When I was told that I would be reviewing Telex' EV SonicXS speakers, my attention fell directly on the letters ďEVĒ. For those unfamiliar with EV, EV stands for ElectroVoice, a company that helped pioneer theater sound in the 1920s and currently specializes in live sound and microphones. Iíve been fond of ElectroVoice for quite some time, even though they dropped out of the consumer market a long time ago. One of my close friends adopted an old pair of EV speakers a few years back that were produced some time in the 70s. All things considered, they were, and still are, pretty good speakers. Iíve had the pleasure of using some of their studio microphones in a few audio classes Iíve taken. Telex (ElectroVoiceís parent company) opted to produce these speakers under the EV name. This raises the question: would $200 speakers live up to the legacy and quality of many of ElectroVoiceís products? After all, Telex is the new kid on the block in the computer speaker market; how good could EVs first consumer speakers in years possibly be?
The StatsThe SonicXS' are a standard 2.1 speaker setup. Each satellite comes outfitted with a one-inch horn tweeter and a four-inch woofer. Each satellite produces 30 watts RMS and 60 watts peak. The subwoofer packs a six-inch long throw woofer and produces 60 watts RMS with a 125-watt peak. The combined set covers a frequency range of 45 Hz to 20 KHz.
Like many computer speakers, the satellites are magnetically shielded and the subwoofer is not. Telex doesnít include a minimum recommended distance from video monitoring devices for the subwoofer but self-tests confirmed that the subwoofer must be placed roughly one to one and half feet away. Depending a userís setup, these results may very. The EVs feature RCA inputs on the subwoofer and a 1/8"-to-RCA cable so one can connect the speakers to a standard Mac or PC sound jack. Also one of the satellites includes a headphone jack, volume control, tone control and even microphone and auxiliary inputs. I tried a few sets of headphones just to test the headphone jack's amplifier. Most gamers probably donít have a set of inefficient Beyerdynamic DT 990s but it should be noted that this speakerís amp is sufficient.
When I opened the box, I was surprised at the size of these speakers. The satellites are closer in size to standard two-way back bookshelf speakers than standard computer speakers. I was also pleasantly surprised that the EVs pack four-inch midrange drivers just like my floor standing JBL S310s.
The EVs arenít pretty like most of the computer speakers Iíve reviewed. I donít like to comment on a speakerís visual appeal in my reviews since it does not affect the sound, but these speakers make no effort to sell on looks. Theyíre bulky, black and boxy. These are not the speaker set for users whom buy iMacs over PowerMacs just because they like they way they look. The EVs are made to sell strictly on sound.