capsule review

Sicuro RW-670XL

At a Glance
  • Sicuro RW-670XL

    TechHive Rating

Sicuro RW-670XL
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

Sicuro's RW-670XL 5.1-channel speaker system certainly has a uniquely flashy look. Sporting faux chrome faceplates with jagged edges, its five squat speakers and medium-size subwoofer resemble miniature airplane turbine engines. But when it comes to speakers, sound--not looks--is key. And unfortunately, the audio from this inexpensive system lacked the quality necessary for us to recommend it even for casual listening.

Our tests included sound samples of stereo rock tracks, an audio book, a DVD-Audio album, and a DVD movie. Across the board, the Sicuro system produced muddy sound, especially in comparison with other speaker sets in our test group. On a clip of "Feel Good, Inc." by Gorillaz, I had a hard time hearing a pulsing bass line, something that other systems handled easily. An "Enhance" button on the included remote control should, according to Sicuro, enable the speakers to "visualize" two-channel audio as 5.1 surround sound; in my experience, however, the Enhance button had little to no effect in improving the audio quality.

On a DVD-Audio clip of "White Rabbit" on Blue Man Group's The Complex album, what should have been a clearly audible vocal track was difficult to discern amid the guitars and drums. In the opening battle scene in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, rapid gunfire sounded like extended blurry and distorted noise, rather than a series of nuanced blasts.

The Sicuro system has one unique feature: Blue LEDs light up behind the front edge of each satellite speaker and the subwoofer. They flicker on and off as the sound moves through the various units. While that could be a cute effect, it doesn't do anything to enhance the listening experience. You can turn off the lights individually on each satellite, if you want.

Setting up the speakers is fairly simple. The manual walks through what's included--five speakers plus a subwoofer, and all necessary cables--and how to hook the system to a PC, game console, or DVD player. The remote control allows you to control volume for the whole system, as well as for the front, center, and rear speakers, and the subwoofer.

Despite the set's affordable price tag--just $170 (as of January 17, 2006)--the Sicuro speakers aren't really worth the gimmick. Looks can get you only so far.

The Sicuro 5.1-channel PC speaker system looks much better than it sounds, and that's assuming you think it looks good.

Kalpana Ettenson

This story, "Sicuro RW-670XL" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Pros

    • Cheap

    Cons

    • Poor sound quality
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