The CD audio tracks on our list give a good impression of a sound system’s audio sensibilities, so we began our tests with the Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace, where the XW-NAS5’s 10cm woofer provided ample oomph to the pod racer’s engines. The burble, growls and revs were satisfying and thumping good. However, the XW-NAS5’s suffers from poor stereo separation, which is a prevalent problem with iPod docking systems.
The poor stereo separation and lack of soundstage also led to a poor experience when playing Theme from Jurassic Park and Morgan’s Ride from Cutthroat Island. Also, we noticed that the XW-NAS5 sounded veiled, as if a blanket was placed over it. Fortunately, turning the Sound setting to “Vivid” did improve things a little, as it brightened the sound considerably and also created a pseudo-surround effect for a wider soundstage.
Where the XW-NAS5 really shone was with its convincing performance on the T-rex and Apollo 13 lift-off sound effects tracks, where the woofer served up generous amounts of bass, enough to rumble even the desk we placed it on.
On to MP3 testing, the XW-NAS5 failed to impress on Hotel California, a popular auditioning track. Lack of soundstage aside, the XW-NAS5 also sounded blanketed, leaving Don Henley sounding gruff and muffled. And despite the ample amount of bass, we found that it lacked precision and control, which was evident at the opening when the bongo drums kicked in.
Playing Buckethead’s Sail on Soothsayer, the XW-NAS5 displayed good speed and pace, but again the system sounded veiled and dark, lacking sparkle and transparency.
And on Tiesto’s Elements of Life, the XW-NAS5 once again showed off its good pace, but we noticed that the woofer sounded somewhat tired, especially midway through the track when the bass beats was relentless. That said, the system’s full-bodied sound and copious amounts of bass made us want to tap our feet.
The sound signature of the XW-NAS5 lends itself well to Adele’s Melt My Heart to Stone, giving her voice a warm and rich tone.
|Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace||7.5|
|Theme from Jurassic Park||7.0|
|Apollo 13 SFX||8.5|
|Theme from Cutthroat Island||7.0|
|Fanfare for Louis||8|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||7.0|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||7.5|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||8|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||8|