Many players are advocates for gaming headsets and received’t even trouble organising good computer speakers. And whereas it’s true that headsets provide just a few bonuses – together with not waking up your neighbors when you’re battling grotesque monsters from one other dimensions at 2 am – investing in a stable speaker system does have its benefits.

The Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 2.1 gaming audio system and subwoofer set is packing not solely in , but additionally in extras. Moreover, it guarantees clear highs, detailed mids and deep bass for wonderful sound expertise.

Does it maintain its personal in opposition to the top computer speakers available on the market? With fierce competitions like Audioengine A2+ and JBL SoundSticks III, Kratos S5 is unquestionably getting a run for its cash. However with all its added options, flexibility and a strong subwoofer besides, it’s indisputably a sound funding at $129 (£129, AU$269). 

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Design

There are laptop audio system and there are laptop gaming audio system, and Kratos S5 positively, aesthetically talking, belongs to the latter class. There’s nothing stealthy about its boxy, practically eight x 5-inch satellites, that are each fringed on the front-bottom with Inventive’s 16.eight million shade Aurora Reactive lighting.

This lighting system isn’t truly reactive to sound and is solely ornamental, however I loved this little add-on nonetheless. When used with different Aurora Reactive lighting system-enabled peripherals, the ambient lighting enhanced my gaming expertise personally.

On the helm is the subwoofer, which funnily sufficient seems to be fully nondescript. It hosts the number of controls and ports all simply accessible within the again. These embody the tiny LED button that permits you to swap between 5 completely different Aurora Reactive lighting presets, a subwoofer degree dial, the ports for the satellites, and three completely different enter choices, which I’ll get to shortly.

Each the audio system and the subwoofer are imagined to characteristic all wooden enclosures, which isn’t apparent proper off the bat because of the jet black paint. In actual fact, we thought they had been made from plastic till we learn the specs on-line.

Options

Fancy trimmings apart, Kratos S5 does provide you with extra ounce to your bounce so far as performance. 

This 2.1 setup comes with an audio management pod related to a sub by way of a four.5-foot lengthy cable. A distant would have been nice to mime a house theater setup, however this pod is definitely a pleasant different, providing you with handy and fast entry to the facility and quantity management. Its smooth-turning dial helps you to enhance and reduce the amount effortlessly. And it incorporates a three.5mm headphone jack and a mic jack so you possibly can sit again in a comfortable chair whereas taking part in Counter-Strike along with your headset on.

The subwoofer options its personal dial to manage the bass degree in addition to an auto standby button for power saving. Most significantly, it has three audio inputs – a micro-USB port, a three.5mm audio jack and an RCA enter – so you possibly can hookup this speaker system to completely different gaming units in addition to your Blu-ray participant. These give this speaker system extra flexibility than lots of its rivals.

The downward firing sub incorporates a the driving force situated on the underside of the unit. Such subwoofers is probably not as tight sounding as forward-facing ones, however they’re imagined to be extra secure and have somewhat extra rumble, which Kratos S5 positively has.

And naturally, the system is customizable with the Sound Blaster Join software program (PC solely) that provides much more gentle, sound and voice flexibility. It lets you customise the lights, from the colours to the transition velocity. 

So far as the sound, it helps you to do a plethora of audio tweaks—enhance the bottom, alter the EQ, enhance/lower the excessive finish, reduce abrupt quantity modifications, and even widen the soundstage. For fast changes, presets can be found on the Dashboard. 

Set-up

Organising the Kratos S5 audio system system is a snap. You simply want to attach the satellites to the subwoofer after which that to your laptop by way of three.5mm audio or USB, plug the system in, and also you’re up and operating.

Remember the fact that for increased high quality sound, you must make the most of the USB connection for 24-bit/96kHz digital audio playback. You will notice a BIG distinction; the sound would possibly nonetheless somewhat hollowed out, however to not the identical diploma, and it’s simply clearer and extra detailed.

Do your self a favor: obtain the Sound Blaster Join software program and take the time to do just a few tweaks for punchier outcomes.

Efficiency

The Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 audio system system boasts a number of quantity for PC gaming and small house theater setups. The subwoofer packs a punch. Not solely does it sound good, it’s additionally very responsive, particularly when turned as much as 70%, and has loads of rumble owing to its downward dealing with driver. 

It has a large stereo soundstage. Whenever you’re sitting entrance and middle, video games and films positively really feel immersive. It have to be famous that whereas Inventive guarantees a digital 7.1 encompass sound characteristic, which you’ll be able to alter utilizing the Sound Blaster Join software program, it falls flat on mimicking that impact. Nevertheless, to be truthful, it does widen the soundstage somewhat extra and really feel a tad extra immersive.

On the default audio settings, the highs are hyped and much more so with the speaker system plugged in by its three.5mm audio jack. The excessive mids are comparatively low, inflicting a hollowed out sound, and the low finish can also be somewhat quiet. Additionally, in some motion pictures, voices are a bit muffled. Nevertheless, all these could be adjusted with the software program. Moreover, the sound is tinny by way of audio jack. However once more, swap to USB and it’ll make a world of distinction.

The one issues to actually complain about are the sunshine hum and the digital distortion which can be noticeable when the audio system are turned nearly all the best way up.

Last verdict

Whereas audiophiles won’t give the Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 a re-evaluation, its sound high quality and expertise is great for gaming and film watching in your PC. So far as laptop speaker methods go, we’d rank this four out of 5 and pin it with our beneficial award for its gaming-quality sound and its added options. 

There are higher PC speaker methods on the market, however you in all probability received’t get a sub or as many options, or you must pay $50 to $100 extra. With Kratos S5, you’re positively getting greater than your cash’s value.