computer. As with other Sony speakers, the cables can be extended, although their proprietary Sony connectors makes this relatively hard and expensive to do so.

The bass was deep, rich, thumping and focussed, which made listening to most bass-heavy music, such as rock or drum and bass tracks, a pleasure – especially at volumes loud enough to annoy the neighbours. We suspect this is at least partially due to the large size of the subwoofer.

Both vocals and instruments in pop tracks sounded clear and detailed with no hint of muddiness. The high end can sound harsh, which is surprising since some cheaper 2.1 sets, including Sony’s own SRS-GD50iP, don’t suffer from this issue. Jazz, blues and classical pieces all sound reasonably detailed, but high-pitched sounds produced by percussion and string instruments can sound harsh and piercing. It’s immediately noticeable and can spoil the enjoyment of many tracks.

We had high hopes for the SRS-DB500, if only because of its high price. Unfortunately, while it flatters some genres of music very well, especially bass-heavy music, its harsh-sounding high end spoils others. This unbalanced sound is disappointing at this price – we’d expect much more well-rounded audio quality for speakers that cost this much. The short proprietary cabling is a nuisance too. Its unbalanced sound and high price detract heavily from this set and Logitech's X-230 is a much better buy.

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