We selected Movie mode and settled down in front of Prometheus on Blu-ray. The system’s sound quality is phenomenally good, blowing us away with its pulse-racing power and remarkable composure.
What jumps out straight away, as the alien sips the substance and disintegrates into the river, is the amount of detail that pours from every speaker. From the sound of swishing water to the small delicate movements as he drinks the liquid, MASS finesses the noises so carefully and meticulously that you almost want to hold your breath and not disturb it.
As the movie progresses, the system’s superb detail reproduction makes it wonderfully atmospheric. As the team explore the caverns, creepy background noises and echoes off the walls flitter from the speakers, sounding crisp and lucid. This heightens the sense of dread and tension, proper hairs-on-end stuff.
MASS captures the drama of these build-up scenes brilliantly, but then snaps to life in a flash when there’s a jumpy bit. Nowhere is this more evident than when the alien creature attacks Fifield and Milburn – the sudden dynamic shift is fast and impactful, followed by a disgustingly realistic reproduction of the squelching, crunching and hissing of burning acid. It all sounds so evocative and gruesome.
But when presented with the movie’s massive set-pieces we see another side to the system – namely its ability to create a huge sound that engulfs the room. This is surprising given the size of the speakers, but if you listened blind there’s no way you’d know they were compacts.
So when Prometheus collides with the alien craft at the movie’s climax, you get an expansive, explosive sound with bags of energy but no signs of strain when pushed. The massive bangs and crashes are skilfully controlled and easy on the ear.
It’s underpinned by punchy, smoothly integrated bass from the subwoofer. Most of the time it works anonymously, padding out scenes with a subtle rumble, but when needed it explodes into life with terrific agility. The stabs of bass in the score are right on the money – quick and rhythmic.
Topping off this first-rate movie performance is clear and authoritative dialogue from the centre speaker. Switching to music, MASS’s clear reproduction of fine detail gives the sound an open feel and adds plenty of texture to vocals and acoustic guitars, while the sub propels uptempo material along with great agility.
We really don’t have a bad word to say about the MASS system. Its chic, distinctive design makes it a talking point in any living room, but more importantly its performance is stunning. It offers a powerful yet composed sound that easily fills the room, and presents detail with mesmerising clarity, ensuring a thrilling, atmospheric listening experience. At £800 it’s a little more expensive than most compact systems, but with looks, build quality and sound this good it’s worth every penny.