We begin our analysis of the Sony SRS-GD50iP with our collection of CD tracks, which features a wide range of different test tracks ranging from sound effects to full-on orchestral pieces. This should give us a good feel and initial gauge of the speakers.
After spending some time listening to the Sony SRS-GD50iP, we were reminded of the old saying, “never judge a books by its cover”. While the Sony SRS-GD50iP might look uninspired and unimpressive, it surprised us with its full-bodied sound and wide soundstage.
The two orchestral pieces, Theme from Jurassic Park and Theme from Cutthroat Island sounded elegant, majestic, and conveyed a rich sense of wonder and splendor. The wide soundstage projected by the SRS-GD50iP also made the soundtrack sound more natural, as if it were being played in a large room or hall. The wide soundstage also helped on other tracks such as The Pod Race scene, allowing us to easily and accurately make out the positions of the pods as they wished “across” the speakers. Additionally, the subwoofer also provided sufficient grunt in the low-end, allowing us to actually “feel” the burbles and warping noises from the racing pods.
Moving on, we further tested the musical sensibilities of the Sony SRS-GD50iP by putting it through a selection of MP3 files. The speakers performed sensationally on Hotel California, the plucking of guitar strings sounded delicate yet precise, and the drums had sufficient oomph to get out feet stamping. Imaging was equally commendable as we could clearly make out the positions of the band members, especially during the guitar interplay between Don Felder and Joe Walsh towards the end of the song.
Where the SRS-GD50iP didn't do too well, however, was overall clarity of vocals. While Don Henley's vocals on Hotel California sounded gruff and textured, we felt it sounded a tad muffled. The same was experienced on Adele's touching Melt My Heart to Stone. The SRS-GD50iP didn't exhibit the clarity we experienced on some of the better speakers we've tested. It also sounded a tad sluggish on the fast parts of Buckethead's Sail on Soothsayer.
We also noticed that the performance of the subwoofer was somewhat inconsistent from track to track. It sounded fine most of the time, but when playing certain tracks it would sound subdued. Fortunately, the problem can be rectified quite easily by manually adjusting the level of bass. Unlike the awesome Bowers & Wilkins MM-1, the onboard circuitry of the SRS-GD50iP is clearly not up to task in compensating for the lack of bass in tracks.
However, the SRS-GD50iP excelled when it came to movies. Dialogue was sufficiently clear and the speakers provided enough punch when it came to explosive opening sequence of Swordfish. The clash of shields and swords in Lord of the Rings had a satisfying clang sound and the roar of the ogre in the scene where Frodo and his friends were trapped in the Tomb of Balin was menacing.
Lastly, we played Far Cry 2 to see how the speakers would perform at games. Background noises of the jungle were handled nicely; we could clearly make out the chirping of birds and the rustling of grass as we made our way through the jungle. It certainly felt atmospheric. Gun shots and explosions were lacking impact, but overall, the experience is definitely above average.
|Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace||8|
|Theme from Jurassic Park||8.5|
|Apollo 13 SFX||8|
|Theme from Cutthroat Island||8.5|
|Fanfare for Louis||8.5|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||8.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||8.0|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||8.5|
|Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (battle scene in Moria)||8.5|
|Swordfish (opening sequence)||8.5|
|Far Cry 2||8|