When is an equipment rack not an equipment rack? How about when it has an array of speakers and an amplifier built-in?
That's right, the Sound Space, from newcomer S&C, is not only a place to perch your equipment, it's also a home cinema in a box, capable of accepting sound signals from a variety of sources, before chucking them out via six mid/bass drivers and two tweeters on the front, and a downward-firing subwoofer.
It's a nice, neat idea, but not an unqualified success. The unit has two optical inputs, which accept PCM signals, plus RCA and six-channel analogue inputs. There's no HDMI, so you'll still have to connect your electronics directly to your TV for video, which is a bit of a shame.
Room-filling presentationWe tested a variety of components, using all types of connection available, but the results were pretty much the same.
Firstly, there's no virtual surround processing going on here, so there isn't even a preconception that you're going to get genuine surround sound.
More after the break
What you get instead is a nice, wide presentation, that does a pretty good job of filling a medium-sized room. There are a variety of 'modes' to choose from, from 'Concert' to 'Cinema' to 'Rock', but we found bypassing these produced the best results.
Whichever you go with, detail levels are pretty good and the whole sound integrates well.
Subwoofer fails to go deepHowever, although you can adjust the subwoofer's volume levels, it refuses to go very deep, and this sacrifices quite a degree of scale, weight and authority, which means the delivery is a little lightweight all-round. Needless to say, the Sound Space's sonic performance is still a vast improvement over that of a flatscreen TV, so if you're in the market for a new rack anyway, it's certainly worth considering.
Still, we would warn prospective buyers that the rack is a bit short, a bit wide and only has room for your TV and two sources. If it still meets your requirements, though, take a look.