What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 15 May 2008, 3:00pm

Audica CX

Tested at £1500
80100
4

A covetable and capable system that’s notably effective with music, but it’s not short of slightly more poised competition

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For

  • Stylish and discreet looks
  • fine integration and focus

Against

  • Not the most natural-sounding centre speaker we’ve ever heard

If you're a bit of a minimalist, Audica's elegant CX system could be the multichannel speaker package for you. The graceful teardrop shape is no less agreeable for its familiarity – the CX-T front speakers are particularly pleasing, as the spiked, glass bottom plate effectively vanishes when you've got the speakers in situ.

The centre channel is discreet enough to hide out underneath any flatscreen; the rear speakers are winningly compact, and wall brackets are available too. Even the CX-Sub subwoofer gets in on the act, partially hiding its necessary bulk in a smartly swoopy cabinet.

Pulled from the packaging, the CX system caused more than a few raised eyebrows when running from new. It sounded as thin and aggressive as Naomi Campbell. Two days and nights of running in were required before the Audica developed some equilibrium, but it was time well spent.

Sounding out the CX
Playing a couple of contrasting high-def audio soundtracks (The Shining's doom-laden strings, and Ratatouille's crash-bang-wallop), the CX system impresses with the even integrity of its sound. At the bottom end, the subwoofer offers presence and articulation while amalgamating smoothly with its five partners.

At the top of the frequency range, explosives and percussives shine without splashiness. The movement of effects is rigidly focused, the Audicas creating an expansive and convincing soundstage.

It's the same where multichannel music is concerned – the rigour of the CX's focus and imaging is revealed nicely by David Bowie's Stage DVD-A. Dynamically adept and musical, the Audica delivers with toe-tapping rhythmic ability.

What about that centre?
Our one real area of concern is the way the CX-C centre speaker delivers dialogue: there's not quite the widescreen presentation the rest of the system brings. Instead, voices are a little constrained.

It's not a trait that hampers enjoyment of a movie, but as there's no shortage of competition at this price from speaker set-ups both great and small, it's enough to stop us giving the CX system an unqualified recommendation.

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