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by Labtec

I’m 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 don’t subscribe to Stereophile and I don’t spend all my money on the Crutchfield catalog. I like an audio deal. And big bass. That’s why I like Labtec’s 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 we’ll get to, but it’s a pretty basic package. The instruction manual is a slim sheet, and that’s about all you need. Attach the color-coded cables to the appropriate spots, and you’re in business. Your audio out from the console system plugs right into the cables that go to the speakers. Within minutes, you’ll be set up and blaring your new setup.

The cables aren’t the longest, so you’ll 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 you’re using a set of speakers like this, then you’re upgrading from just listening to your games through the TV speaker. You don’t have to worry about having a receiver or any kind of stereo system; in fact if you do have an existing stereo setup these won’t 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 you’re 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 you’re in an audio bind, check them out.

Shawn Rider


Ups: Nice sound; super easy setup; all-in-one kit, no extras needed; great price.

Downs: Cords should be longer; some audio crackle when cranked to 10.

System Reqs:
Works with any console game system (and a few other A/V devices, too, if you buy a cable).


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