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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Teac XL-20

2. Setup and Use

As you can imagine, setting up the Teac XL-20 speakers is incredibly easy. Since the system is only a 2.1 setup you will not have to worry about running cables around the room or positioning four satellite speakers. The cable that the satellite speakers are connected to features two separate cables. There is just enough cable available to set one satellite on each corner of a 1,5 m wide desk. Once you have the satellites where you want them, plug them into the subwoofer, connect the subwoofer to your computer and power the system up.

Evaluating a sound speaker system requires both objective and subjective tests. However, for this presentation we will just present our thoughts and our overall impression for the system, which someone could claimed that they lack of technical objectivity.

We used the Teac Xl-20 system for more than 15 hours in an attempt to see how it performs compared to the strong competition for the same price tag. Playback of various music included classical music for precision in sounds, while Games like Unreal Tournament 2004, Doom III, and Need For Speed Most Wanted were tested for environmental sounds. In addition, music from Metallica as well as some dance anthems was selected to test bass, volume levels and noise clarity. Last, we used some of the latest Hollywood DVD releases.

The Xl-20 sound system could be ideal for anyone who likes listening at a reasonable level. Although you'll have all enough power for close-up listening on your desktop, filling a room could be a problem. The strong part of the system is that the reproduction had good overall timbre, without overemphasizing the high frequencies like many micro driver systems.

But where bass is concerned, you have to limit your expectations. The relatively low volume of the subwoofer enclosure can't match the depth larger models can deliver. Sound effects such as explosions and the like obviously lack the impact they have on a more powerful system. In order to achieve better bass reproduction, you should set the bass knob almost at its higher value, just before the distortion limit.

The sound deteriorates if you try to crank up the volume. The limited amplification power and the capacities of the micro drivers add up to distortion which comes noticeable as soon as you push the bass amplifier to its limits. Going a little further, we could add that definition is limited in the midrange, but that's certainly the aspect that's easiest to accept. After all, you should not expect speakers of this category to compare to studio sound.

While gaming, the system performed decently, although it soon became obvious that the subwoofer and satellites are not tuned for recreating explosions, sound effects and screaming engines with precise accuracy.

In the music listening tests, the XL-20 was acceptable. Listening was enjoyable but we would like a stronger offering. Let's say the system gets an average rating here.

The Teac Xl-20 does it well with sounds effects of a DVD movie, where music takes a background role. Overall, the movie experience was adequate, but with only 15 watts of power, it was not earth shattering in any sense.

So the overall assessment is mixed. This is definitely not a system that will rattle the windows, but with 15 watts of power available - the system is more than effective. The Xl-20 is a possible choice if you're looking above all for a small-footprint speaker kit with modern esthetics, but it's still a compromise between esthetics and quality sound. It's a compromise you may be willing to make when you think that it's just 30-40 euros you'll have to spend.

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