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Niro 400 review:

Niro 400

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The Good Micro-HTIB design; teensy single speaker; wall-hugging subwoofer; no-brainer setup.

The Bad You supply the DVD player; no video switching.

The Bottom Line It may come from only one small speaker and a sub, but in a bedroom or a den, the Niro 400's sound looms large.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.1 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 6.0

Niro 400 series

With the introduction of the Niro 400, the company has taken its small-is-beautiful design philosophy to a new, devilishly compact size. More compact than most center speakers, the microsized main speaker features an array of five 2-inch drivers and measures just 7.9 inches wide, 2.6 inches high, and 5.3 inches deep. The wall-hugging subwoofer, which has a forward-firing 5-inch driver, is also small: just 5.1 inches deep, 12.6 inches wide, and 8.7 inches high. And powering the whole thing is an amplifier that comes in at a scant 7.9 inches wide, 2.2 inches high, and 11.7 inches deep. The color-coordinated system can be had in orange, silver, gray, or indigo, and is sold direct on Niro's Web site for $450.

Like other Niro HTIBs we've tested, the 400 is remarkably easy to set up. You won't have to navigate setup menus or calibrate sound levels--there's nothing to adjust, and we had our review sample up and running in about five minutes. The included remote offers direct access to the bass and treble controls as well as to the subwoofer, center, and rear-channel volume levels.

As for power ratings, the amplifier dishes out 24 watts to each of the five drivers in the main speaker and 40 watts to the sub. Niro's proprietary surround processing, along with Dolby and DTS, work together to synthesize surround effects from the main speaker. Niro's technology is a closed system; if the amplifier breaks, you can't replace it with a standard, off-the-shelf amplifier or receiver. Also, the main speaker works only with Niro electronics.

Connectivity options are scant: you get one coaxial and two optical digital inputs and one analog stereo input. Video switching isn't part of the plan; the 400 routes only audio signals, so you'll need to hook up your DVD player, game console, and/or cable box directly to your TV (the 400 doesn't include a DVD player).

The 400 is also fitted with an output jack that accepts Niro's "personal theater" speaker, the MovieMouse (see our review of the MovieMouse for more in-depth analysis of its unique design).

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