RWTI Sicuro 670-XL
Realworld Technology's $199 Sicuro 670-XL isn't your typical PC speaker system. Like other 5.1-channel speaker sets, it includes five satellite speakers and a subwoofer, but the similarities stop there. Shaped like jet airplane engines, the subwoofer and the speakers have a distinctly retro, 1950s space-age appearance. Lights embedded in the chromelike plastic grilles pulsate to your audio, reflecting off the drivers and producing a bizarre but strangely appealing effect that the company calls techno lighting. What's more, the 670-XL is available in four different colors: silver, black, blue, and green. Unfortunately, its whiz-bang styling and passable sound quality don't excuse the 670-XL's annoying design flaws and underpowered subwoofer.
Setting up the Sicuro 670-XL is straightforward. After unpacking the system, you position and connect the satellites to color-coded jacks located on the subwoofer. Each satellite speaker has a built-in stand and a keyhole bracket for wall-mounting. Unfortunately, the stands aren't adjustable, which means you can't angle the center speaker down toward your ears if you perch it on top of your monitor.
The 670-XL includes cables for connecting a computer sound card, a game console, or a device such as a home DVD player. To get discrete surround sound from the speakers system, you'll need a sound card or another device with 5.1-channel analog audio output (we used a PC with a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Pro card). The 670-XL does have an Enhance feature that will distribute, or upmix, the sound from any source with as few as two channels (such as an) through all of the speakers.
The Enhance feature works well enough, but we found it odd that when you've connected an audio source with less than 5.1-channel output and you turn Enhance off, it also deactivates the subwoofer. If you want to listen to your stereo output through only the subwoofer and the front left and right speakers, you'll have to activate the Enhance feature, then individually lower the volume of the center and rear channels.
Unlike most comparably priced multimedia speaker sets, the Sicuro 670-XL includes a wireless remote control. Although not backlit, it does have a text display. Problem is, the infrared sensor sits on the base of the subwoofer (where the volume, power, and Enhance buttons also reside). Stash the subwoofer under your computer desk, and the remote doesn't work well. It would be far more convenient if Realworld Technology had integrated the IR sensor and the control buttons into one of the front satellite speakers.