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Jamo PJ 8000PDD.1 review: Jamo PJ 8000PDD.1

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The Good Good high-end clarity. Great vocal reproduction. Strong subwoofer performance. Excellent build and finish. Stylish slim-line design.

The Bad Middle frequency hole. Sharp high frequency bias. Subwoofer muddy at higher volumes. Scratchy sibilance at higher volumes.

The Bottom Line For the money, it is very easy to recommend the Jamo PJ 8000PDD.1 surround speaker system. In comparison to other compact systems of the same size, power and price it performed remarkably strongly, especially at the higher and lower ends. The good build quality and design employed by Jamo certainly helps distinguish this system from the competition.

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Jamo's PJ 8000PDD.1 surround speaker system is a top performer in the compact satellite and subwoofer package market, with the high build quality and design to be expected from one of the world's largest speaker manufacturers. Good high-end clarity and low-end performance helps to distinguish this compact system from the numerous similar systems on the market. Although relatively inexpensive, there is nothing to suggest that this system is in any ways cheap.

Design
Jamo's PJ 8000PDD.1 compact surround speaker system has all the hallmarks of quality associated with this feted Danish speaker manufacturer. This compact system is one of the newest additions to Jamo's huge line up of speaker packages, priced in the extremely competitive entry-level compact surround speaker system market. However, while it may be one of Jamo's smallest and least expensive speaker packages it would appear no corners have been cut in terms of quality.

Immediately evident is the weight of the speakers, which is largely due to the solid slim-line brushed aluminium enclosures. Many similar sized and priced compact speaker systems have all plastic bodies instead, but the PJ 8000PDD.1 system has only plastic top and bottom plates, or side plates in the case of the centre speaker.

Features
The FC 8000 front speakers are 1025mm tall yet elegantly slim and come with heavy circular matching silver aluminium bases that are attached by four bolts with the Allen key provided. The sleek cabinet designs feature curved aluminium sides that taper towards the inverted rear edge, which is featureless except for the recessed panel located at the bottom that contains the speaker terminals and a screw mounting point.

The front towers are a two-way design featuring two 64mm mid-bass drivers and a 19mm tweeter behind non-removable grilles. Frequency range is stated as 100-20000Hz and sensitivity is reasonably low at 86dB. Nominal power is rated at 60 watts up to 90 watts maximum into 6 ohms. The CC 8000 centre speaker has horizontal orientation and shares the same drivers and two-way configuration as the front towers, with a slightly higher frequency range of 120-20000Hz but the same sensitivity and power ratings.

The SC 8000 surround speakers are the smallest of the package and have only one mid-bass driver and a tweeter in a two-way configuration. Frequency response is also slightly higher at 150-20000Hz as well as lower sensitivity of 84dB. Power ratings are also down to 50 watt nominal and 70 watts peak. All the speakers have an impedance of 6 ohms and identical crossover points of 2500Hz. Two wall mounting brackets are also provided for the surround speakers. The speaker terminals are high quality colour-coded circular steel push terminals that accept fairly small gauge speaker wire, 30m of which is included in the package.

The active subwoofer in our review system was an SW 6000-A unit, rather than the SW 8000-A that is pictured in the PJ 8000PDD.1 speaker system manual. Curiously, the SW 6000-A is actually larger and more powerful than the SW 8000-A, with a 200mm (8-inch) woofer over a 165mm (6.5-inch) and a 70 watt internal amplifier over the 40 watt amplifier in the SW 8000-A. The SW 6000-A also has a larger cube design rather than the tall rectangular design of the SW 8000-A.

Both the woofer and the bass-reflex port are downward firing in the SW 6000-A and the cube is suitably plain in design, finished in brushed silver to match the speakers. The rear panel houses low level RCA inputs along with the power switch and fuse, with two dials that control the subwoofer level and variable crossover point between 70Hz and150Hz.

Performance
The PJ 8000PDD.1 package was tested with a KiSS DP-470 DVD receiver, which was well matched with power rated at 5 x 50 watts and the subwoofer connected via low level RCA. A number of reference DVD movies and music discs were first played to test the home theatre performance of the speakers and overall demonstrated quite pleasing results.

During movie playback dialogue was very clear and easy to comprehend; only ever overwhelmed when movie effects called the strong bass from the subwoofer into action. With the distinct emphasis on the high- and low-end performance, it was the mid-bass frequencies that were slightly lacking in this system, which is no surprise considering the small size of the drivers in the satellites compared to the relatively large 200mm subwoofer.

Similarly, music DVDs were strong at both high and low frequency ends of the scale with good clarity in vocals but a distinct hole in the midrange with some instruments becoming lost between the extremes. However, with its variable crossover the subwoofer could be set to keep the gap as narrow as possible. Notably, the subwoofer's performance was very good for such a relatively small unit, performing far stronger than its size would imply.

A number of audio CDs were also played in stereo mode to test the system's musicality, and the performance was again quite good, with excellent high-end clarity and good stereo separation and imaging. However, when pushed at higher volumes the high-end focus became a tad bright and could be scratchy verging on sibilance. With the subwoofer dialled up high to cover the middle frequencies, the low-end also became a little muddied at higher volumes with some distortion present when long and particularly low notes were hit.

However, the variable crossover and level means that the subwoofer can be adjusted to suit the type of media being played. At normal volume levels the speakers were bright and clear, with an overall natural sound that did not suffer from noticeable colour.

This lack of midrange punch is to be expected from compact satellite and subwoofer surround systems, due to the discrepancy between the driver sizes, with the strengths of the system focussed on the high-end clarity and low-end oomph. But one has to accept the power and frequency limitations of every compact system due to physical size, but for a large proportion of people who would only use this type of system in a small room or apartment, the power and performance would be more than acceptable. Certainly, the subwoofer's performance would resonate through the walls and floor strongly enough to annoy the neighbours. Overall, the good performance and quality of the PJ 8000PDD.1 makes this an extremely attractive package in the entry-level compact surround speaker system market.

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