on 22 July 2014
When it comes down to choosing a home theatre system you do have many options out there that will suffice most, if not, everyone. These include Sound bars, All in Ones, etc... But when it comes down to getting the best theatre experience in your home you need to get a Separate System which means you buy the Speakers separate, the Receiver separate and the Blu-Ray player or Media player separate. Now the reason that most people don't do this is because it costs quite a bit, as you can tell these speakers cost £329.99 which is the same price as an All in One Home Cinema System from Sony (BDV-E4100) for example.
However if you are looking at this review, chances are you want to buy this system to go along with whatever receiver and blu ray player you have chosen.
Let's first talk about the build quality of these speakers, these speakers are made from a solid piece of wood and then they have a high gloss black finish applied to them. Now the design is quite boxy and may not be to everyone's taste, but the design to me looks very neat and clean with no wild curves or angles. This allows the speakers to blend in with you existing TV and Stand, unless your stand has some extreme curves or angles. The high gloss black finish is a fingerprint magnet so when handling the speakers and sub do remember to clean them afterwards, also it will attract dust easily when first taken out of the box but this is due to the equipment having a static charge out of the box and this quickly goes away leaving the speakers looking very clean. Now when cleaning them I only recommend using a micro fibre cloth or something similar, would not recommend using any liquid cleaning substance as these are made from real wood so if you use the wrong cleaning substance you can tarnish the wood but if you just use a micro fibre cloth and wipe down the wood casing for a good period of time then you will get a very good finish.
Next let's talk about connecting these up, there are really only two ways to connect these speakers to your receiver; First you can use bare wire into which you put into the plugs which screw open exposing a small hole for the bare wire to go into but be careful here as if you tighten the plugs too much it will cut the wire so only tighten the plugs to the point where you can feel them pushing against the wire. The other option, which is the one I recommend, is using Banana Plugs which are small plugs which secure the speaker wire in a small housing and then plug directly into the speaker plugs and also the receiver. This is the more secure option as you won't need to worry about snapping or ripping the bare wire. Finally these speakers can take between 25-100W so really any receiver will work with these speakers but I always recommend using a receiver from a company who I trust such as Sony, Denon, Pioneer and Onkyo. I am currently using a Denon AVR-X2000 Receiver which does a fantastic job at bringing the best performance from these speakers and I highly recommend getting this receiver or something at this calibre. The speaker wire I am using is Electrosmart 18AWG Speaker Wire which is 5mm x 2.5mm is size, now the size or AWG of the speaker wire is not too important but I use this particular speaker wire because it is the same one I use in my Hi-Fi System and I have had no problems with it.
Before we get to sound quality let's talk about speaker placement, I have my rear surround speaker's position to my left and right with them sitting just above ear level. I have my front speakers positioned about 1 Metre from the centre of my stand to the left and right, then I have my centre channel speaker placed in the centre of my stand pointing slightly towards my ear level. If you have any issues when positioning your speakers then please go to Audioholics YouTube channel and check out there guide on speaker positioning. Finally I have my subwoofer placed at the front left corner of my living room, this position seems to work very well for me as the bass feels as if it coming from the entire floor and not a single point however subwoofer position may be different for you, all you need to do is experiment.
Finally let's get onto sound quality, now firstly these speakers keep sounding better each day I play them. The highs are very good, they are not piercing nor are they bland they provide a very nice upper layer to the frequency range that allow for high pitched sounds of the movie to be heard. The mids are very key for me as human voices fall into this frequency range and if the mids are poor then there is not point for me, I am happy to report that the mids are very well positioned and sound rich and full bodied which peoples voices really coming out to you but not overpowering especially in scene where you know it will be hard to hear someone and with the speakers that is shown. Finally the low end or bass, now most of the low end bass is taken care of by the subwoofer and it does a fantastic job giving great detail and precision to each thump it makes. The rest of the bass sound great with it being projected fantastically by the speakers but again not overpowering. These speakers paired with the Denon AVR-X2000 seem to perform perfectly, they just know when certain parts of the frequency range need to dominate a section of a film and when they do not, it is a very dynamic sound by which I mean during a film it will change as the film does it doesn't stick to one type of sound style it fits the film perfectly.
Overall I recommend this speaker system, it works perfectly on all levels and for me I can't find a fault with it. It does take time to get it just right, positioning to me a good hour to get it right and I also used the Audessey Mic System in the Denon AVR-X2000 which really perfected the speaker sound in my living room. I 100% recommend these speakers if you are looking for a great 5.1 Speaker System.
on 27 June 2013
I bought these to replace an earlier set of cheap surround speakers which were of too low impedence for my AV receiver, which asked for nominal 8 ohm speakers. In spite of reading a number of reviews, including one by a leading retailer which claimed the speakers were 8 ohm, it turns out that the two front speakers and the centre speaker are all 6 ohm nominal impedence (the surround speakers are 8 ohm). Not really a major problem, because I'm not running them at anything like full power.
The active subwoofer is very good indeed. It is quite large, as you might expect. Check the dimensions and the views of the other inhabitants before ordering. The two front towers are relatively compact, but solidly build, and deliver a clean sound with reasonable low frequency sounds. The centre speaker gives clear dialogue sound.
This product is available on offer from a number of suppliers, and I get the impression that it is about to be discontinued. If you can get it on offer, I would strongly recommend it.
on 21 September 2015
Decided to get a separates system again not long ago and whilst looking at different speaker packages I found these. Now I spotted the HTS101 but I preferred these because of the two front tower speakers which would save me having to get a pair of stands (I had a pair for the back two speakers already). I got these for £329 which seemed a bargain to me and seeing as the price has increased to £399 since I bought them, it looks like I was right.
They are certainly well made. Very heavy feeling and sturdy. The sub is a bit of a beast but really looks the business - I love the way you can manually control the output if it gets a bit too heavy and you cant be bothered to go into the settings on your amp. The system sounded great to me as soon as I wired it up and its sounding better as the weeks go by. Im noticing all kinds of stuff I never noticed with my old (decent) Sony all-in-one system. I would be a little wary of the surround speakers on existing stands - mine manage them OK but they are definitely on their maximum wright with these puppies and they are certainly more hefty than they look!
These work great with my new Sony STR-DN860 amp and I might even add a couple more of them later on, space willing. If you don't need anything too powerful and you want a nice unobtrusive speaker package for an average sized room, these will do it trust me. I am too scared to turn it up loud because its deafening!
Very happy and very pleased - great value even if you are paying £399.
on 2 July 2015
I love these speakers, I bought them to go with my Yamaha RX-V677 AV Amp and they sound great. I use them mainly for listening to music with a weekly film or 2. The floorstanding speakers add extra weight to the music and the sub-woofer is just perfectly balanced, only coming on when it is needed and not being too overpowering. I like them so much I've just ordered another 2 of the bookshelf speakers to add the presence to my surround sound system. It's true what people say that speakers need to be "bedded in", these sounded good from new but sound great after a couple of weeks use. If you are torn between these and another make with similar price and reviews then buy these, they're shiny!
on 4 April 2015
If you have a family TV in your living room, and want a good surround sound speaker system to add to it, this is a superb buy. Very powerful sound, especially from the sub. Excellent sound with movies. Good quality with music and all that most people will ever need. Very smart and compact tower speakers with a small footprint, and all the speakers use proper high quality drive units that comes through in the sound quality. And the price is just amazing. Buy with confidence.
on 3 May 2014
Very well build quality, stylish and sounds great when listen to music or movie . Room are medium sized and I can't put speakers in right positions to get best results but loud enough to hear from outside, windows shaking aswell. Downside witch is from my wife's side that on glossy finish easy to see dust:) I'm delighted and will recommend to anyone
on 11 August 2014
For entry level surround sound speaker package this is far more than I was expecting. It'd been a few years since being in the surround sound market and back then I never had much cash to invest in quality gear. After renewing my system with a seperate AV Receiver from a all in one system I had literally no idea where speaker package prices started and ended, the worlds your oyster when you think about the top end price!
Sound is sharp and clear, bass is very responsive and recovers quick with fast paced bass-ey music, in comparison to my Bose Sounddock Portable the audio is just as clear coming from a Sony STR-DN1040 Receiver. It's that good that I actually want another two of the surround speakers to match in order to get 7.1 audio as Pro-Logic IIz (Frontal Audio Depth)
I was looking at other brands such as Cambridge Audio and Q Accoustics and rained it in by thinking am I going to know that the speakers 3x the price are going to sound 3x the price, I reckon not and given these are a bargain for what you get they are probably quite close if your not an audiophile...
The speakers, towers are slim and fairly wife friendly (apart from the fact the piano black finish shows dust instantly!) smaller rear surround speakers are a good size and feature the same speakers in a smaller unit than the towers. Centre Speaker is larger than the surround speakers, and do note the dimensions as if you have wall mounted then TV you will have to work out where you're going to situate this one with a depth of 16.6cm + the speaker terminals which aren't part of the manufactures dimensions at a further 1.5cm.
Sub-Woofer is actually looking at the stats only classed as a Woofer due to dropping to 50hz and not beyond, have I noticed its lack of dropping? Heck no, I have listened to many different sorts of music and various action films which leads me to say that living in a 3 bedroom semi very conscious that even at low to moderate volume I'm disturbing the neighbours.
Another word on the sleek finish which is lovely, they will scratch very very easily so be careful. They are solid wood units with a gloss piano black finish that does look good but on the corners creates a very sharp corner, ensure these are not in an area your toddlers will play near.
All in all for what is a budget(ish) speaker package I am over the moon, the units are small enough to be seen as good quality but not overwhelming in many UK sized lounges. If you're looking at spending a few hundred pounds it's worth looking around to see what is potentially last years stock or going to be replaced to get a bargain, these were the same price as the set with no towers but four speaker the same size. Grab them whilst you still can, Proud to know these are British too.