What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 16 May 2008, 10:00am

Jamo A405HCS5

Tested at £600
80100
4

The Jamo gets a lot right, and is a smart looker, but it overplays its sensible and grown-up credentials when it comes to sound

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For

  • Understated good looks
  • big, convincing soundstage
  • gives a considered, non-threatening sound

Against

  • Not the most thrilling listen
  • some low-frequency woolliness

We can't imagine ‘plenty of black acoustic cloth' appears high up most folks' list of priorities when they're choosing a stylish speaker system. However, in the A405HCS5 package Jamo has – for some reason – delivered a set-up swathed in black fabric.

Despite this, and thanks to their pleasing triangular shape, the A400 centre channel, A405 fronts and A402 rear speakers manage to be discreet if you're not looking at them and mildly interesting if you are. Even the tidily proportioned subwoofer gets away with its black fabric toupee.

All five loudspeakers are supplied with integrated wall-mounting brackets, and the front pair come with table-top stands as well. Each speaker has rudimentary, but effective, cable management built in – though the small aperture and basic spring-clip binding posts dictate that narrow speaker cable is the order of the day.

The subwoofer is compact enough to be easily sited. The entire system is helpfully simple and straightforward to position.     

Slightly soft-focus sound
With Letters from Iwo Jima (the best HD audio soundtrack we've heard) the A405HCS5 performs respectably. The soundstage is broad and deep, and effects are steered around it precisely. Dialogue remains distinct and easy to follow, and the Jamo sensibly errs on the side of caution when the going gets really hectic, fighting against hardness at the top of the frequency range.

The subwoofer delves deep and summons adequate punch, though there's not quite the body or control of the best rivals. This slight woolliness translates throughout the system and is more pronounced when playing music.

The Jamo can't summon the necessary bite to maximise movie soundtracks, and the overall signature of the A405HCS5 is, like a projector that's imperfectly focused, slightly blurred around the edges.

Heard in isolation, it's scarcely an issue, but in a group of price-comparable rivals, it's an undeniable flaw of the system.

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