- Powerful sound
- Excellent build quality
- Clever, convenient control console
- No HD audio decoding or HDMI inputs
- Design might not suit living room
- Dedicated home cinema speakers dish out more detail
Review Price £296.96
Design and connections
Although this 5.1-channel home cinema package is primarily intended for use with a PC, it’s equally at home in an AV environment thanks to its generous range of connections and features – particularly its THX certification, which means it satisfies George Lucas’ exacting standards for movie playback.
What you get in the box is a set of five compact satellite speakers and a powered subwoofer, which altogether muster a pretty impressive 500W of power – not to be sniffed at from a compact system. The identical front and rear satellites sport rather chunky, inelegant bodywork, plus their dark grey finish and meshed grille on the front give them a techy, PC-centric look that some people might not want in their living room, but you can certainly get away with it.
Their build quality is extraordinary – those chunky enclosures make them remarkably sturdy, to the point where you can imagine them walking away unscathed from a fall down the stairs (but we didn’t try that out). We like the way each satellite faces upwards slightly when placed on the tabletop too, and as an added bonus you can wall mount them thanks to the screw holes on the back. You also get a dedicated centre speaker, which is horizontally orientated.
As for the subwoofer, it’s cube-shaped and compact, which shouldn’t pose major problems whether you’re shoving it under a desk or behind the TV, and is styled to match the satellites. It’s a side-firing design with an 8in driver, and is equipped with audio decoders, a 165W amplifier and all of the system’s connections.
These include three digital audio inputs (two optical and one coaxial), which will come in handy if you want to connect multiple sources simultaneously (a DVD or Blu-ray player, Sky box and games console for instance). There’s also a six-channel direct input for connecting PCs, an analogue stereo input and a 3.5mm input for MP3 players and the like. There’s also a panel of springclip terminals for the supplied speaker wire, and these are also found on the back of each speaker, instead of binding posts. It’s a shame there are no HDMI inputs or HD audio decoding, which would have made this more suitable for use with Blu-ray players and games consoles.