What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 28 Sep 2009, 9:00am

I.US i700

Tested at £140
80100
4

If a big, beefy sound at the price appeals, jump right in. But we'd trade a little of the bluster for greater control

Write your own review

For

  • Dynamic, full-scale sound with ample punch and drive
  • plenty of cabinet for your money

Against

  • Don'
  • t focus or organise as well as we'
  • d like

Anyone who is familiar with the i.Us brand is unlikely to associate it with budget-conscious stereo loudspeakers. Nevertheless, here are the i.Us i700 standmounters, the opening salvo in a brand new, subwoofer-heavy range of affordable speakers.

The i700s are an imposing proposition by the standards of their price-comparable peers, the substantial cabinet dimensions meaning there's plenty of room for a 15cm fibreglass driver and 25mm dome tweeter.

At the back you'll find proper, biwirable speaker cable binding posts but no reflex port – these are closed cabinets, suggesting a certain amount of flexibility with room positioning. Build quality and finish are unspectacular, but then the price shouldn't lead you to expect anything more.

In the end, the i700s turn out to be far happier out in some free space than backed up against a wall – if their physical size doesn't discourage you from thinking of them as a bookshelf option, the sound certainly will.

Room-filling audio
Out in the listening room and anchored to some appropriate stands, the scale and weight of the sound is the most immediately impressive aspect of the i700s' performance: David Bowie's Cat People (Putting Out Fire) fills the room without any stress or strain.

Low frequencies are attacked with purpose, vocals are delivered with every Gawd-blimey-Missus mannerism intact, and the top end doesn't confuse crispness with glare.

But, like an office worker who's handed in his notice, the i700s are a little lax where organisation is concerned.

The soundstage isn't the most explicit, and there's a tendency for sounds to be piled, wedding-cake-like, on top of each other – the individual threads of denser, or more complex, recordings can be difficult to follow. Which makes the i.Us i700s an interesting alternative rather than a nailed-on front-runner.

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