Playing a selection of tunes from our PC, it didn’t take us long to realise that the WS80i is a superb performer. These are proper hi-fi speakers, offering tremendous bass depth that lends weight and warmth to music like Incognito’s Transatlantic RPM. House and dance beats get a fast, attacking delivery, backed up by tight bass response, while vocals sound smooth and natural, not nasal. High frequencies are also reasonably crisp, although it’s not the most open sound we’ve ever heard. For that reason they can’t match the out-and-out airiness and detail retrieval of front speakers from the likes of Acoustic Energy and Monitor Audio, but this is a much better performance than we expected, given their ‘jack of all trades’ approach.
Next we plugged the transmitter into to our Samsung Blu-ray deck (connected to its analogue stereo outputs) and tried out the system with Children of Men on Blu-ray. The WS80s put a decent amount of muscle behind it, which helps capture the excitement and scale of the movie’s action scenes. Their punchy bass output, strong midrange and clear high frequencies make this a dynamic and engaging listen, particularly the pulsating ambush scene in the woods. The sound of raspy motorbike engines, shouting voices, gunshots and explosions are conveyed with pleasing clarity and oomph. They also provide a wide stereo soundstage.
In terms of signal stability it worked fine in any room of the house upstairs and down, maintaining the excellent sound quality, although it spluttered when we took the laptop for walkies around the garden and pushed it to the limits of its quoted range.
It may not be a completely wireless system, but there are still plenty of reasons to give Blue Aura’s impressive speaker system a whirl. Primarily its sound quality is fantastic, rich in bass and detail, which makes movies and music from any source sound highly enjoyable. Then there’s the build quality and design, which will make these speakers a talking point in any room. They’re also easy to install, provided you can overcome the need to put the speaker near mains sockets, and easy to use thanks to the nifty remote and quick, reliable ‘three zone’ wireless transmission system. Yes it’s fairly pricey at £400, but the overall sound and build quality won’t leave you feeling short-changed. And on that basis we can’t wait to hear more from this promising new company.