GX Gaming SW2.1 2000 Review: Versatile HTPC Gaming Speakers

By Published January 31, 2015 at 11:25 am

Additional Info

  • Component: Audio
  • Awards: Editor's Choice
  • Original MSRP: 96
  • Manufacturer: Genius

In studies distributed by DFC Intelligence, we've learned that approximately half of all PC gamers use a headset for audio while gaming. Even in that user group, there's an undefined overlap of speaker users. Headsets offer microphone input and positional audio that can be advantageous to quick and accurate reactions to in-game events – footsteps being the easy example – but not all games have competitive demands. Speakers offer a versatility and quality that cannot be offered by the average gaming headset, ensuring that high-quality sound systems retain relevance even in gaming environments.

We've had a chance to look over Genius' GX Gaming 2.1 2000 ($96) speaker system, including a control hub and 29W subwoofer. The unit was deployed on our gaming HTPC, a high-end living room home-theater setup that demands speaker versatility and ease-of-use. The test setup had Genius' 2.1 speakers connected to a TV/PC, turntable (record player), game console, and line-in MP3 player all simultaneously.

In this review of Genius' GX Gaming SW-G2.1 2000 speakers, we'll evaluate audio quality, gaming performance, and overall setup and configuration options.

A Note on the Reviewer's Audio Preferences

As with all audio, use cases for speakers are very subjective. For purposes of this review, I'll note that I use speakers for music throughout almost the entire day, the only exception being about an hour a day when I'm using a headset for gaming. I'll stick to speakers for games that do not require positional acuity or microphone input, like Trials Fusion or Skyrim.

My music tastes are varied, but I run all speakers through a suite of “favorite songs” so that I can more objectively analyze the output of various instruments and vocals.

Genius GX Gaming SW-G2.1 2000 45W Speaker System Specs

Model GX Gaming SW-G2.1 2000
Units 2x Satellite Speakers
1x Subwoofer
1x Mixer
Driver Spec Satellite: 3" high-excursion metallic drivers
Subwoofer: 6.5" pressure driver
Frequency Response 25Hz - 20KHz
Output Power 45W RMS
(Subwoofer - 29W RMS)
(Satellite - 2x8W RMS)
MSRP ~$96

The box ships with 2x8W satellite speakers, each equipped with a 3” (76mm) high-excursion metallic driver. The satellite speakers are mercifully not concatenated, like many speaker setups, and are wired independently to allow greater mobility. Genius' satellite speakers on our review model use a Corsair-like shiny blue covering over the driver, affording style without being visually offensive.

Included in the box is also a subwoofer, equipped with a 6.5” backlit pressure driver. Like most larger subwoofers, the pressure output is strong enough that air can be felt evacuating the box with each resonant “boom.”

Aside from the driver-equipped boxes, Genius also includes a central control hub that serves as switch for line-in, 3.5mm out, microphone, and 2xRCA connections. This allows for at least three primary devices to be connected at any given time, with room for more, depending on how you've wired and split the rest of the connected hardware.

The mixer hosts master volume control, bass control, source selection (three sources available, each identified by changing the LED of the volume knob), stand-by

Unlike Corsair's $230 SP2500 2.1 PC speakers, the Genius unit is more targeted at multi-use environments that are input-intensive; that stated, Corsair's SP2500 is generally higher quality and offers finer control over the EQ for audio types. This review really isn't meant to be a direct comparison of the two, though, as they're in entirely different classes (high-end PC speakers vs. mid-range multi-use speakers).

Setup & Installation

genius-spk-2

Installation is straight-forward. Position the satellite speakers and subwoofer appropriately, then connect each of the three units to the central control switch. The computer can be connected various ways – 3.5mm directly to the control unit is one of them, though if you're using the switch box with multiple devices, it may be easier to do RCA to 3.5mm. The second RCA input can be connected to a record player or similar device. Line-in can be connected (but you should cap it when unused to prevent EMI or damage) for MP3 player or phone use.

The satellite speakers include compatibility for wall mounting if such a setup is desired.

That is one note: It seems as if Genius should supply a few simple cable caps to allow the user to leave all cables plugged-in constantly, but just cap them when a device is removed from the system (like a phone).

Once all in place, users can use a “source” button to toggle through three options of various sources. In our testing, we set these up as a game console, an HTPC, and a record player.

Versatility

At $100, Genius' SW-2.1 2000 speakers are some of the most versatile we've ever encountered. Most speakers – even those with an in-line DSP or mixer – just plug straight into the computer. If you're looking for all the additional cables and ports to allow a true home-theater multi-input, single-speaker system, the Genius 2000 speakers are easily at the top of our list. The rapid spread of HTPCs will soon see users futzing with DVRs, blu-ray players, the PC itself, gaming consoles, and multimedia systems.

The SW-2.1 2000 speakers are intended for use at a computer, which means they're built to be about 18 inches away from the user's ears. By using these speakers in a home-theater / living room setup, you sacrifice some of the fullness of the audio, but gain versatility at an affordable cost.

Audio Quality

Audio quality overall is above average for gaming and music use cases. Some of my more hat-heavy songs felt a bit tinny on playback, but that difference is only noticed if comparing the speakers against the $230 alternative.

When positioned as one would use the speakers at a computer (18” from the user's ears), the audio is full and crisp aside from the occasional high-hat tin. Vocals come through with sharp clarity and more technical notation shines through, something lost on cheaper speakers.

The subwoofer is a little more finicky in its controls. Although the switch allows alteration of the bass output, you'll find yourself mostly leaving it dead-center. At any higher output than 50%, the sub starts to sound muddy and buzzes with each hit. The bass sounds acceptable at the medium setting, but if you're a fan of the wub-wub and want extreme bass, it may be best to look elsewhere. Not bad, just acceptable.

For gaming, the bass puts out a more reasonable “boom” for the explosions and rumbles experienced in games like Battlefield. It's clear that these speakers were tuned for gaming audio. In a desktop PC environment, the audio is fairly engrossing and immersive, despite being limited to two audio channels and a subwoofer.

Conclusion: The Ultimate Budget-Friendly HTPC Speaker System

genius-spk-3

The speaker audio quality is overall above average, and at $100, we'd readily make use of them in lieu of a more expensive setup. Ultimately, the Genius GX Gaming 2000 speakers are most at home in an environment that can make full use of the switch (with consoles and multiple PCs, for instance). The control switch and speakers are easy to use and intuitive, ensuring even visitors can manage the simple “source” switch to toggle input devices.

gn-editors-choiceWe'd strongly recommend the Genius' GX Gaming 2.1 2000 ($96) speakers for HTPCs and environments with complex input needs. We'd suggest considering more expensive alternatives for fuller audio, but the 2000 offers relative crispness with only a few caveats.

Genius has proven itself with the Gila mouse before; their speakers are looking promising from what we've seen so far, and it seems apparent that the company will slowly take a larger marketshare in the US.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on January 31, 2015 at 11:25 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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