The FS-20 uses a three way design, which means its crossover network splits the audio signal into three frequency bands and sends them to the relevant drivers. Those drivers include two 5¼-inch midrange drivers, a 1-inch tweeter and that all-important 8-inch woofer.
The S-20 rears opt for a two-way design, with a 4.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. The C-20 centre is also a two-way design but features two woofers, positioned either side of the 1in tweeter.
But enough babbling about tweeters and woofers, how does it sound? The good news is that the built-in woofers have absolutely no trouble replicating the visceral impact of a dedicated subwoofer. In fact, their bass output is so rich and muscular, you’d swear blind there was a real subwoofer at work.
Its efforts are best appreciated when tackling the thumping action of The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray. During the fist fight between Bane and Batman, the brutal blows are emitted in quick, punchy bursts of bass.
And when Bane blows up the football stadium – along with most of Gotham City – the explosions are rich and beefy, completely engulfing the room and giving the sound a remarkable sense of scale.
However, the speakers don’t control this powerful bass output as tightly as they might, which means raucous action scenes can get a little overbearing. Low frequencies dominate the soundstage and drown out some of the other elements from time to time. The best subs do their job without you really noticing – here we were a little too aware of their presence.
Fiddling with the settings in our AV receiver helped a little, but didn’t solve it completely. With a little more grip and agility it would be spot-on, but to be fair that’s difficult when dealing with a passive woofer.
But in every other respect the Audio Pro Avanto 5.0 HTS is a first-rate performer. Detail resolution is superb, letting you hear every little drop of the soundtrack, from the tinkle of breaking glass to the breathy nuances of Batman’s raspy voice. This results in a open, textured sound that you can really lose yourself in. It pays dividends during quiet scenes with subtle background ambience – the Audio Pro Avanto 5.0 HTS conveys everything with the utmost clarity and warmth.
We’re also impressed by the speakers’ drive, and their ability to stay composed in the mids and highs when reproducing loud action scenes – even when you crank the volume up high, although that’s when those woofers start taking over.
There’s also seamless tonal balance between all the speakers, allowing effects to pass from front to back without any discrepancies, while the C-20 does a commanding job with dialogue, articulating voices with complete lucidity.
Ther Audio Pro Avanto 5.0 HTS isn’t perfect. It's a little over-zealous in the bass department, but it's remarkable value and it remains an enormously entertaining performer that does a remarkable job of producing large-scale sound without a separate sub. It’s detailed, dynamic and immensely powerful – just make sure your ornaments are Blu-tacked down when you turn up the volume.
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