The Oh by Tutondo OhL 5.1 system is much more than just a pretty face. Feed it a high-octane Blu-ray movie soundtrack like Hellboy II: The Golden Army (DTS HD Master Audio) and the sound quality is sensational. We skipped to Hellboy’s battle with the Elemental in chapter 12 and the chaos is reproduced with the sort of refinement and composure you’d expect.
The first thing that jumps out is the incredible amount of detail on offer. For example, after the Elemental has kicked the bucket, it disintegrates and causes plant life to grow over the ground and up the sides of buildings. As it does, the Oh speakers tease out the gentle fluttering of pollen on the wind, the quiet crunch of grass under foot and rustle of leaves with a level of clarity that few speakers can manage.
In fact, high-frequency handling through the entire scene is stunning. The sound of breaking glass and crunching metal as the Elemental crushes and stomps on cars is beautifully articulated, making every effect sound effortlessly realistic, while blasts from Hellboy’s ‘Big Baby’ gun have a proper snap behind them. That goes for both the front and rear speakers, immersing you in an expansive, detailed soundstage.
The rest of the frequency range is adeptly handled too – superb clarity in the mids allows dialogue to punch through the busiest scenes, while at the bottom end the OhL’s performance is illuminating. Rich, taut bass tones fuse cohesively with the satellites, providing a deep, powerful punch to the movie’s many combat scenes. It comes into its own during the showdown between Prince Nuada and Hellboy at the end – you feel every kick and thump, making it a potent, visceral experience. Also pleasing is how sympathetically the satellites and subwoofer work together, and of course the clockwork clanking of the Golden Army robots is wonderfully crisp.
Listening to the jazzy soul of Frank McComb’s A New Beginning CD through this system is like taking a big sip of brandy – it’s smooth, warm and intoxicating. The drums are snappy and dynamic, the Rhodes piano is rich and vibrant and McComb’s mellifluous voice is smoothly reproduced.
There’s no question that these are top drawer performers, expressive and articulate with movies and music, but it should be said that we have heard sound quality this good from systems costing half as much, such as the Monitor Audio Apex or the EMP Tek Impression. What you’re paying over five grand for are the super-fashionable designer looks and awesome build quality.
We know most readers don’t have the disposable cash to splash on an exuberant system like this, but should you win the lottery or sell a kidney and fancy giving the OhL a punt, then we don’t think you’d be disappointed. The classy Italian design, stunning build quality and outrageous subwoofer-come-lamp will surely blow the mind of anyone who claps eyes on them in your living room. But if decadent designer looks don’t interest you, then it’s reassuring to note that you can get similar sound quality from cheaper and more traditional-looking systems.