Logitech's SoundMan SR-30
Minimum System Requirements
PC W/ 4-Channel Sound Card
The hills are alive...
Since Slimer, Egon and the rest of the gang came by to exterminate the last batch of ghosts and other supernatural apparitions haunting the GR office (by the way, we ain't afraid of no ghost), we have had little by way of scapegoats to blame for our poor Counter-Strike records. All the ammunition we have left in our artillery of finger pointing is speed cheaters, the ubiquitous blurting of "My team must suck!" and a fatally unsophisticated 2-set speaker system. Since speed cheater defenestration is unjustly illegal and the teams we play with will forever suck, we decided to attack the problem from the speaker end. So we enlisted the aid of our friends over at Logitech.
Their assistance came in the form of a 4-speaker, 1 subwoofer setup called the SoundMan SR-30. At first glance, the SR-30 looks like your average modestly priced 4-speaker system. But after you easily connect the speakers together and introduce the system to the ports on your sound card, you will quickly realize that you are dealing with an excellent sounding, high-end/low-cost audio system.
The SoundMan SR-30 comes with a space-saving subwoofer, a handy remote volume control with headphone jack, the surround-sound 4-channel speakers and a relatively decent software bundle.
The included bundle is oddly titled Soundmobile.com, and it's nearly the same as those we have seen shipping with some of the more recent sound cards. I don't know how many copies of Muscimatch Jukebox, Kool Karaoke and Music Maker one person can have, but I know I have too many. Thankfully, Logitech has included a few other programs, like Dance Maker, Audio Pix and QCreator. While this isn't the best software bundle I've seen, it definitely gives you a variety of ways to really push this system to its limits.
We've tested these babies with several games (Serious Sam, Counter-Strike, Clive Barker's Undying, Rune etc.). The SoundMan SR-30 brought a brand new experience to each one. The "cling-clang" of weapons in Rune, the deep bass from grenades and other explosions in Counter-Strike and the dramatic Carmina Burana-esque music from Clive Barker's Undying were all sharp, clear as crystal and a feast for the ears. It's amazing how these little puppies help to immerse you in your favorite games. You feel like you're right in the middle of the action.
This is especially true if you can manage to set up the speakers appropriately to receive full surround sound pleasure. Unfortunately, the SoundMan SR-30 offers little help when it comes to speaker placement, as no speaker stands are supplied. Instead you get some very small, nearly useless wall mounting brackets, which require you to drill holes in your walls to properly mount the speakers. I would have much preferred two stands for the rear speakers. Heck, tack on another 10 or 15 bucks if need be. I'd pay $80 to $85 for this set with solid speaker stands, no doubt.
The speaker set not only works on your computer, but it can also be used with your portable CD player, television or DVD player. If you're so inclined, you could connect these to your TV and enjoy stereo surround sound for all your favorite movies and all your other video game consoles. That's right - play Dreamcast Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 in full surround sound. Now that's cool.
Retailing for the affordable $69.99, this quartet is a no-brainer. You get 4 great compact speakers, a pounding subwoofer and a handy remote volume control. Sure, there are higher-end, better sounding and more expensive speakers out there. But for the money and the sound quality, you can't go wrong with the SoundMan SR-30.