What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 15 Oct 2007, 3:00pm

MJ Acoustics Xeno

Tested at £795
80100
4

A nice middle ground between style and traditional speaker packages, but when compared to the best of the latter, it falls short

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For

  • Brilliant integration between sub and sats
  • lovely styling
  • loads of detail from the centre speaker

Against

  • Overall detail and dynamics can be beaten by the very best

When is a style speaker package not a style speaker package? We reckon it's when each component is the size of a traditional one. That's why this MJ Acoustics package, though undeniably stylish, certainly needs to be judged against the quality of full-sized competition.

That cleared up, we're happy to report that the Xeno (derived from the Greek word for “strong voice”) stacks up very well against various similarly priced competitors.

MJ Acoustics makes a lot of its philosophy of building systems around its subwoofers, so it shouldn't be a great surprise to learn that the system as a whole benefits from really excellent integration between the units and through the frequency range.

However, though the bass is worked in nicely, it's not quite as deep or punchy as it could be. This can have quite an effect on explosive soundtracks, such as that found on Flags of Our Fathers.

Detail levels are also mixed. That fairly hefty centre speaker offers lots of insight, particularly into vocal performances, but isn't quite matched by the accompanying satellites. This means that the delivery doesn't have the overall detail of the very best.

Great looks – and nice legs
Our final niggle is with the Xeno's dynamics. We wouldn't go as far as to say they're bad, but that the leaders in this field manage to build tension and drama just a little more convincingly.

Overall, the Xeno offers great styling (be aware, though, that the stands are an extra), fantastic integration and good detail and dynamics

It's just that the very best traditional loudspeaker packages at this price offer more.

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