Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
Good but be careful
on 11 October 2012
OK let's start with what matters - sound. The Sub is very very good for the money, it has extremely good phase control which means it's always in time with the smaller surround speakers, this isn't always the case even with more expensive systems and a very real positive. The surround and centre speakers themselves are pretty good, lower mid and mid range tones are accurate and clear, where this system falls down a little is in the treble department, not quite enough presence or definition in the higher frequency ranges though I would guess this would be the case with any system that doesn't employ separate tweeters. All in all if you've only got around £100.00 to spend then this little system is probably up there with the best you can get at this price point, the sub especially is a very clever design and were it housed in a more attractive box would sell for more than the price of the whole system on it's own, though granted it doesn't go really low in terms of frequency response. If you have one of the newer AV amps with tone controls or an equaliser (a lot of the older amps didn't though some at least had preset tone curves,)then I'd suggest you at least try these out and add a little treble, this makes matters a little better, but bottom line is these are not perfect as they stand. The catch 22 with speakers in this price bracket is this, if you've spent enough on an amp that will get the best out of them you'd probably be better off spending at least twice as much as this system costs on your speakers. If you have an older or cheaper amp I can understand why some of the other reviewers have been a little disapointed, but this would be exaclty the same with any other system at this price point. Do I wish I'd spent more - yes I do, Do I think these are worth the asking price - absolultey, even with the outlined flaws this system is still pretty good and much better than the ageing Celestion system it replaced which though over 10 years old cost a packet at the time.
Ok if you're not an audio geek stop reading here, you may just get very bored or think I'm a real geek, which I am.
As a few other reviewers have taken these things apart I thought I would too, here's the findings: In common with virtually every other manufacturer at this price point the speakers aren't made by the badge holder, i.e. these are not Pioneer Drive units, they are made by Inkel, the point is here that at least Inkel are a recognised speaker manufacturer and the drive units themselves are very well made.
The amp in the sub woofer is not a standard class AB amp it's class D. Here is not the place to explain the differences but wikipedia has a very good introduction to the subject should you so wish to explore, just search 'Class D Amplifier'. This does mean however that becuase of the way class D amps work it is entirely likley that signal transients will be much higher than the rated continuous power drain, no it's not breaking the laws of thermodynamics as one other reviewer suggested class D amps just apply them in a different way.
I do take the point that the RMS power handling of this and almost every other surround sound speaker package is a tad misleading for a realistic equivelent RMS value for this system I'd suggest the following, each satellite is 30 watts and the sub, is approaching 50 watts, how much exactly do you want in a living room? Also remember that RMS (Route Mean Squared) is around 70% of total transient power capability.
If you can use a soldering iron, do the following to improve things a little, but obvioulsy afterwards don't be daft enough to turn things up too loud. The surround and centre speakers have thermal fuses in them, a hi-fi no no, if your going to use decent cable (I used QED Micro) take the existing internal cable out and replace it with decent stuff and remove the thermal fuse. Your warranty - your choice, obvioulsy make sure you get the polarity right and don't over tighten the screws on re-assembly or you'll bust the plastic casing.
I went a bit further and purchased a refurb second set of the surrounds and centre only, made my own crossovers and brackets and loaded the second set with pretty decent tweeters, yep they now sound a lot better thanks, do I wish I'd just spent a bit more in the first place - yep.