An ultra-compact 5.1 home-theatre speaker system sounds like a highly compromised solution for hardened videophiles, though a highly desirable solution for lifestyle consumers. It is a large gap between what videophiles and music lovers can live with versus what a casual consumer can tolerate. Caught between these two extremes is the audio industry’s struggle to meet the needs of both and come to a common ground—it seems almost impossible to reach this fairyland!
Well, there are reasons and the prime one is the size constraint. Give them a small loudspeaker and a lifestyle consumer wants it still smaller (by the way the suffix XS in the name stands for Xtra Small and not excess)! They want almost invisible loudspeakers but the demand posed on the output is unfairly loud and big! But, at times, there comes a solution that, perhaps, not exactly make videophiles dance with joy, but at least make them accept that not everything lifestyle is all that bad.
OUT OF THE BOX
The SoundWare XS 5.1 speaker system has some seriously small speakers. With 2.5” woofers mounted absolutely edge-to-edge, this is perhaps the smallest that a loudspeaker can get. We were overjoyed when we found that no such serious compromise was done in the subwoofer side—a proper, high powered, well-built subwoofer with 8” driver has been provided. A 6” sub to go with the smaller size of the speakers would have been a devastating compromise.
The speakers, as mentioned earlier, are very small, but that is the only place Boston has skimped. Attention to details, build quality, cabinet design, mounting versatility—you name it and Boston has treated it very seriously. Speaker set comes with all the mounts– one doesn’t have to buy anything from the market. Supplied mounts are exceptionally well-engineered and ergonomically well thought.
Along with the mounts, one gets two sets of brackets for each speaker—one set for the flat wall mount and another for the corner mounts. The speakers have such a unique shape that they can be mounted in the ceiling or kept on the floor. Also supplied are the rubber feet if you need to keep the speakers on flat a horizontal surface.
After some slight, careful labour we were successful in removing the front metal mesh. We saw half-inch tweeter which was coaxially mounted on a woofer with the help of two feet. To my surprise, we couldn’t find the wire behind the feet. Careful inspection revealed that the place where the feet are screwed to the body serve as hard connectors for the tweeter. Coming to the harsh realities; the small size of the speakers asks for some serious trade-ins. The crossover frequency for the subwoofer is as high as 180Hz in this case—good 100Hz above the widely acceptable and practiced norm of 80Hz! This is a critical region and lot of weight and body to the vocals and instruments fall in this region. In other words, we highly recommend you to keep the subwoofer around the TV so that though disjointed, the crucial mid-bass part comes from front and not from side or the back!