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Arctic Cooling S361 Speakers Review

The Arctic Cooling S361 speakers are not perfect. The audiophile purist in me could wax lyrical about the slightly wooly and somewhat overblown bass as well as the tendency for the system to add sibilance to specific material. It all seems like nitpicking however when you double check the asking price of 80 euros. Yes, thats right, 80 euros.

This slightly overblown bass and moderately harsh treble can be dealt with carefully with a modicum of self control. Dial down the bass and treble settings and what you end up with is a very capable set of budget speakers which add a small amount of warmth to the material on offer. For acoustic and folk music they sound fantastic, with individual notes easy to pick out and the depth of the lower soundstage supported generously by the twin port subwoofer. Not a purist design by a long stretch, but slightly colourful and generally in a good way.

As a media speaker they deliver performance in all the key areas. Action movies are given the impact they need to create a jaw dropping and immersive experience and they can be surprisingly focused when you least expect it, especially with dialogue and depth of field sound effects.

Musically, and with the right material they tend to sound much more expensive than they really are, however they can pick holes in poorly sampled tracks, giving them a harsh and unpleasant edge. Hardly a fault of the design, but without the right source material and with over zealous settings they can quickly becoming fatiguing. We are happy to report however that when the volume is cranked very high, the sound doesn't  compress too badly and the cones can handle the throughput without crackling.

We can certainly recommend the S361 speakers to a PC enthusiast user who yearns for plenty of aural impact from his media and music. They are a lot of fun, and we like that. The nearest competitors would be the Gigaworks T40 Series II speakers which offer a more refined satellite experience, but can't deliver the same depth of bass frequencies.

KitGuru says: S361's have plenty of power on offer and deliver a warm and fun experience for enthusiast users who don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on speakers. Arctic Cooling have gotten the mix right. We have certainly heard better speakers, but not for 80 euros.


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Rating: 9.0.

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16 comments

  1. wow great price. I can never find their products here however, I hate seeing these reviews 🙁

  2. Awesome. what a great price. you have to hand it to Arctic cooling for their pricing. same with their coolers.

  3. Its the only reason I dislike my gigaworks speakers, although I dont have the revision 2. the bass is lacking. I know people say you dont need a subwoofer, but it really helps with smaller computer speakers.

  4. Hey Zardon can you get the 632s to review? I like the look of them better (but these are good also).

  5. I would also like to see the 632s reviewed, these are brilliant and for 10 euros more the higher model have even more power output.

  6. Great review ! I didnt even know Arctic Cooling did speakers. id like more of them reviewed to get a view on the ones below this set and the most expensive set above them.

  7. Meant to ask earlier, who is the OEM who makes these Zardon do you know?

  8. I enjoyed reading the testing page. I agree, none of these speakers really get it ‘all right’ its a case of finding the best sound to your personal tastes and buying a value set.

  9. These are much better than I expected. they look almost like a nice pair of studio monitors too. Shall be ordering a set when I can find them. Arctic Cooling REALLY need to work on UK distribution 🙁

  10. I was beginning to wonder that these were in fact vaporware. Can anyone direct me to stores in Germany for these?

  11. Cant find them here either (france). only one retailer shows them and its preorder. 🙁

  12. Not sure how speakers with woolly bass, harsh treble and a tendency to add sibilance (so poor upper mid-range too) can get 9/10 and a Must Have. They look like the craptech stuff you normally see in budget electronics stores.

  13. Great input there Taz. Clearly you just focused on the negatives and not the fact you could dial most of it out with the pod and the fact they are 80 euros.

    Always great to see such well rounded and intelligent feedback, lol.

  14. Hi Taz, they are far from the ‘usual craptech stuff’ you usually see in budget electronics stores. I am hyper critical of sound equipment however I don’t think it is best rating speakers in this price sector against equipment at thousands of pounds. I have heard many seperates systems which would have wooly bass, sibliance issues and even focusing problems on various levels (costing much more than these), but its all based strictly on the pricepoint. At the 80 euros price point there are very few speaker systems for PC’s which offer a fairly well rounded experience.

    it is important to mention issues with any product, but I find even the award winning Creative gigaworks T40 v2 to have issues with various frequencies and they also have a complete lack of bass response. WIth all of these systems you get what you pay for and its possible to compensate to various degrees. With these you can dial out some of the issues to various levels, but with other products you can’t add bass depth which isn’t there in the first place.

    I have yet to hear any computer based speakers id be totally happy with, so the price is an important factor. three other people who heard these were extremely impressed with the sound quality and wouldn’t even be able to point out sibliance or slight bass ‘booming’. Everyone has different ears and demands.

  15. This is almost a 1year old review, but it really helped me to chose between Creative Gigaworks T20 v2 and the same priced Arctic S361.

    You can’t correct something that isn’t there since the first time. I go with the 2.1 🙂
    This was a superb, strict and informative review! thanks.
    (first time reading a kitguru review. but not the last)

  16. Thanks for comprehensive and informative review. I made a decision to buy the set and I am certainly not disappointed. The sound is indeed superb for such price.

    What is confusing though is the technical specification of the whole thing provided by the manufacturer, which is quite slapdash. Details given on Arctic’s website say that total output is 58W (40W subwoofer + 18 W for satellites), but elsewhere they say 40W +2x18W (so 76W in total). I took the liberty of examining the set myself, and discovered that each satellite contains two loudspeakers, 10W each, and apparently no tweeter at all. So all in all it is 40W + 2x20W = 80W!

    There is, it seems, quite a mess at Arctic Cooling in the advertising department – not to mention the typo they overlooked on the remote control (‘standyby’ instead of standby).
    Perhaps underpricing is simply yet another thing they overlooked?

    All in all, I am extremely happy with the purchase even if the build quality is a bit on a shoddy side. Still good value for money!