Today we will be putting the ARCTIC Sound S111 through the paces. These dice-shaped portable speakers are USB powered and can easily be powered with a laptop. All you need is a 3.5mm jack on your device and these speakers with work for you whether you have an MP3 player, DVD, computer, or even a cell-phone for that matter. The S111 can supposedly amplify the volume at a greater extent, while not sacrificing the balance of the bass or vocals. We will have to see how this claim stands up as we run it through our tests.
With the speakers setup and installed on our computer, you can get a glimpse of the actual size of these small speakers. They really do not take up much room at all. We plugged in the USB connection for power and the 3.5mm jack for the sound and we were ready to go, very simple.
On the back of your “right” speaker (as marked R), you can see the volume control knob, which almost engulfs the entire back of the tiny speaker. Notice this is also where you plug in your left speaker in the white jack, as both speakers are powered from the same amplifier within this speaker.
The first test we put the speakers through was our music test. We started off at a low volume to see how well they reacted to subtle tones and details. The first thing we noticed was the definite clarity of the speakers with the vocals and a well-balanced bass. The S111 did a solid job of accurately reproducing the low frequencies. When we turned the volume up to about 50%, it was still more of the same with very clear vocals and mid-range, with well-balanced bass. We then moved on to the real test and cranked the speakers as loud as they would go. We were expecting to hear massive amounts of distortion, and well, we did. When the bass kicked in, we thought our speakers were going to die of a horrible garbled death. Theses speakers are not made for that kind of punishment, but at the same time we have to wonder why companies make speakers with volume settings that they can’t actually reproduce?
For the next test, we watched a great action movie with lots of explosions and gun fights. The gun shots were very crisp with no audible distortion at all, not even from some of the high-pitched sound effects that Hollywood was giving them. The speech was clear and, once again, the audio quality was in line with what we were expecting. The little S111 speakers made the movie enjoyable and it did not feel that we sacrificed too much of those Hollywood extras, surprisingly. Now, you won’t be getting the earth-shattering quality of a supreme home entertainment center, but those also cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. So it would do all us of well to keep our expectations inline with the cost.
The final test we ran, was our gaming test. We played a few different games to get a better overall feel for the speakers. With our FPS genre, they did an OK job. The big thing you will notice, however, is no surround sound and for all the FPS players out there, you know how important this is. Being able to separate the speakers from each other helps a little with this, but as far as knowing exactly where your opponents are, you have no chance. There is a reason the S111′s are not marketed as gaming speakers, so we cannot really hold any of this against them. The clarity and pitch seemed to be on target with what we were expecting and we were happy with this.
As we always like to do during our audio tests, we love to see just how many decibels they can crank out. The ARCTIC Sound S111′s belted out a respectable 116.8 dB. If you are curious as to where that stands in terms of every day sounds, just check out the chart below. Clearly this number isn’t good for much, as it doesn’t take clarity or accuracy into account, but it’s a number worth mentioning nonetheless.
The ARCTIC Sound S111 speakers performed well in producing quality sound with accurate and balanced vocals for natural sound response. As long as you do not crank the volume to 100%, these speakers will meet or even surpass your expectations given their MSRP of around $15. The 2 1/2 inch speakers have an extremely small footprint and are therefore highly portable. The portability of the speakers will help make it easier to justify taking them with you to plug into your laptop, iPod or other portable media device. They would also be a nice addition to your MP3 player or DVD player when you travel. The rubber pads on the bottom help with keeping the speakers in place and they don’t slide easily with them, which is a major plus for us. Overall, if you are looking for portable speakers to use in traveling situations, or possibly even for relaxed social situations when you need a quick jukebox, these may for you. We would not consider them as 24/7 speakers, but for short periods of time, they would be a solid budget set for anybody. Denon is also known for their great stereo equipment.
The ARCTIC SOUND S111 receives the TechREACTION.net Silver Silicon Award!
For more information on the ARCTIC SOUND S111, check out the product page.
Denon is also known for their great stereo equipment.