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Here's how I tested these monsters.
The Movie Test
DVDs used: Saving Private Ryan (opening scene), The Matrix (the lobby), Heat (shootout in the streets)
As these speakers are incredibly loud, you'll be immersed in some of the best wall-shaking sound this side of non-surround sound. The shell explosions in Saving Private Ryan resounded through my house as if they were actually happening. Keanu and Carrie kicking security guy ass in the lobby as The Propellerheads' Spybreak! bumped in the background was amazing and the sound of each individual shell casing hitting the floor was crisp and clear. The gunfire in Heat rattled each set a little but there wasn't any audible distortion. All in all, I can't give the edge to either set when it comes to action movies.
The Music Test
CDs: Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head, The Roots - Phrenology,
The SonicXS speakers rolled through the flowing piano cords of Clocks flawlessly but I felt that at the high end, the Klipsch set produced brighter, livelier tones which are quite apparent in the reproduction of Chris Martin's voice in The Scientist and Politik.
On the low end, while the sub doesn't sound as loud as the Klipsch set, the bass and midrange are more round and smooth. The subwoofer does a great job reproducing the bass guitar sound from The Roots and gives the funk a better sound than with the Klipsch...even if it is ever so slightly. Klipsch has a definete volume advantage though.
Listening to the two CDs as a whole using both sets and not focusing on a certain part of the song, however, I have to give the Klipsch set the edge because of, again, the bright and lively sound. The Klipsch reproduces a more...real...sound than the SonicXS.
The Game Test
Games: Freelancer, Battlefield 1942, Splinter Cell, Counter-strike, Unreal Tournament 2003
This is where I felt the SonicXS outshined the Klipsch set, be it, yes, ever so slightly. Because of the great midrange reproduction, the set produced GREAT explosions and gunfire, which I felt sounded more realistic than the Klipsch set. In action games, this would probably be a better set but for just about any other kind of games without explosions, then I'd say that the Klipsch reproduces sound better.
These are probably the ugliest things I've ever loved. While the Altec Lansing 5100 set was a great deal for people who want a nice looking speaker setup, the SonicXS you can either love or hate - there's no in between with these things. I was very impressed with the the sound quality and build quality of this set even though they're an eyesore, in my opinion.
However, in a field that Klipsch and Logitech has dominated for years now, Telex will have a hard time busting in an already crowded market. While the sound reproduction was definetly one of the best I've heard, I have to say that I still prefer the Klipsch 2.1 speakers, which I felt are better sounding overall, even by, yes, that ever so small margin.
At $199 MSRP, these aren't the best choice for a budget minded enthusiast either. Like the Klipsch 2.1's Logitech's Z-560 set, these are for those with a fat wallet and deaf neighbours only.
I really hate this part of my job. I hate it when I find a product that's a great product and strong in so many areas, only to be beaten by one set that truly excels, even if it is ever so little of a difference. The SonicXS 2.1 was a truly valiant effort by Telex to enter the high end PC speaker market and for that, I salute them. I REALLY hope to see more products from them in the future as they show great promise to usurp Klipsch as king.
Final Score: 89%
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