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In action the Motiv 3 system doesn't disappoint, delivering a surprisingly smooth and persuasive sound with a variety of audio sources. The size of the speakers proves not to be an obstacle at all, as they fill the room with a much grander sound than we were expecting. In fact, rooms up to 20m² in capacity are comfortably catered for, which puts most one-box system speakers to shame.
Our first port of call was The Dark Knight on Blu-ray, whose brutal Dolby TrueHD track provides the perfect showcase for the system's talents. Throughout the movie, the satellite speakers prove to be admirably eloquent and versatile, teasing out plenty of detail and delivering the complete frequency range with coherence and control.
Busy action sequences like the car chase or the opening bank robbery reveal surprisingly deep bass capabilities, giving the subwoofer less to do than you might imagine, plus it's distinct in the midrange and treble is conveyed without sounding tinny or brash.
It's complemented by well-rounded and strident dialogue, giving The Joker's creepy monologues an extra air of menace, while transient sounds like gun shots and crashes make a resounding impact - for example, you feel each and every punch that Batman lands on the Joker during their interrogation room showdown.
As for the A 300 SW sub, it's a real revelation. We've tested a few one-box system subs recently and have criticised their loose control and flabby output, but this is in a different class - low frequency effects are clean and muscular with a pleasingly dry tone, but it keeps them under firm control and merges them seamlessly with the satellites. It may not reach the fiery, foundation-shaking levels of the System 9's monster bass-box, but this is a really impressive effort nonetheless.
Music playback is equally impressive. Corinne Bailey Rae's Since I've Been Loving You on CD is a thing of beauty, lending a beautiful tone to Rae's delicate voice and conveying the double bass with pleasing solidity and admirable timing.
If you're looking for a speaker system that doesn't make demands on your precious space but musters a big, sophisticated sound, then the Motiv 3 should be at the top of your shopping list.
Not only do the spherical satellites boast a distinctive design and robust build quality, but they're also assured performers, producing a surprisingly mature, neutral and full-bodied sound that belies their diminutive dimensions.
It's also pleasing to discover that the subwoofer has the ability to reinforce the bottom end without dominating the soundstage, a trait that ruins many a one-box system. Overall, this is a top-notch speaker system that's worth every penny of its price tag.
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