Pros:They look (and are) expensive. Decent mids at lower volume.
Cons:Sound distorts at higher volumes. Bass response does not live up to its hype.
The Bottom Line: Unless you absolutely must have Sonys, and like to show off your Mobius Ducts, take your $400 and buy another set of speakers.
I love Sony products. With the exception of a few of their technologies I think they are the leader in innovation in many fields, of which consumer electronics is one of them. There is a reason why Sony can demand a premium for their products and why many of us consider them a notch above. However this set of speakers are not only overpriced, but fail to produce the sound quality promised on the box - namely the extra bass.
Recommend this product?
The Sony SRS-ZX1 seemed to fit the cool and high tech, ultra-premium price of the Sony high end. With features like a mobius duct bass port system and a slick slim remote control, nicely crafted graphics on the box, it seems fitting. However, looks and names aside it falls short on promises.
The main reason why I bought these was that I needed a set of small speakers to use in a smaller space. I used to own a set of Sony SRS-Z1s, and boy are those tiny speakers awesome sounding for the size! I had really high hopes for this set, which I had hoped to be somewhat related to the Z1s, but the only thing they shared in common was the price and silver color.
The SRS-ZX1s features 20 x 2 watts (total 40 watts of power) prominently featuring a Sony technology called a Mobius Duct which is supposed to bring levels of bass normal speakers can't produce. It offers two analog inputs, and a wireless remote control which require CR2025 coin cell battery which is not included in the $400 price. The remote has the standard volume control, and on/standby modes. I really didn't get a chance to test the remote because I didn't have CR2025 coin cells handy. The power is supplied via an AC adapter similar to the ones that come with notebook computers and provides a decent length of cable for the wall socket.
Just a point of reference, I've used a lot of speakers in this price category in the past. From Altec Lansings, Creative Labs Gigaworks, Cambridge Soundworks, Klipsch, Harmon Kardon. 2.0, 2.1, 4.1, and 5.1 sets. By used, I mean owned and actually actively used for listening for at least months at a time.
The gee-whiz factor of the Mobius Duct, and the graphs shown on the box comparing speakers without it really give you high hopes in the store. In practice, the speakers produced decent bass performance at low volumes, but cranking them up delivers a fair amount of distortion. These speakers simply can't handle loud music or big bass well.
I tried doing a side by side comparison test with some other speakers I also were testing, and found out something interesting. The Sony speakers have a built in A/D converter which appears to process the audio before outputting the signal through the speakers which results in a very slight but noticeable delay in the sound that is output in side by side comparisons. Why this matters is that the sound that comes out is more likely to be less natural sounding, or should theoretically produce a quality of music that is more sonic-ly compatible with the limitations of the speakers... Also if you plan on using the speakers for video gaming the milliseconds delay may affect you where milliseconds count.
Notably when compared to the Samson Studiodock 3is (less than $99 street) with similarly rated watts per channel, the Sony's sound dull and could not achieve the same perceived loudness that the Samson's could without unbearable distortion. The highs and upper mids were muddy, the lows were too pronounced at lower volumes, and quickly became unbearable as the volume was pushed past 70% on the Sonys.
Overall I'd say the sound quality is sub-par for this price range. Because the speakers are driven by full range speakers, they don't produce the crispness that other speakers produce with separate tweeters and sub woofers. Even if we were to drop the price down to $100-$150, there are better performing 2.0 (2 speaker setup) choices out there like the Creative Labs Gigaworks T20s which offer similar footprint, size, features, but much better sound.