Infinity TSS-4000 review: Infinity TSS-4000

The Good High-style six-piece speaker package; slender multidriver satellites; incredibly versatile stand and mounting options; 10-inch, 150-watt powered subwoofer; superior sound quality.

The Bad State-of-the-art speakers don't come cheap.

The Bottom Line Infinity's seriously svelte TSS-4000 speaker package combines gorgeous styling with refined sound.

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8.3 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

We see it all the time: flat-screen TVs partnered with equally thin speakers. Sure, they look swell together, but the skinny speakers' sound rarely matches the picture quality of the high-definition TVs. Thankfully that's not the case with the Infinity TSS-4000. Pick up one of the TSS (Total Speaker Solutions) satellites, and hold it in your hands; you'll get a sense for their robust build quality. Turn them on and you can feel the exceptionally crisp and clear sound. Each satellite comes with a highly versatile wall mount and an adjustable table stand. But this level of quality doesn't come cheap--the Infinity TSS-4000 package will cost you about $2,000 for the complete 5.1 array. Despite costing "only" $2,000, the Infinity TSS-4000 offers build quality that's right up there with that of the company's higher-end models, so it will look smart sharing the wall with a pricey plasma TV. The package includes a pair of left- and right-front satellites, a center-channel speaker, a pair of surround speakers, and a powered subwoofer. The speaker set is available in platinum and charcoal finishes.

The satellites' clever table stand comes with a variety of spacers; the idea is that you can approximately match the height of the satellites to that of your table-mounted TV. The satellites and the center-channel speaker are packed with all-metal wall-mount brackets.

Optional 25-inch-tall floor stands for the satellites run $280 each and really give the speakers a sleek, high-end appearance. Stands for the surround sats go for $179 a pair. For the ultimate custom look, you can also buy a kit to mount the satellites and the center-channel speaker flush with the wall. The Infinity TSS-4000 is just an all-in-one package of Total Solutions Series speakers that are available separately. The two front speakers are TSS-Sat4000s, which otherwise go for $500 apiece; the center is the aptly named TSS-Center4000, also $500; and the two surrounds are the smaller TSS-Sat1100s ($150 each). The TSS-Sub750 subwoofer ($400) rounds out the system. Do the math and you'll see that the package deal saves you $200 over buying the components individually. But because the speakers are available as separates, you have the flexibility to expand your home theater to a 6.1- or 7.1-channel configuration. Alternately, you can build a customized system from the ground up and mix in a larger subwoofer, such as the 12-inch TSS-Sub4000 ($1,000).

Each of the component speakers features Infinity's advanced Metal Matrix Diaphragm (MMD) aluminum driver arrays; they're anodized on both sides to increase rigidity and lower distortion. The satellites and the center-channel speaker use three-way multidriver designs; each has four 3.5-inch woofers, two 3.5-inch midrange drivers, and an 0.75-inch tweeter. The surround speakers employ the same drivers but reduce the driver count to two 3.5-inch woofers and a single 0.75-inch MMD tweeter. On each speaker, the tweeters are mounted in a waveguide that Infinity claims provides precise imaging, even frequency response, and controlled directivity over a wide listening area. The speakers' all-metal, gold-plated connectors accept banana plugs, spades, or bare wire ends.

The subwoofer packs a side-mounted 10-inch driver and a 150-watt amplifier. The sparsely populated back panel offers a volume control, a variable 50Hz-to-150Hz crossover control, a pair of RCA inputs, a 0/180-degree phase switch, and a crossover bypass switch. They're all important features, but we especially like the crossover bypass because it eases tuning chores during setup (many subs lack this nifty feature). Most plasma-friendly speakers are sold on their good looks, with sound quality of secondary importance. While they can sound passable on straight-ahead dramas and background music, too often they lack the gravitas to really put over special-effects-driven DVDs or heavy-rock CDs. The Infinity TSS-4000 didn't suffer from those performance deficiencies; it quickly proved itself a serious contender when we played Aerosmith's Honkin' On Bobo CD--the band's take-no-prisoners blues romp "You Gotta Move" kicked plenty hard. The subwoofer's sure-footed control finessed pitch definition like a champ, and its deep bass extension was excellent.

The sound on Neil Young's Unplugged CD took our breath away. We initially listened in stereo, and the Infinity TSS-4000's two satellite speakers projected a fully developed three-dimensional soundstage with an impressive sense of depth. The speakers' refined tonality revealed an exquisite naturalness to the recording's sound--voices, guitars, bass, drums, and Neil's piano were all vividly presented.

Revving up to the Infinity TSS-4000's home-theater mode, we cruised through the DVD of Crash. The film's soundtrack bounces from brash--when the characters literally crash into each other--to subtle, but the Infinity system always kept the edge. It didn't call attention to itself; it just went about its business, pulling us ever deeper into the film. In the DVD The Day After Tomorrow, close encounters with the tsunami slamming into Manhattan felt fully visceral, and dialogue remained clear through all of the onscreen mayhem.

Still, we're duty-bound to put the system's abilities in perspective; when the going gets tough, the Infinity TSS-4000 won't be as powerful as the full-size Infinity Primus speakers we previously tested, which offer a bigger sound highlighted by a more fleshed-out mid- and deep bass. The TSS-4000 sounds awfully good on its own, with truly remarkable midrange and treble purity; however, the Primus 360 towers and their full-size brethren can put across full-throttle home-theater drama and hard-core music with greater conviction. Ultimately, if its no-holds-barred home theater you crave, size still matters. That said, the TSS-4000's vivid sound is the perfect audio complement to a high-definition TV.

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