Im not what you would call
a "golden ear." I love my audio as much as the next guy, and I appreciate the
difference between stereo and surround sound, but I dont subscribe to Stereophile
and I dont spend all my money on the Crutchfield catalog. I like an audio deal. And
big bass. Thats why I like Labtecs new three-piece speaker set specifically
designed for console game systems.
Two tiny little speaks and a subwoofer is what you
get in the Surge-17 box. Well, some assorted cables, which well get to, but
its a pretty basic package. The instruction manual is a slim sheet, and thats
about all you need. Attach the color-coded cables to the appropriate spots, and
youre in business. Your audio out from the console system plugs right into the
cables that go to the speakers. Within minutes, youll be set up and blaring your new
The cables arent the longest, so youll be positioning these speakers pretty
close to your monitor or TV. Also, the video out from your console still needs to plug
into your TV or monitor, so that hinders overall system placement as well. But if
youre using a set of speakers like this, then youre upgrading from just
listening to your games through the TV speaker. You dont have to worry about having
a receiver or any kind of stereo system; in fact if you do have an existing stereo setup
these wont work with it because the speakers are powered on their own. The cables
are long enough to let you get some decent distance between right and left speakers.
The speakers sound great for the most part. The bass bumps, and the highs come out
crystal clear. That is, until you get the thing really cranked up. The volume switch is on
one of the small speakers, and lacks any number or identification of just how loud they
are turned up, but I would guess that one you get around 8 or 9 on the volume level you
begin to hear some significant crackle. It seems like the speakers are overpowered by
their own amplifier. While the audio breakup at the top end of the volume scale is
unfortunate, it by no means ruins the speakers. You can get them quite loud without
experiencing any crackle, and at normal operating levels they sound great.
Overall, this setup is perfect if youre sick of listening to tinny TV speakers.
The Surge-17 kit is great for houses where the gaming system is not connected to the main
stereo, possibly in a bedroom or rec room situtation. These are really little more than a
good set of PC speakers that have the cables to connect to your console system, which is
great for gamers without the home theater budget. At $50 the Surge-17 is priced right,
too. And if you purchase a set of RCA cables, you can plug these speakers into just about
any A/V device (VCR, DVD player, etc). If youre in an audio bind, check them out.