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Jamo A 402 HCS: 5.1 speakers with bonus marital harmony

Speaker systems cause at least 40 per cent of all divorces. Probably. So why not prevent a costly breakup by simply buying some speakers that aren't as ugly as a shaved cat

If you've persuaded the love of your life to accept a large-screen TV into your lounge, please accept our hearty congratulations. But have you managed to get the seal of approval for a surround-sound speaker system? We didn't think so. The reason for spousal speaker hatred is simple: speakers can be as ugly as a shaved cat.

Luckily, not everyone is out to ruin your design ethic. Jamo has thought long and hard about the problem and come up with a well-designed, compact set of speakers that are subtle and easy to install.

The A 402 HCS system is made up of speakers from the A 400 range. In the box you get four surround satellites -- the A 402 -- for the front, rear, left and right channels. There's also an A 400 CEN for the centre dialogue channel and an A 400 SUB, which is the hard-hitting subwoofer, for exploiting those epic movie explosions.

The satellite speakers are tiny, and easy to fit to the wall -- a simple bracket is included for mounting and the speaker ports are concealed beneath a lift-off flap. Our only concern with these dinky speakers is that there isn't much scope to use hefty speaker cable with the slightly dinky clip ports Jamo has used. The benefits of thicker cable are subject to some considerable debate though, so you may not consider this an issue at all. If you're an audiophile, you'll be buying reference speakers anyway.

The subwoofer is surprisingly hefty, and has plenty of controls to customise the sound it produces too. It has 22k ohm impedance and can whack noise out from 40Hz to 150Hz. The centre channel features a pair of woofers and a tweeter to handle the nuances of speech, and is also easily wall-mountable.

You can get the A 402 HCS online now for around £400, which really isn't a bad price for six beautiful speakers. -Ian Morris