The SoundWare XS 5.1 sounds surprisingly good, and we say surprising because its five satellite speakers feel only a little larger than a baseball in your hand. Combined with its compact 100-watt subwoofer, it's one of the most decor-friendly speaker systems we've tested. Our one nitpick, design-wise, is that the speaker connections are difficult to use, but you'll run into that problem only when you set the system up.
As good as the SoundWare XS 5.1 system is for its size, it can't defy physics. The Pioneer SP-PK21BS sounds much, much better, but it's also a much, much larger speaker system. And even if living room decor is your priority, you should seriously consider the larger (but elegant) Energy Take Classic 5.1 system, which sounds considerably better as well.
However, neither of those systems can compete if space is at a premium, and the petite SoundWare XS 5.1 ($500 street price) is an excellent, affordable option with solid sound quality.
Really small speakers like these sound best with very high subwoofer-to-satellite crossover settings, so we experimented a bit with the AVR-1912's bass management system before settling on a 200Hz crossover setting.
Also, we found that keeping the subwoofer volume higher than average, relative to the satellites, really helped the overall sound balance. Of course, the exact crossover and subwoofer volume settings vary, depending on room size, acoustics, and taste. The subwoofer's volume control was very sensitive, so even very small movements made a big difference in bass volume. With speakers as small as these, setup details can make or break the sound. Also, we'd recommend placing the subwoofer within 4 or 5 feet of any of the three front speakers to help ensure the best possible sound.