The trends in home cinema of late have been twofold: sprawling, expensive Atmos setups and more keenly priced systems that are 'wireless' to varying extents. Now, Damson has sort of combined the two!
Meet the S-Series (partly) full (sort of) wireless Atmos system, yours for 800 quids or bucks.
I went to a demo of this yesterday and for 800 notes, it's a very good sounding system. You also gain a lot of convenience from the rear speakers being wireless.
That's not only in terms of connectivity – via Damson's macho-sounding JetStreamNet wireless system – but also in terms of power. Their built in batteries are good for 8 hours of audio, although obviously this may vary depending on volume and how 'surroundy' the film you're watching is. The range is 'up to 50 metres', although I suspect anyone with a viewing room that big is probably gonna have a bit more than £800 to spend on a speaker setup.
The left, right, centre and vertical channels are all handled by the titchy 'soundbar' (more of a soundblock, really, at 24x8x6.5 cm). This takes the form of a pair of front firing speakers and a brace of upward firing ones, that bounce sound off the ceiling for the full Atmos 'it's got us surrounded!' audio effect.
The main audio processing unit and transmitter is actually the compact subwoofer, which finds room for 2 HDMI sockets, one 3.5mm input and support for Dolby Virtual, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos. Dolby is very much behind this setup it seems, contributing engineering assistance and hosting the launch at its Soho HQ.
Javier Foncillas, VP Commercial Partnerships, Europe, Dolby Laboratories, told T3, via a press release sent out y Damson, “Dolby Atmos offers breath-taking sound quality, that transforms the way consumers experience entertainment at home. We look forward to collaborating with Damson to offer greater flexibility and even more ways for consumers to be able to enjoy Dolby Atmos.”
The very compact S-Cube surrounds also serve as Bluetooth speakers, and the intention is to sell them separately. Ultimately, with upgrades, they could also be used as left/right speakers in an expanded S-Series setup, too.
Much as I liked the sound (for the price, anyway) and ease of setup, I do think these S-boxes are decidedly dowdy, but then a lot of people favour the 'look' that interior experts like to call 'nondescript and inoffensive'.