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Customer Review

on 28 July 2012
I haven't really got room for full sized speakers, but I felt my existing small, entry-level Yamaha satellites bought as part of an AV bundle were lacking in presence. For ages I couldn't decide bewteen these Warfedales and the much-hyped, but large, Q-Acoustics 2000. In the end I went with these as the Q-A's cost half as much again and might be too large. I see the price of those seems to have dropped since...

The presentation is good. Each speaker comes neatly wrapped, each contained in its own bag, there is a pair of gloves to avoid fingerprints (although using them dramatically increases your chances of the speakers slipping out of your hands!), and the short manual is written to reinforce the idea that you have bought a high quality product. So, is it?

Well, sound-wise there is no doubt these speakers have a great deal more natural sounding mid-range than my old system. The general presence in the room is good. There's a decent amount of punch (for small satellites), although they sound rather "plastic-boxy" if driven hard. They're more than loud enough for my living room, but if you want speakers to shake the foundations or annoy the neighbours you'll want something with more oomph than these (or any other satellite). My AV amplifier has Audyssey MultEQ, so all of these comments only apply after correction - I've not really bothered to test much of the raw performance.

Unfortunately the subwoofer isn't anything special. In fact I've found it quite annoying. In terms of sound it's adequate, if uninspiring, but it takes very little to drive it into a state where the dual ports make a lot of noise and the whole thing sounds like it's being over-driven. I've backed right off on everything, killed Audyssey, muted the LFE channel by 10dB, added a 20Hz HPF, etc, but it will still do it on certain parts of bass-heavy soundtracks. I've not had this problem with either of the other two subs I've tried.

The sub, like most, has a power-down mode when there's no signal. Since the power light (a far too bright blue) stays on regardless it's hard to tell if the standby is active or not. However, some measurements with an energy monitor plug suggest the idle power consumption drops by only about 10%, so isn't worth using anyway.

The unit I have also seems to have developed a minor fault where one of the control knobs has a microphonic effect. Just touching it can cause quiet thumps and pops. More recently it has started to make little scratchy sounds all by itself. Hopefully I can get it replaced.

Overall, these speakers give clearer, tighter, more natural sound than my previous system, so I'm not unhappy with them in general. Unfortunately the subwoofer is a weak point and typifies what I can't help feeling is a relatively cheaply-made run-of-the-mill product dressed up to look like something more exotic than it really is. It could be argued that you could pay ten times as much for some speakers, so something cheaper is bound to have compromise. Nonetheless, for £400 I was expecting to be rather more impressed than this.
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