Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Assess:
If you like to parade your home audio logic, you’re doubtless not going to buy the Boston SoundWareXS 5.1 lecturer logic. That’s OK; it’s not made for you. But lots of public who don’t make home acting their leisure activity still be thankful for a right surround-sound encounter and Boston’s logic delivers that at an incredible size and price. The SoundWare XS 5.1 sounds surprisingly excellent, and we say surprising since its five satellite speakers feel only a modest better than a baseball in your hand. Combined with its compact 100-watt subwoofer, it’s one of the most decor-friendly lecturer systems we’ve experienced person. Our one carp, point-wise, is that the lecturer connections are trying to use, but you’ll run into that problem only when you set the logic up.
As excellent as the SoundWare XS 5.1 logic is for its size, it can’t defy physics. The Pioneer SP-PK21BS sounds much, much better, but it’s also a much, much better lecturer logic. And even if living room decor is your priority, you should sincerely premeditated the better (but elegant) Energy Take Classic 5.1 logic, which sounds considerably better as well. Even if, neither of those systems can compete if space is at a premium, and the diminutive SoundWare XS 5.1 ($500 street price) is an exceptional, affordable choice with solid sound feature.
The SoundWare XS is a six-piece logic that comes with five like peas in a pod cube satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The logic we experienced person is black, but it’s also available in white. Boston Acoustics also sells bonus SoundWare speakers in a diversity of sign for $100 each.
The cube satellites are incredibly tiny, just 4.43 inches wide, 4.25 inches high and 4.43 deep. Each one weighs just one pound. The lecturer’s rear is faceted, so instead of being a six-sided cube, the SoundWare XS satellite is a polyhedron. Its 10 “sides” also make it simpler to squeeze the weespeakers into corners. If you place it on a shelf the lecturer can be angled up or fire straight ahead. Or wall-mount the modest guys with the included articulating sort so you can angle the speakers in headed for the listening area.
Since the SoundWare XS satellite’s perforated grilles aren’t comes off, it wasn’t at once evident that the satellites are two-way designs. Due to their tiny size, there naturally wouldn’t be enough room to squeeze a tweeter and a midrange driver on the front baffle. Boston’s engineers worked nearly the top bolt from the blue space problem by mounting a .5-inch tweeter on a small sort in front of the 2.5-inch midrange driver. That’s pretty ingenious. We can’t say the plastic lecturer cabinet is primarily well-built, but it doesn’t feel poor or delicate.
The push-to-open, all-metal connectors lower-level into thelecturer’s rear-end acknowledge only emaciated bare wires (you can’t use banana plugs, spades, or pins). We found the connectors extremely trying to plot to use; you have to push with a honest quantity of difficulty on the connector to open the hole, then ever so gently angle the bare wire into the hole, and then relief the connector. Once the wire is in there it tends to stay place, which was not the case with the jump-clips on the Klipsch HD Acting 500′s or Bose Acoustimass 6 Series III’s satellite speakers.
The Boston subwoofer is a very plainly refined dark gray box, even if rounded edges diminish the look. It has an 8-inch woofer and port mounted on its underside panel. The built-in 100-watt amplifier facial appearance BassTrac circuitry that is said to reduce distortion, and the amp has just a single RCA input (there are nolecturer-level inputs).
We used a Denon AVR-1912 receiver and an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player for all of our SoundWare XS listening tests. Really small speakers like these sound best with very high subwoofer-to-satellite crossover settings, so we experimented a bit with the AVR-1912′s bass management logic previous to settling on a 200Hz crossover setting.
Also, we found that maintenance the subwoofer number higher than mean, relation to the satellites, really helped the overall sound weigh. Of way, the exact crossover and subwoofer number settings vary, depending on room size, acoustics, and taste. The subwoofer’s number control was very insightful, so even very small schedule made a huge difference in bass number. With speakers as small as these, setup fine points can make or break the sound. Also, we’d urge introduction the subwoofer surrounded by 4 or 5 feet of any of the three front speakers to help make sure the best doable sound.
When reviewing small speakers, we ordinarily go simple on them at first, so we gently nudged the number up while watching the “Master and Commander” Blu-ray. We shouldn’t have apprehensive, as the SoundWare XS was in fact pretty adept with home acting pageantry, and even the cannonballs crashing through the sides of the wooden ships didn’t consequence in overt distortion. There are certain limits to how loud modestspeakers and a subwoofer can play, but the SoundWare XS did a better job with this Blu-ray than what we heard from the Klipsch HD Acting 500. The subwoofer/satellite blend was so charming we never heard the sub as a sound fund (that’s a excellent thing).
That said, the louder we played the SoundWare XS the more aware we were of the limitations of the satellites. They sounded thinner and severity augmented when played loud. Turning the number down helped the SoundWare XS regain its composure. Dialogue was clear and articulate, and the five speakers made an all-encompassing surround encounter. The SoundWare XS was better on that score than any two- or three-channel sound bar we’ve experienced person.
The “Essential Wave Tahiti 3D” Blu-ray documentary facial appearance world surfing champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer screening their talents on the best waves on Tahiti’s famed surf site Teahupo’o. Listening to the tremendous power of the surf and water spray, it was simple to not dredge up we were listening to five tiny speakers and a sub. The undersea shots of the waves are accompanied by the sound of deep muffled bass. The SoundWare XS communicated the fury of the waves with real gusto.
Music is a tougher test of sub/sat integration, so we used pianist Keith Jarrett’s recent “Jasmine” album with bassist Charlie Haden to see if there were any sub/lectureramalgamation harms. The piano’s low notes sounded fine, but Haden’s stand-up bass notes were a modest potholed, so some were a lot quieter than others. Rock music on CD sounded frivolous, and words lacked body. The SoundWare XS’ sub sounded fine, but the transition to the itsy-bitsy satellites wasn’t as charming as we’ve heard from the Bose Acoustimass 6 Series III’s even smaller satellite speakers(and much better sub), or systems with vaguely betterspeakers, like the Energy Take Classic. The Take Classic is still the best-sounding small logic we’ve heard.
The Acoustimass 6 Series III is more high-priced at $700, and it sounds more commanding than the SoundWare XS. Ah, but Bose’s even smaller satelites lack tweeters, so they can’t match the Boston logic in terms of pledge or clarity.
For buyers searching for a feature home acting lecturer logic, but who persist on one that packs most performance into the smallest doable size, Boston Acoustics’ SoundWare XS deserves serious consideration.
The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 excellent:
The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 lecturer logic is one of the most compact and style-friendly systems we’ve seen. It sounds much better than you’d guess given its size, and it’s very affordable.
The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 terrible:
The Boston’s cramped lecturer wire connectors are trying to use. And if you don’t need extremely small speakers, you can find better-sounding (and still chic) speakers for the same price.
The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 underside line:
The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 is an exceptionally compact logic and sounds fantastic for its size–even if better systems sound even better.