CNET First Look
Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 is exceptionally compact system and sounds great for its size--although larger systems sound even better.
Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak at CNET.com and this is the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1. This is a surround sound speaker system and it's currently selling for $500. Now, the unique thing about these speakers is the size. They're tiny with its five satellites feeling a little bit larger than a baseball in your hand. They have an interesting multifaceted design and behind the speaker grill there's actually both a tweeter and a midrange driver squeezed in there. The 100-watt subwoofer is also compact and we liked its understated matte gray finish which will blend in rather than stand out in a living room. The only design flaw is around the back where the speaker connectors are. They only accept bare speaker wires and you can't use banana plugs and there's just not a lot of room back there to get speaker wire in. Now, with speakers this small, we were definitely skeptical about the system's sound quality but, overall, we were impressed. When we cranked up the volume on a dynamic movie like Master and Commander, the Boston system really held its own even against Klipsch's larger HD Theater 500 system. On the other hand, music didn't quite sound as good on the SoundWare XS and if you're picky about sound quality, you're definitely gonna wanna step up to a larger system like the Energy Take Classic or the even larger Pioneer SP-PK21BS system. The blend between the satellite speakers and the subwoofer is decent, but you're just not gonna get as powerful of a sound on 2-channel music that you would from larger speakers. So, overall, if you're settled on getting ultra small speakers like this, it's really tough to find a better sounding system than the Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 unless you're gonna spend more money, but audiophiles are gonna wanna step up to something larger. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1.