We gave the Mythos system a blast of Hellboy II on Blu-ray (DTS HD Master Audio) as its mixture of gung-ho action scenes and intricately detailed quiet moments is a great way of revealing the range of any home cinema speaker.
Naturally we skipped straight to Hellboy’s battle with the Elemental (chapter 12) and on the whole we’re impressed by the quality on offer from the Mythos system, although it’s not quite the majestic, authoritative performance we were expecting for the money.
Let’s start with the positives. The XTR-50s stands head and shoulders above even the best TV speakers, offering a meatier, more detailed and potent sound. With the above action scene, you get a decent sense of scale, with the Elemental’s huge footsteps and general chaos around it relayed with real urgency and attack. These speakers also do a wonderful job of throwing sounds far and wide, as well as digging out detail.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the Troll Market scene, which is alive with subtle effects. The XTR-50s dig out stuff that would go under the radar of most flatpanel TVs and cheapo home cinema speakers, and it adds to the overall depth and immersion of the scene.
However, it is essential that you use these speakers with a subwoofer, so if you don’t already have one you’ll definitely need to factor in the extra cost. Without it the sound leans too greatly towards the top end, resulting in an unbalanced soundstage. Thankfully the system’s distributors won’t let you buy it without one (or will stongly advise against it) so that’s not really an issue.
That said, we could still detect a slightly bright edge to some of the high frequencies when pushed at loud volumes, which wasn’t a dealbreaker but didn’t always make for a comfortable listen and stopped it reaching the heights of KEF’s wonderful T205 slim-speaker system.
The Mythos XTR-50's beautifully-made aluminium enclosures are exactly what you expect from a set of speakers at this price, and their 38mm depth is something of a miracle, making them incredibly easy to wall mount. When installed they make a stylish yet discreet audio solution – a terrific way of upgrading from rubbish flatpanel TV speakers. It’s just a shame it couldn’t hit the sonic heights of KEF’s T205 – the lack of bass makes a subwoofer essential, but that’s something that not all buyers will fancy, plus the overall sound isn’t as polished as we’d like for the money.
Addendum: We have been made aware that this system is not meant to be sold without a subwoofer, and have re-evaluated our review to reflect this since over-emphasis of the top end without a dedicated sub was our main criticism.