Denon DHT-FS5 X-Space Soundbar - Denon DHT-FS5

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

As for sound quality, a run through of Pearl Harbor piped digitally from a Pioneer DVD deck reveals that the FS5 is a powerful and assured performer, plus it confounds our expectations by delivering a very convincing approximation of 5.1-channel sound - and it's not often we say that about a soundbar.

It's also hard to believe that such a compact unit could generate so much bass, but the attack on Pearl Harbor is all the proof we need. The swooping plane effects and huge explosions are delivered with such gut-wrenching force that we had to turn it down several times to prevent the neighbours from calling the police - and that's without a subwoofer connected. What's more, activating SDB makes a big difference to the depth of the low frequency effects, making it a useful addition to the feature list.

But it's also proficient higher up the frequency range, with the FS5's forthright midrange and treble propelling this breathtaking scene along at a rate of knots. Gunshots and ricocheting bullets are conveyed with eardrum-shattering sharpness and attack; shouts, screams and intermittent dialogue cut through the cacophony with ease and the propulsive presentation of the score injects plenty of drama and energy.

But even more impressive is the expansive soundstage, with X-Space beaming surround effects deep into the room and making certain passages of Pearl Harbor completely envelop the listening position. The best illustration is the scene in which Cuba Gooding Jr. is boxing on the ship's deck - the noise of the baying crowd sounds like it's coming from all around the room - but it'll also have you ducking for cover during the Pearl Harbor attack. You do have to move about a bit to find the sweet spot, but once there the effect is rewarding.

There's also a warmth and attention to detail in its music playback that you simply wouldn't get through TV speakers, and the Music DSP mode earns its stripes by making music sound more open and colourful then straight stereo.

Verdict

The Denon DHT-FS5 is the rarest of creatures - a ‘front surround' system that actually delivers something approaching true 5.1 channel sound. In fact it packs a real punch in all areas of its audio performance, making it one of the best soundbars we've encountered. It's also incredibly easy to use and although it lacks a bit of cosmetic pizzazz, the neat and unimposing design should make it a welcome addition to your living room. Our only qualm is the price, as you can pick up a full 5.1 system for less, but its high quality performance certainly won't leave you feeling short-changed.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 7
  • Features 8
  • Design 7

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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