If you're looking to improve your home theatre sound there are usually two options: a cheap home-theatre-in-a-box system or an expensive, room-filling 5.1 speaker and receiver package. But what if you want somewhere in between price-wise with the discretion that a sub-sat system offers?
Jamo's solution is the A200HCS5, a 5.1 speaker pack priced around the AU$1000 sweet spot. It features five discrete satellites, each housing a 3-inch driver and a 25mm tweeter, plus a SUB 210 8-inch subwoofer rated at 200W.
The system comes in a "huge range of black" (or white) with the plastic satellites featuring a funky grille and piano finish on the rear. The satellites feature a "push button" speaker wire clip that will fit smaller gauge wires but not your Monster Cables or other exotica.
The speakers come with metallic, iMac-like stands, though our kit only included three instead of five. The speakers can also be wall-mounted, and in either configuration they can be seated horizontally or vertically.
The satellites feature a 150Hz-20kHz frequency response, while the sub is 38Hz-200Hz, so setting the crossover on the receiver sub itself to 150Hz will maximise sound quality.
We mated the Jamo system with a Pioneer VSX-1021 receiver and employed the amp's Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC) to calibrate the speakers. While it successfully recognised the satellites as small, it set the crossover to 100Hz — leaving a giant hole in the bottom of the sound. Going into the settings and changing this to 150Hz greatly rectified things.
It could be no surprise that a system that is designed to "upgrade your TV's sound" is ideally suited to movies. Whether it was intimate dialogue or criss-crossing surround sound effects, the Jamo proved itself to be an effective home cinema system. Effect steering was seamless between all of the speakers thanks to the identical drivers, with a bright detailed sound that suited the latest blockbusters.
Music was also quite successful, and the presence boost in the upper mids meant that acoustic music and vocals sounded both present and intimate. Imaging was very good, with real space between the speakers, but for the best integration we found it better to mount the speakers horizontally rather than vertically. Rock and dance were also well handled, and we discovered the system could go relatively loud without distorting. On occasions, the system did trade an overly bright sound for warmth and so a full-sized system would better it for musical punch.
If you're looking for a dedicated speaker package at about a grand, and don't want to go for bulky floor-mounted speakers then a sub-sat system like the Jamo A200HCS5 is an excellent option. It's discrete, relatively easy to set-up, and will play both movies and music well for the money.