Unpacking and Build QualityThe speakers arrived in a very sizeable box, and the packaging is all environmentally friendly yet still more than adequate to protect the speakers. There was a bit of shipping damage to the box (a hole punched into the top) but none of the components inside where affected. The packing should also protect the contents from most drops experienced in shipping, and even some drops which are not expected.
The subwoofer is a sizeable beast, but not nearly as heavy as comparable Logitech 12” units. Part of this is due to the sub being an 8” unit, and also the use of more efficient amplifiers which do not require nearly as large of a heatsink. It is a MDF enclosure painted in flat black with four thick rubber feet. The 8” cone is made of treated paper, which seems a bit mundane considering the price of these speakers. At the ultra-high end of home audio we see speakers utilize materials such as woven Kevlar or complex poly materials which feature low weight, high stiffness, and high durability. Paper does feature low weight and high stiffness, but durability over years of use and retaining that stiffness is questionable. These are likely not the paper woofers and drivers of the 70’s and 80’s, and it is quite possible that advancements in resins and epoxies allow paper cones the same performance and durability as more expensive (and exotic) materials.
The satellites are also individually wrapped, while the control pod has its own little box.
The satellites are made of a thick plastic, which helps to dampen vibrations. Other competing satellites may be HDPE, milled aluminum, or MDF. Apparently the plastic used by Corsair is more than adequate for the job. The grills are metal and supposedly their hole pattern and sizes are tuned towards the frequencies being produced by the driver and midrange separately. The tweeter is the silk-domed unit described previously, while the 3” driver is also treated paper. One positive here is that the surround appears to be a durable, flexible rubber instead of a cheaper foam surround which is much likelier to break down after a few years of use. Considering that I live in a drier climate, I was very happy to see that Corsair did not use a cheap foam surround for their drivers.
The wiring used is all fairly standard, with the included mini-jack adapter being of middling size and quality. The ATX plugs and wire are fairly stiff and thick. The control pod is nicely padded on the bottom so that it does not slip, and the heft of the unit is good enough that it will not be skipping around the table at high volume levels. The wheel of the control pod is nicely responsive and has a pleasant resistance to it. It only takes a few minutes to become familiar with the button and functionality layout of the device. The pod has a headphone jack, mini-jack input, and a USB connector that is used to update the firmware for the control pod if one is ever released.
The back of the subwoofer features the left/right stereo input, another auxiliary mini-jack input, the speaker cable outputs, control pod cable, and the power plug. Unlike other high powered speaker systems, the sub does not feature a large, attached heatsink. The base unit is pretty heavy though, and even at full volume with explosions happening left and right it does not move one bit.
The included cables are not terribly exciting. Power on the left, analog inputs between, and the two sets of ATX 4 pin/speaker wire.
Setup is fairly simple, and the included instructions cover installation more than adequately. The only real complaint that I have are the lengths of the speaker wires and the included mini-jack adapter. They are a bit short for my tastes and this is a common complaint about them. Corsair has promised to have longer versions available for purchase on their website, but as of February 8, 2011 these are not listed on their site.
While high end motherboards can offer good integrated sound, it is preferable to pair these speakers with a good quality standalone sound card.