Infinity's Total Speaker Solutions packaged systems were designed with a look to hook flat-panel TV buyers. Infinity's industrial designers nixed boring rectangular boxes in favor of flowing curves and smooth angles. The speakers are all less than 3 inches deep--which makes them flatter than most thin TVs--and the subwoofer carries over the speakers' sensual curves and tapered corners. The six-piece TSS-800 system ($900) features four satellite speakers, a center speaker, and a powered subwoofer. All six speakers feature Infinity's proprietary MMD (Metal Matrix Diaphragm) anodized aluminum drivers, which may account for the TSS-800's sonic clarity. We did, however, find fault with the subwoofer: it wasn't a good match with the satellite speakers. Worse yet, the TSS-800 lacked the power to convey full-throttle home theater dynamics. While the sound redeemed itself somewhat on music, the sub continued to sabotage the overall experience. The Infinity TSS-800's satellites speakers' contoured, curved, and tapered aluminum cabinets should look great on the wall mounted next to a flat-panel TV. The TSS-800 set includes four 9.1 x 3.75 x 2.75-inch (HWD) satellite speakers, and one similarly slender 13-inch-wide center-channel speaker. They're all fitted with perforated metal grilles. Rounding out the system is a full-size, 15.75 x 14 x 15-inch (HWD) subwoofer. The sub's textured vinyl-wrapped, medium-density fiberboard cabinet matches the satellites' curves--it's really very attractive. The TSS-800 is available in platinum or charcoal finishes.
The satellites can be placed on a shelf once you're attached the elegantly curved, all-metal table stands, or wall mounted with the included brackets. The center speaker can also be wall mounted or placed on the base cradle. The Infinity TSS-800's satellites are two-way designs employing a single 3.5-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch dome tweeter; the center speaker is similar, but with two woofers. Instead of commonplace metal, plastic or fiber materials, the TSS-800's woofer and tweeter are fabricated from Infinity's proprietary MMD (Metal Matrix Diaphragms). Infinity claims the advanced materials improve sonic accuracy.
The satellites' curved shape minimizes internal standing waves and resonance to produce low distortion sound. Instead of the typical plastic spring-clip connectors the speakers boast all-metal, gold-plated connectors that accept banana plugs, spades, or bare wire ends.
The subwoofer uses a down-firing 10-inch MMD woofer and venting port. The 150-watt amplifier is rated for continuous power and can deliver as much as 300 watts for brief musical or home theater dynamic peaks. The rear panel has volume and variable crossover (50Hz to 150Hz) control, a pair of RCA inputs, a separate LFE (Low Frequency Effects) input and a 0/180 degree phase switch. Right out of the box, the Infinity TSS-800's sound was thin, so we had to work a little harder than usual to fatten up the sound. Our first mistake was using the subwoofer's LFE (Low Frequency Effects, a.k.a. direct) input that bypasses the sub's internal crossover, as recommended in the TSS-800's owner's manual. That strategy relies on the A/V receiver's internal crossover, which almost always yields the smoothest sat/sub blend--but not this time. The huge bass gap between the subwoofer and the satellites was responsible for the thin, downright anemic tonal balance. We next tried the line-level RCA input and used the sub's built-in crossover, set to three-o'clock position, which filled in some of the bass between the sub and sats. We found subwoofer placement in the room, and distance from the satellites, to be crucial--the smoothest blend will occur when the subwoofer is placed in close proximity of the front three speakers. Once it's more than 4 feet away, you'll be aware that all the bass is coming from sub and none from the speakers.