Incredibly, Jamo has once again come up with a system that punches well above its weight in sound quality. It takes everything we loved about the A101 HCS 5 and cranks it up a few notches, producing the sort of thunderous sound that you might not have thought possible at this price.
From the off the S426 HCS 3 smacks you round the chops with immense power, beefed up in no small part by the stentorian SUB 260. You don’t have to ramp its volume up very high before it starts to make an impact, gelling the whole sound together with fluid, forthright bass notes. The crossover with the S426s is nigh-on imperceptible.
But turn it off and you’ll soon discover that the S426’s own bass extension is pretty impressive, meaning that you could, if you really wanted to, use them without a subwoofer and still get an enjoyably balanced and bassy sound.
This excellent bass performance is backed up by a robust midrange and clear high frequencies. During Hellboy II’s riotous action scenes, the cacophony of smashing glass, crunching metal, gunshots and screeching creatures sounds aggressive but is rendered with admirable control. So you can push it as loud as you like without the system getting horrendously bright and shouty, although one or two effects pushed it slightly over the edge.
Detail levels are decent too. Although the system doesn’t dig out the very finest minutiae in the same way more expensive speakers do, it delivers a crisp and open sound, while dialogue sounds clear and surround effects are suitably absorbing.
Next we fed the system some music on CD – in this case The Lapdancer by Soulpersona – and the ultra-funky, super-soulful grooves sounded absolutely gorgeous through these speakers. There’s incredible solidity and punch in the drums and lower frequencies that gets your foot tapping, while the shuffling hi-hats simmer along crisply at the other end of the spectrum. Some listeners may hanker for even greater finesse and transparency – after all, this is a system designed with movies in mind – but it’s still a reasonably musical system.
Jamo continues its unbelievable hot streak with another home cinema system that delivers scintillating sonics at an affordable price. The sound is bigger and more potent than the A101 HCS 5 thanks to the talents of the S426 fronts, and if you invest in the SUB 260 you’ll be treated to some of the deepest, tightest bass available at this price point.
It’s not perfect – some areas of its design reflect the low price tag, and it goes for high-octane excitement over finesse, which might not be what you’re looking for from a speaker system. But most movie lovers will be blown away by what this great-value system can do.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 9