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Denon DHT-FS5 X-Space Soundbar review

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Summary

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8/10

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If you want a home cinema sound system to pair with your flatpanel TV but can't accommodate five speakers and all the other bits and pieces, then a soundbar could provide the perfect solution. These increasingly popular products pack all the necessary audio decoders, amplifiers and speaker drivers into a single unit, which is designed to be wall-mounted below your TV or to sit on your AV cabinet.

Denon DHT-FS5 X-Space soundbar not for you? Check out our round up of the best soundbars to buy

Although they're no match for a full 5.1 system (and to be honest, they don't pretend to be) the aesthetic benefits and convenience usually make it worth the sacrifice - but the sound dispersal technology found inside most models does at least attempt to deliver something more expansive than bog-standard stereo, even if the results aren't always convincing.

The DHT-FS5 is designed to accompany TVs between 24in and 37in, but if your TV's between 32in and 50in you'd be better off with the bigger DHT-FS3. The FS5 is robustly built and its 750mm width/118mm height make it reasonably compact, but its 138mm depth means makes it stick out quite far when wall-mounted. The unit's plain looks are nothing to write home about, but that's probably a good thing - after all, you don't want anything to divert attention from your flash flatpanel TV, do you?

The front panel is covered in black speaker cloth, behind which sits a small two-digit LED display that glows through the material to indicate which modes are selected. At the bottom is another panel that indicates which audio codec is being received and a power light. The top and sides are also finished in black, but the unit is available in silver if black doesn't float your boat.

On the back is a small selection of sockets, including analogue stereo input and three digital audio inputs - two optical and one coaxial - which pleasingly enables you to feed signals from a Sky box or Freeview receiver as well as your DVD player. The selection is completed by a subwoofer pre-out should you want to expand the system further, although the unit's integrated virtual subwoofer with three bass reflex tubes means you might not need to. You can also connect the optional ASD-3W wireless control dock to the FS5 and enjoy Wi-Fi streaming, iPod playback and Internet radio access.

Read more: Best soundbars to buy

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Alice Inordnung

December 13, 2008, 2:01 pm

Summary - Recommended but probably needs a separate subwoofer to do it justice.





I bought the x-space based on this review (couldnt find any other reviews) to use in my second lounge where space is limited but the family hangs out for thermal reasons in winter ( in the basementt I have an AV set up - KEF 5005.2 / onkyo 606 and audio set up - Arcam CD73/Lentek amp (inherited family heirloom from my cousin who made them) /Quad 22l floorstanders + Quad l-ite subwoofer. So I bought this as the third system in the house and for general family use (games, movies etc). I chose this over the Boston tvee since it had optical inputs. The X-space sounded good when I played "300" for the first time, with the level up fairly high it was good enough for "family" use but obviously lacked the thumping bass of a separate subwoofer unit. So as a test I paired this with the KEF HTB sub from the KEF 5005.2 and I must admit I couldnt go back to listening without the sub. But the x-space covers the mid and hi freq spectrum very well, and I will pair this with a KEF Kube 1 which will be powerful enough , as the HTB can scare the children when the level is above 20%. It might have been cheaper to go the 5.1 route direct , but I can recommend this unit for smaller rooms where you cannot or dont want to run cables and wall mounts and dont have the space and inclination for free standing speakers.

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