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Whatmough AV7 review: Whatmough AV7

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The Good Performs with both music and movies. Value for money. Solidly built.

The Bad Bland looks. Need a big room. Lacks some surround dispersion.

The Bottom Line Although a bit bland in the looks department, this belter of a surround sound system combines competent musical performance with bags of drama for movies and undeniable value for money.

8.2 Overall

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The Whatmough name has been around for the past 30-odd years and remains one of Australia's best-known loudspeaker brands. Like many home-grown audio brands it has moved some (not all) of its manufacturing to China, simply in order to remain competitive.

This is something we're familiar with in all facets of manufactured goods and it's no different in the consumer electronics/AV industry. What it does tend to mean for the end user, though, is a lot more product for their money.

Design and features

This is a complete 5.1-channel AV speaker system comprising a pair of floorstanders (AV7F), centre speaker (AV7C), pair of rear effects (AV7R) and an active subwoofer, the Tornado2. All are quite substantial in size and weight, and the system is best suited to a mid-sized/larger listening room. Discretion is not what this speaker system is about. Available only in a black vinyl wrap, aesthetics aren't exactly high on this speaker system's charm offensive either.

All share similar drivers for tonal consistency using cellulose fibre cone bass/mid drivers and a soft dome tweeter. The Tornado2 subwoofer packs 240 watts of Class A/B amplification driving a forward-firing, long-throw 10-inch (250mm) woofer. Whatmough has decided to opt for sealed cabinets, except for the AV7F floorstanders, which are bass reflex and front ported. This makes them more flexible with room/wall placement, but given their size, we'd recommend giving them plenty of space.

The specs make for pretty average reading — 6 and 8 ohm impedance and OK sensitivity, so we'd expect the system to partner with the vast majority of competent AV receiver/amplifiers.

Stereo performance

Used on their own, or with the Tornado2 subwoofer as reinforcement, the AV7F floorstanders are competent musical performers. They cover all the fundamental basics well — good stereo separation, broad soundstaging, plenty of stereo depth and accurate and stable stereo imagery. Bass is lean and well controlled, the mid-band fluid and higher frequencies sound relatively smooth and non-fatiguing. This is precisely the sort of performance you'd expect of a loudspeaker of this size, design and price.

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