If you’re searching for a high-quality yet affordable multichannel speaker system, Roth Audio is always a good place to start. Its range of home cinema floorstanders, bookshelf speakers, centres and subwoofers all aim to deliver maximum bang for your buck.
Take this system for example, which is made up of speakers from Roth’s OLi series. Shop around online you can find the whole lot for just under £350, which already sounds like terrific value for money – particularly when you get them out of the boxes and inspect their beefy build quality.
The reason we’re taking a look at this system is to assess Roth’s brand new OLi C20 centre speaker and KH20 subwoofer, which cost around £75 and £130 respectively. These are joined by two pairs of OLi 10 bookshelf speakers for the front and rear channels, an which were launched last year and cost around £70 a pair.
The OLi C20 centre is an absolute monster, measuring 533mm wide by 203mm deep. That might not make it particularly convenient when it comes to installation, but that sort of cabinet volume can only be a good thing in terms of dialogue performance.
What also counts in its favour is the elegant, understated design, which blends a classy black wood-effect finish on top with gloss black side panels. It’s reassuringly heavy and impressively built, making it tremendous value before we’ve even had a listen. On the back is a pair of gold-plated binding posts, further evidence of its impressive build quality.
The Oli 10s meanwhile are similarly robust and quietly stylish. Each one stands 200mm tall and boasts the same black wood veneer and gloss black trim as the C20. The sides are slightly curved, while the front grille can be pulled from its plug fixings (which is quite tricky) to reveal eye-catching silver surrounds and a phase plug poking out of the woofer. Some might find them a little plain and bulky, others will love this understated ‘classic’ look. Build quality on these is fantastic for such modestly-priced speakers, as it is across the system.
Ironically, the speaker you’re most likely to hide away is the best-looking of the lot. The KH20 powered subwoofer is styled from head to toe in a lustrous gloss black finish, with elegant curves on each corner and a generally solid feel about the cabinet. It’s a front-firing design, with a cloth grille covering up the 8in woofer.