If the phrase “PC speakers” still conjures images of a pair of beige boxes, GOGroove’s BassPulse may be a bit of culture shock. This 2.1 speaker system promises to turn any music listening session into an instant party with a boost to the bottom end and colored lights that pulse to the beat (choose among the blue we tested, or green or red, on Amazon). This set is at the high end of our price range compared to other budget PC speakers in our roundup, but it offers a rare bit of flair.
The BassPULSE system consists of an 11 x 9.25 x 4.5-inch, 10-watt side firing subwoofer and two 8.25 x 3.5 x 3-inch satellite speakers, each with 5 watts of power. The sub is sturdily built and weighs about 7 pounds, while the satellites are slim sheets of sculpted acrylic, each with a Neodymium Full-Range driver embedded at the top and angled to target your earholes when you’re sitting at a desk. All three pieces have built-in LEDs that glow blue, red, or green depending on which model you buy.
The two speakers share a single cord that plugs into the output jack in the back of the subwoofer. An included 3.5mm cord plugs into the adjacent input jack. The other end plugging into the auxiliary output or headphone jack on your PC or mobile device, or you may connect the system via Bluetooth if you prefer to be untethered. The power cord is attached to the back of the subwoofer, so you don’t need to worry about misplacing it.
Once the sub is plugged into an AC outlet, all you have to do it flip on the power switch. Everything is controlled from a panel on the front of the sub. A pair of knobs control the volume and bass level, respectively. Beneath these is a “pulse” button that activates the LEDs. These glow steadily until you crank the bass past 80 percent of maximum, then they’ll pulse with the music.
Given the big subwoofer–and the name of the system itself—it wasn’t surprising that the bass stole the show in my testing. However, it tended to bleed into other frequencies. Dialing down the bass knob added a little more clarity, but the bass had more or less the same boom quality whether I was playing rock, jazz, or EDM. The midst and highs were more distinct, and the sound never distorted even with all knobs cranked to the limit.
The pulsing lights, however, were a major disappointment. Maybe I was expecting too much, thinking they would operate more like a dance floor strobe, but even with the bass cranked they produced nothing more than a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flicker like you might experience in a brownout. Frankly, they work better as a light by which to navigate the speaker controls in a darkened dorm room than an ambience-enhancer.
The BassPULSE may over-promise on its lightshow capabilities, but it’s a good speaker system for the price. Most users will notice a definite sonic improvement over their PC’s built-in speakers, with enough power to fill a small room whether you’re listening to music, gaming, or watching a movie.