‘Integration’. That’s the word on most reviewers’ lips when it comes to critiquing sub/sat packages.
It’s all well and good throwing some speakers and a subwoofer together, but if the two don’t work in harmony, you might as well leave them on the shop floor. Nobody likes a disjointed, unbalanced system.
Thankfully, Bowers & Wilkins know a thing or two about speaker design and integration, so it comes as no major shock that the company’s M-1 satellites and ASW608 subwoofer gel perfectly.
Bass notes from the sub don’t delve quite as deep as some rivals, but there’s no bass lag to hinder music or movie soundtracks.
Only those with a listening room of football-pitch proportions might require any extra weight.
Spin Michael Jackson’s This Is It Blu-ray and each bass drum kick during They Don’t Care About Us sounds taut, punchy and superbly defined. Musically, it’s one of the most accomplished performers we've seen.
Weighty and robust
The M-1 satellites feel weighty and robust – the curved aluminium cabinets are machined to an exceptionally high standard.
Concealed behind each speaker grille is a 2.5cm metal dome tweeter and 10cm glass fibre cone, which B&W specially made for this speaker. The result is a punchy, rhythmic and entertaining sound.
The soundstage doesn’t quite have the reach or lavish span of some close rivals, but the upside is B&W’s focus on precision.
As Ben Affleck’s gang go toe-to-toe with the police in The Town, gunfire rattles around your seating position with breakneck speed and agility. This makes for an enthralling, highly captivating surround sound experience.
Low-level dynamics are treated with the same finesse as the gung-ho action, which the B&Ws reproduce with great authenticity. This makes any sudden shift to any action all the more dramatic.
Be careful with partnering kit
So are there any drawbacks? Well, next to some systems, the B&W can sound a touch lean, so prospective owners will have to be a bit wary when it comes to system matching.
The M-1s are also a little fiddly to wire up, although hardly any of the systems in this test are immune from this criticism.
We haven’t changed our mind about the MT-25. It’s still outstanding, and delivers serious bangs for your buck