Jamo A 101 HCS 5 review

Jamo's sweet compact speakers prove size isn't everything

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For

  • Assertive sound quality
  • Innovative subwoofer

Against

  • Springclip speaker terminals

Removing the hassle of setting up a home cinema system the Jamo may be small in size but it's big on sound quality, Jamo's great-value compact system packs a hell of a punch

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when installing a home cinema system is finding space for all those extra boxes, but with Jamo's latest all-in-one bundle that's not an issue. The five identical satellites supplied with the A 101 HCS 5 are so compact that you'll hardly notice them in situ - until you play a movie that is.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5: Design

Each of the five satellites measures 91(w) x 145(h) x 51(d)mm and comes in fetching gloss-black lacquer or a funky white finish. At this price use of springclip terminals on the back instead of binding posts aren't really surprising, but apart from that build quality is solid. Their curvy shape is distinctive, a far cry from the boxy shape of most compact speakers, and because they're so shallow they won't look awkward when wall-mounted next to your TV - for that purpose there's a recess on the back for hanging them on a screw.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5: Features

The A 101 SUB is one of a kind. It's one of the most flexible subwoofers we've encountered, allowing you to mount it on the wall, lay on its side or even slide it under the sofa out of sight. It boasts twin 203mm drivers (one passive, one active) and a 200W amplifier - pretty powerful at this price. On top is a panel of controls that let you adjust the bass cut-off point, volume and phase. The A 101 satellites feature a newly-developed 76mm full-range driver with a frequency range of 170Hz to 20kHz.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5: Performance

Feed this system a Blu-ray movie soundtrack and the power and sense of scale it musters is a real surprise. Effects blast from every channel at a fast, punchy pace, but with the volume up high it doesn't show any signs of harshness or straining, which is impressive at this price. It's full, dynamic yet smooth on the ears, and despite the relatively poor low-frequency response of the satellites there's a palpable feeling of depth and punch in the bass frequencies - that's thanks to the excellent subwoofer, which is potent, agile and blends seamlessly with the satellites (provided you've set the bass crossover correctly). It also renders sonic detail expertly, teasing out delicate background effects during quiet scenes but not letting the finer details get drowned out during busy action scenes.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5: Verdict

We're not saying it's any sort of match for bigger and more sophisticated speaker packages, but in the world of compact systems it's among the best, a fact made even more impressive by its rock-bottom price.

Jamo A 101 HCS 5 price: £299,

Link: Jamo