I tested the XPS510 speaker system on my Creative SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum eX sound card in three different environments. These were whilst listening to music, whilst playing games and whilst watching DVD movies.
Whilst listening to music the XPS510s produced a clean, crisp sound and even when the volume was turned up to near maximum levels, there was little sign of distortion or crackling. I first tested with classical music from Bach and Beethoven, and then moved on to pop, rock and dance music. Classical music is a good way to test a speaker system because a wide range of instruments are used to create all types of sounds. The audio was quite clear, with an impressive sound stage and strong vocal reproduction. The only complaint I had as far as music playback goes was that at times, the bass wasn't as controlled as I would have liked.
Next up, I tested the XPS510's sound quality in a gaming environment, using Counter-Strike and Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Upon joining an internet server I immediately felt immersed in the game. The surround sound and deep bass made me feel each grenade explosion and gun shot. The only complaint I had here was that when the volume was turned up to a reasonably high level, the explosions and gun shots started to become slightly distorted. However, at normal listening levels, the XPS510 speaker system reproduced all sounds near perfectly. Overall I found games much more exciting whilst using these speakers than I did with my previous 4.1 speaker system.
To test sound quality in movies, I fired up "The Matrix" on DVD. With all the shooting and explosions that goes on, I thought this would be the perfect movie to test these speakers with. The audio clarity was great, and the positional audio was even better. The speakers did a good job of making me feel like I was actually inside the movie scene. Sure, a real home theatre system will probably give you much better performance, however, for such a low cost speaker system the XPS510 performed quite admirably.