The SoundIím happy to say that Telex didnít tarnish the EV namesake. Out of the box, without any break in time, these speakers sounded richer than any of the speakers Iíve had the pleasure of reviewing. I expected this much seeing they cost roughly twice as much as most of the speakers Iíve evaluated, but it didnít stop there. The EVs exceeded my expectations.
First off, I am not a horn tweeter fan. Klipsch has done some wonderful things with horns but even then, they still sound like horn tweeters. Horn tweeters are powerful and can disperse treble with more directionality, but often lack the extended range of dome tweeters. Horn tweeters are often the choice for live sound because of the power and directional quality, but are are less common in the home market. Telex modeled the SonicXS' after ElectroVoiceís grander loudspeakers, thus carrying over the horn tweeter design. Make no mistake, these speakers still sound like horn driven speakers, but they produce very nice highs. In treble alone, they aced every computer speaker in head-to-head comparisons excpt for the Monsoon PlanarMedia 7/9, which featured superior imaging. Even after a sufficient break in time, the highs can sound somewhat rough and harsh at times, but fortunately fall short of being biting.
The SonicXS subwoofer is tight and detailed. The midrange and bass blend smoothly, a compliment to the package. It doesnít overpower the midrange, nor will it loosen any floor tiles. Bass heads might be mildly disappointed, but I found the bass to be plentiful. Since the satellites pack large four-inch drivers, vocals donít fall heavily on the subwoofer. Vocals should sound rich but exaggerated bass shouldnít over emphasize them. Speakers that have too high of a crossover on the subwoofer suffer boomy vocals which get annoying when watching television or movies. The SonicXS do an excellent job of separating the sound range making them ideal for a multitude of uses.
The real glory of the EVs is in the midrange. Most computer speakers lack quality midrange. Typical consumer sound emphasis is on bass and treble. While bass and treble are important, midrange is equally important as well. As mentioned before, since the EVs use four-inch drivers, the satellites reproduce lower midrange rather than placing the low midrange on the subwoofer.
My biggest problem when reviewing these speakers was finding an appropriate measuring stick. I havenít reviewed any 2.1 speakers as of yet above the $150 mark. The best I could produce was my classic Altec Lansing ACS-48 speakers. When compared directly head to head, the ACS-48s, sounded small and boxy compared to the SonicXS.
Next I tried my friendís AIWA stereo, a $200+ marvel of blinking, rotating, multicolor LCD lights and shiny silver plastic. Connected to a Panasonic portable CD player, the EVs were able to produce better results than the AIWA and all its LCDs combined. The SonicXS could be used in place of an all-in-one stereo and quite likely produce as good or better results for products in the same price range.
Like other computer speakers, you can use these speakers with a telvision, game console, or DVD player for a quick and easy upgrade over the cheap speakers. I found the speaker wires were a bit short for my home entertainment center but fortunately, the speakers wires use RCA cables, so I simply used a male-to-female RCA cable to extend it. After properly placing them in the room, the Lord of the Rings DVD was brought to life by superb stereo and even depth reproduction. EV managed to surprise me again with outstanding sound quality. Once I properly placed the speakers, the stereo image was quite impressive when sitting ten feet away.
Up close, these speakers were also impressive. I enjoyed Max Payneís slow-motion effects as the subwoofer pushed out the thumping heart effects and bullets flying wildly. The starkness of the highs sometimes felt too bitter, Medal of Honor wore thin after a rather long session.