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Jamo A 101 HCS 5 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



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Jamo A 101 HCS 5


Our Score:


In action the A 101 HCS 5 is an absolute revelation. We approached the system with a certain level of trepidation given the bargain basement price and the size of the satellites, but the Jamo confounds all expectations with a thrilling, detailed and surprisingly smooth performance. We started with our trusty Avatar Blu-ray disc, and after hearing the assurance and maturity with which it handles the epic action scenes we couldn’t quite believe that this is only a £300 system.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5

Take the ‘Battle for Pandora’ sequence for instance. Despite its diminutive size, this system has an acute understanding of how to convey drama and scale, with thumping helicopter blades, flapping banshee wings and roaring engines sounding absolutely huge. James Horner’s score also boasts urgency and drive, plus the breathtaking flurry of machine guns, zooming missiles and crunching trees are crisp and forceful without giving you cause to reach for the volume dial.

The ‘Banshee Rookery’ scene is equally spellbinding. The soaring strings and choral voices as the Na’vi take flight sound rich and mellifluous, while the creatures’ screeching is suitably prominent yet easy on the ear – some speakers at this price make them sound harsh and abrasive.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5

Flipping to some of the movie’s less adrenalin-fuelled scenes, we find the Jamo is able to handle subtle detail with admirable eloquence. As Jake and Neytiri escape into the forest to, er, consummate their partnership, the gentle chirping and fluttering of the surrounding insects, running water and whispering voices of the ancestors are clearly audible and drift around the soundstage beautifully. It’s not the last word in detail reproduction, but certainly digs deeper than a £300 system has any right to.

Dialogue is also smooth and forthright, making it easy to hear no matter how frenzied the action. It’s all topped off by a superb performance from the A 101 SUB, which delivers tight, agile bass that doesn’t overpower the satellites. In fact the sats and sub are a match made in heaven, boasting fluid integration and a seamless crossover. It moves some serious air, pounding out bass effects with gusto.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5

Next we tried out some music and were greatly impressed. A clip of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City Music Hall in Dolby True HD is a treat, with crisp and sparky guitars and smooth voices. A little more detail, depth and transparency would have taken it to the next level, but that would be straying into floorstander territory – as compact systems go, it’s an absolute belter.


If you thought that being on a sub-£500 budget for your speakers meant you had to greatly compromise on sound quality then think again. The Jamo A 101 HCS 5 is proof that you can get exciting, dynamic and detailed sound without having to clutter up your room with massive floorstanders and van-sized subs – the only compact system we’ve heard in this price class that comes close is the Tannoy HTS-101. Not only has it impressed us with its price and performance, but it also comes with an innovative, space-saving sub, plus those dinky, wall-mountable satellites are sure to go down well with those who like their speakers to be heard but not seen. Impressive.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 10


July 25, 2011, 4:38 pm

How do they compare with the Boston Acoustics Soundware XS 5.1?


July 26, 2011, 4:45 pm

I was wondering the exact same thing regarding the Boston Acoustics. I was looking at getting the Bostons in a few weeks but not I'm unsure with these coming out.

Tony Walker

July 28, 2011, 8:26 am

You've not told us what amp you were using. If they're being used with an expensive amp then the price of these speakers is moot.


August 1, 2011, 5:49 pm

I'll be using them with na Onkyo TX-SR608.

PJ Matthews

August 17, 2011, 5:11 pm

I'm going to be using these with a Sony DH810 Amp. After about a year of trying to decide what speakers to get and ALMOST purchasing some Q Acoustics I'm amazed these have turned up. They will actually match my Sony 46HX803. These will make a nice budget speaker set! Only £230!


August 19, 2011, 3:52 pm

I'm a newbie to home cimema, but please help. I think this type of system is for me, and in the suitable price range. I've looked at the specs of the system, but how can I connect this to a Samsung LED TV I'm about to buy using only the line in / out from the subwoofer? Would I need a separate amp if I wanted to do this and use a DVD player as well ? Thanks.


October 4, 2011, 1:30 am

i've recently bought these speakers and am currently deciding which amp to pair with them. i've never owned a surround sound system before so i can't wait until i this system up and running, so i can't comment on the sound yet. it took a bit of negotiation with my better half before she agreed on this system. the only issue i have is the satellites won't sit level without the supplied stands attached, consequently the centre speaker sits too high and creates an obstruction in front of the tv. if i tell my wife i have to raise the tv by attaching it to the wall there'll be divorce proceedings! the only other way round this is to use a bit of blutac and attach this speaker to the tv stand? i wish jamo had included stands for all the satellites as i'd planned to have the two surrounds sitting on display units either side of the seated area, the only other option is speaker stands or attach them to the wall. my better half ain't gonna be best pleased as i'd promised her minimum disruption.


March 1, 2014, 12:03 am

i want to ask if I can use reciever YAMAHA RX-V373 for my jamo a 101, because I see the yamaha i 8ohms, and the jamo are 6ohms, please help if I can use the YAMAHA or NOT!!!!

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