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Jamo A101HCS5 review

Gives you grown-up sound from a starter surround sound package Tested at £230

Our Verdict

At the price the Jamo gets plenty right – it’s a smashing way to get started

For

  • Affordable
  • surprisingly expansive sound
  • detailed and punchy

Against

  • A little coarse at the top
  • a little mono-tonal at the bottom
  • short cables

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

At the price the Jamo gets plenty right – it’s a smashing way to get started

Pros

  • + Affordable
  • + surprisingly expansive sound
  • + detailed and punchy

Cons

  • - A little coarse at the top
  • - a little mono-tonal at the bottom
  • - short cables

Getting surround sound on a budget usually means ‘home cinema in a box’,
but Danish specialist Jamo is here to offer succour to those who’d rather have the flexibility of a separates system.

The £230 A101 HCS5 speaker package is priced for those dipping a toe in the water and sized to please those for whom space is tight.

Tabletop stands/wall brackets included
It comprises five A101 satellites (three tabletop stands are included, and each speaker has a mounting plate for walls), each featuring a single 8cm driver, and an A101 sub (which can also be wall-mounted).

The sub’s 20cm driver and passive radiator work on a fixed boundary provided by the floor or wall. The need for angled cables means you’re stuck with those supplied.

The A101 HCS5 works gamely. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack to the Big Lebowski Blu-ray is dialogue-heavy, but also features some quite expansive and punchy set-pieces, and the Jamo integrates well and offers good focus and detail.

Integration between satellites and sub isn’t too lumpy, and the soundstage is spacious enough to fill a small-to-medium sized listening room.

A great (and stylish) place to start
It’s not all good news, naturally. The top of the frequency range is coarse and rather lacking in extension, while at the opposite end the sub struggles to offer meaningful tonality and instead just bangs along a little.

But consider the performance in the context of the price and the A101 HCS5 is
an ideal way to get a feel for ‘proper’ cinema sound without leaping in at the deep end.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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