As much as they try to pretend otherwise with their Hi-Fi audio appearance the Sony SRS DB500 are PC speakers through and through or, at a pinch, a ridiculously over the top outlet for the tunes on your portable audio player. They’re great for gaming, but you will do them a better justice pumping out some bass-heavy tunes and making use of the generously sized sub that makes up about 90% of the volume of the package.
The base unit isn’t all sub, however, it contains the amplifier too, which kicks out 75watts of power to the, comparatively diminutively sized satellites.
In keeping with all the best lavishly styled audio gear, the SRS DB500 is generously endowed with LEDs. They are arranged in a radial pattern around the enormous volume knob and respond to the audio with a selection of attractive, user selectable patterns. If you’re a fan of computer setups bristling with LEDs (I used to be back in the days when I used a PC with an airplane cockpit array of LED-lit Saitek peripherals hanging off it) then the SRS DB500 will certainly be a welcome addition.
The SRS DB500 comes with a little remote for adjusting the volume, tone, and LED pattern from across the room. The ability to adjust the bass/treble independently is something that audio purists will scoff at, but those of us who unashamedly enjoy a bit of crap, head-pounding music now and then can crank up the bass to make the most of it.
In terms of sound, the SRS DB500 responds well across my esoteric collection of music, delivering some excellent bass response without compromising on the fidelity- a welcome benefit of a 2.1 setup compared to simple 2.0 which is almost always a compromise. As always I challenged it with a bit of Karsh Kale’s “Distance,” a track with a lush, complex baseline blended with a complex array of high and middling sounds. On my laptop, for a particularly poor comparison, typically only two of the higher end baseline notes are even audible. The SRS DB500, of course, reproduced the entire spectrum.
The DB500 also has a headphone-out port, but doesn’t act as a particularly good pre-amp. In fact you’re likely going to want any half decent pair of headphones directly plugged in to your computer.
Overall, the Sony SRS DB500 is a good set of 2.1 speakers that will trample on lower priced non-competition, however it has stiff competition from the likes of Logitech and their Z-2300 which seem to come in the same around £110-£140 price bracket as the DB500.