In action the WS30i delivers some very pleasing results. We started with a selection of dance tunes played from our laptop and the first thing to notice is the remarkable depth and punchiness of the sound, imbuing fast, funky basslines and hard kick drums with considerable heft. You can add a subwoofer if you like, but with bass this powerful it might be overegging the cake.
There’s also a lovely crisp quality to the high frequencies, which allows hi-hats to shine through the mix, while vocals enjoy a smooth, prominent character and midrange frequencies don’t get left behind either. Perhaps it’s not quite as open and textured as some of the dedicated hi-fi and home cinema speakers we’ve tested of late, but at this price it would be unrealistic to expect the highest level of sophistication.
Next we connected the WS30i to a Blu-ray player and let it rip with Hellboy II. They cope admirably with the brutal, frenetic soundtrack, capturing the chaotic energy and dynamism of the scene without losing control or sounding bright. Big bangs and booms are conveyed with astonishing power, and the whole thing is a thrill ride from start to finish. Obviously you lose a lot of the excitement when listening to movies in stereo rather than surround, but if you’re upgrading from flatpanel TV speakers you won’t believe how much sharper and meatier they sound.
On the whole the WS30i delivers a performance that’ll make your £170 feel like money well spent.
The Blue Aura WS30i offers a remarkably rich and punchy performance with music and movies, plus their gorgeous build quality and stylish design justify the price tag further – and at £180 they’re much more affordable than their wireless stable-mates. They’re fairly easy to setup too, and with versatile mounting options and provision for two sources it shouldn’t be hard to integrate them into your room. So whatever your audio poison, be it digital music, CDs, Blu-ray discs or DVDs, the WS30i is a terrific choice.