SonicGear is a well known audio brand in Singapore. They specialise in affordable audio products from earphones, headphones, portable speakers, to larger multimedia speaker systems. In this article, I shall compare 3 of the latest audio speakers, SPACE 3 (RRP S$49.90), SPACE 5 (RRP S$69.90) and SPACE 7 (RRP S$99.90).
2.1 sound systems are made of 2 channel speakers with one subwoofer that is typically bulky in order to deliver sub-bass frequency. SonicGear’s latest 2.1 speaker series, SPACE, aims to break the size barrier by designing a compact subwoofer that can be placed on the table.
I was very worried when Leapfroglobal, the parent company of SonicGear, offered to pass me all 3 models for review, because I did not know if I could carry all 3 units. Thankfully, they are really compact.
Unboxing proves to be a breeze, unlike other multi-channel speakers in recent memory.
What are the differences among the three SPACE series models?
- SPACE 3 – 2-inch 5W x 2 speakers, 3.5-inch 10W subwoofer. Total 20W.
- SPACE 5 – 2-inch 7W x 2 speakers, 3.5-inch 16W subwoofer. Total 30W.
- SPACE 7 – 2-inch 8W x 2 speakers, 3.5-inch 20W subwoofer. Total 36W.
Design and Size
SPACE 3, SPACE 5 and SPACE 7 all uses the same speaker sizes. The exterior design dimensions are also identical, only differentiated by the mould. SPACE 7 speaker grill uses metal while the other 2 is molded plastic.
The subwoofers driver sizes are also identical, but the physical dimensions are different. The passive radiator is positioned on the left side. Kudos to SonicGear for coming up with different designs for each model, rather than taking a shortcut of differentiating by colour or simple labels.
SPACE 3 is the basic model and does not come with a desktop controller. Volume control and line-in is located on the subwoofer.
SPACE 5 and SPACE 7 come with a desktop controller with large volume knob, which is practically the brains of the speaker system: it is where the audio device (phone, computer, MP3 player, etc.) transmits audio into the amplifier located in the subwoofer. It supports wireless Bluetooth, line-in and music files via micro SD (up to 32GB). In fact, you can plug the desktop controller to line-in of any speaker system and it can work as a Bluetooth receiver for the system. Similarly, it is possible to interchange all the components among the SPACE models, except the desktop controller cannot plug to SPACE 3. Note that the desktop controller is a rather integral component for the SPACE 5 and 7, without which it would not be possible to connect by Bluetooth to the system, nor control master volume. In contrast, the SPACE 3 has all the connectivity and controls built into the subwoofer unit.
Given the different driver power for each model, each SPACE model exudes unique audio characteristics. To do my comparison, I connected the LG V30+ via Bluetooth and toggled among the units. The results may vary if you are using wired connection. Note also that all units feature separate adjustible subwoofer volume, but during testing, I turn up the volume to maximum.
I shall start with the top-end model, SPACE 7. It has a typical V-shaped frequency balance, which makes the bass powerful, more punchy and extended, but behaves like normal sound systems and doesn’t rumble and rattle the house like the bigger desktop woofers in the market. The treble is bright, the mids and vocals are slightly less prominent, and as the most powerful model, delivers the loudest sound. Like most multi-channel sound systems, the SPACE 7 suffers from a drop in the upper bass to lower mids. Still, SPACE 7 is easily my recommendation for all genres that focuses on the bass and the highs, to get some musical excitement out of the speakers.
SPACE 5 turns out to be strong in its midrange, resulting in a fuller sound. The bass is somewhat hard without the resonance on the SPACE 7, while the vocals are warmer, less clinical. There is something to like about the SPACE 5, a more neutral, balanced output, suited for general listening and tracks with less demanding pumped up bass and less harsh highs. Classical, instrumental, vocal music genres fit the bill.
SPACE 3 may be the cheapest of all, but there is no lacking in quality. The driver is sufficient to fill up a small room, and the bass is adequate if you are listening in close range. I also prefer the treble-bass balance on the SPACE 3 compared to the rest. If you find the woofer on the usual 2.1 speakers are too reverberating, then SPACE 3 should work fine.
The SonicGear SPACE series is a great option for consumers looking for a more compact 2.1 desktop system with versatile connection options like Bluetooth 4.2, AUX, microSD, easing the use with laptops, smartphones and tablets. Its price-value hits a home run with consumers who are not critical about audio details and accuracy. I like the size factor and the bass that is not too overwhelming. On the whole, the sound that these speakers produce and the user value you get out of them is beyond the price you pay.
At the end of this review, Leapfroglobal has kindly offer me to keep one of the units of my choice. As I decided to set one up in my daughter’s room, I asked her which of the 3 models she would prefer. She chose the SPACE 5 for the looks and the unique subwoofer round sponge cover (plus, it’s with red accents).