EV SonicXS 2.1 - PC - Review
Until Smellivision or a tastebud adapter is concocted for video games, we’ll all just have to settle for a solid 60% of our senses being stimulated while playing the latest interactive multimedia. There is little one can do to improve graphics, aside from dropping $6,000 on a flat-screen plasma television set. Rumble features on controllers yield all the tactile satisfaction of a vibrating pager, and don’t show any signs of improving in the near future. Thankfully, Telex is here to save one of the senses, and all at an affordable price.
If you’re still using the speakers on your computer monitor or television, then you have barely cracked the surface of a true immersive video game experience. Auxiliary speakers create the lush environments of Baldur’s Gate II, warn soldiers that bullets are screaming by when storming the beach in Medal of Honor, and rock the Wildstyle radio station in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It takes a great set of speakers from a respectable name in the business to really fulfill all of a game’s potential.
Telex Audio and EV (Electro-Voice) have been powerhouses in the concert audio industry for over 75 years. You’ll likely see some of their products gracing the rafters of clubs and concerts, most recently the massive Rolling Stones tour. The two companies have joined again for their most recent foray into the home gaming industry.
Telex’s EV Sonic XS is a three piece speaker system that works with PCs, home consoles, and any other audio device with an auxiliary output. The system comes with one subwoofer and two satellite speakers. The three speakers together read frequencies in the 45Hz to 20Khz range (a good human ear can recognize frequencies between 20Hz and 20Khz) and provide booming bass, crisp treble, and the ever-important steady mid-ranges.
Each satellite speaker is 9.5” high, 6.75” wide, and 4.75” deep. The right satellite speaker contains the power, volume, and tone controls for the whole system, as well as a headphone, microphone, and auxiliary input sockets.
The subwoofer is about 14” high and 9” wide and deep. The subwoofer can be independently adjusted to keep those booming sound waves low for quiet time and cranked up to really emphasize explosive bass.
All three speakers are almost entirely black and modestly designed. There aren’t any fancy lights or space-age look to the speakers, just a simple black-box design. Although the Sonic XS won’t wow everyone with it’s simple design, it’ll still be kicking out the jams a long way down the road. The speakers are durable and look as though they can take a hearty beating (not that I took a hammer to it). These speakers were made for functionality.
Setting up the system is a breeze for anyone who has even the slightest technical experience. The two satellite speakers easily plug into the subwoofer with two cables. PC users simply plug a cable from their PC’s soundcard to the back of the subwoofer. Console gamers plug in the two audio RCA plugs (the red and the white one) into the RCA sockets in the back of the subwoofer. Simple as that.
Both music and games boom from the Sonic XS. In short, this system kicks. The subwoofer is the star of the team, delivering bellowing tones that seem to go unnoticed on systems without peripheral speakers. The first time I turned the speakers on, I conservatively put the volume up halfway and still almost got knocked down by the volume level. The only people who need to turn this sucker up are either deaf or live near an airport.
It’s hard to recommend peripherals with only one use, such as a steering wheel that only works with the Xbox or other platform-specific goodies, but the Sonic XS is at heart a multimedia speaker system. That means that when you’re done gaming, you can plug in your DVD player for extra sound or hook up a portable CD player to replace your boombox. The multi-functionality of the Sonic XS makes it something worth having around even if you outgrow videogames.
The Sonic XS retails for $199. For more information, visit www.computeraudio.telex.com.
The Sonic XS is a welcome addition to any video game system. It’s durable design and great sound is a steal at $199. The individual volume control on the subwoofer make late-night gaming possible without disturbing the whole house. The Sonic XS can be used with console games, PCs, CD players, or almost any other piece of audio equipment. It’s the perfect size for a dorm room, but can also fill a living room.
Although it sounds great, the Sonic XS comes up a bit short on aesthetics. Gamers may need to purchase extension cables for optimum performance as the supplied wiring is a little short, but that can be remedied with $15 and a visit to Radio Shack. PC users beware: the Sonic XS may be a little too oversized for a computer desk.
The pros far outweigh the cons on this one. Great sound at an even better price. Every gamer, casual or hardcore, will appreciate what the Sonic XS will add to their experiences.