The GoGroove SonaVerse Ti ($34.99 direct) does its best to banish the poor reputation of inexpensive PC speakers. It sports slim enclosures, nifty blue LED lighting, and the ability to be powered by a USB connection instead of a bulky wall-wart-style AC adapter. That said, they just don’t sound all that great. If you only have $35 to spend and your laptop has anemic speakers, this pair will sound better to you, but you’ll need to spend a bit more for quality audio.
The SonaVerse Ti measures 9.1 by 2.7 by 3.8 inches (HWD); both speakers together weigh just 1.8 pounds, which doesn’t bode well for the size of the driver magnets inside. The speakers themselves are made of black injection-molded plastic, with a glossy top and base shaped like an upside-down shield. A GoGroove logo is affixed to the left speaker, while a SonaVerse Ti logo sits on the right speaker grille.
A short 2.5-foot wire connects the two speakers to each other, which is just enough to surround a 24-inch widescreen desktop monitor with little slack. Blue LED lighting emits from the base of each speaker, and makes the SonaVerse Ti system appear to float slightly; it’s a pretty cool effect as long as you like LED lighting.
The cabling amounts to a plus and a minus. A 5-foot combination USB and 3.5mm cable is permanently attached to the left speaker. You must plug both connections into your PC for the SonaVerse Ti to work; the USB only acts as power, and doesn’t mean you’re getting a sonically pure digital connection like it does on more expensive PC speakers. That said, the SonaVerse Ti’s design means you won’t need a separate, bulky wall-wart-style AC adapter, which can be a plus.
Each speaker contains two tiny 1.5-inch paper cone drivers and a 5.5-watt amplifier. Accessory Power says there’s also a “passive bass woofer” inside, but I couldn’t see it; the enclosures aren’t vented, and there’s no visible passive radiator, so it must be inside and just as small as the main drivers.
The company rates the frequency response at 135Hz to 20kHz, which is unusually honest, as there really isn’t much bass response here. While you’ll hear more of an electric or acoustic bass than you’ll hear over, say, MacBook Air speakers, you still won’t get any real sense of kick drum punch.
Our testing with actual music tracks bore that prediction out. Flunk’s “Indian Rope Trick” sounded harsh, and the synthesized deep bass was completely missing from the recording during playback. Our standard bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” distorted heavily as I turned up the volume. Depeche Mode’s “Suffer Well” sounded flat, with little image projection from all of the various electronic bleeps and bloops behind Dave Gahan’s voice. Rage Against the Machine’s “Fistful of Steel” was simply too bright, and not pleasant to listen to.
In the end, the SonaVerse Ti doesn’t deliver on one of my goals, which is to find and recommend a low-cost pair of PC speakers for music fans on a really tight budget. GoGroove’s own SonaVerse O2i is even smaller, but that system is $5 more and has similarly harsh sound. The Xmi X-Mini Max sound clear and detailed for $20 more, and are much more portable, but their tiny size precludes any bass punch whatsoever. The Edifier Exclaim e10 remains our favorite low-cost stereo PC speaker system, but at $100, it’s more than twice the price of the SonaVerse Ti.
If your standards are modest and you find these at a discount to replace a blown-out or worn-out pair of desktop speakers, or just need something to make music audible for background listening, the SonaVerse Ti will do the trick. But anyone who enjoys quality audio should keep looking.
|Wireless Remote Control||No|
|Power Rating (Left and Right, Each)||5.5 watts RMS|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc