Infinity is a stablemate of the even more famous JBL brand and both of them operate under the large and well resourced Harman International umbrella. While the two brands operate largely independently, one occasionally notices evidence of similar thinking such as the Infinity Classia C205.

Although several JBLs have come our way recently, this is actually the first Infinity to come in to us for scrutiny in more than five years. That may well be because the Classia C205 is new, even if some of the ingredients seem somewhat familiar. What is certain is that the styling and presentation, inspired by the Cascade series, are totally radical.

Unusual design

This little £400 per pair C205 two-way standmount comes in two versions. Both have painted near-black front, back and sides, deeply inscribed with vertical grooves giving a striped effect. The enclosure is slightly tapered, so that the rear is a little narrower at the back, and the rear vertical edges are post-formed.

The most striking feature is the top, which is oversize, shaped and strongly tilted downwards towards the front. This does, of course, mean you can't put things (like the post) on the top, as they just slide off! On our sample this is finished in high-gloss black, though cherry real-wood veneer is also available.

An oversize black grille, decorated top and bottom with shiny metal strips, nestles against the bottom edge of the oversize top. The back panel has two mounting lugs that can fit over screw heads protruding from a wall, so close-to-wall siting is clearly indicated.

The 133mm bass/mid driver has a deep-anodised alloy cone/dome diaphragm 95mm in diameter. Infinity calls this a CMMD (Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm), as the anodising process provides a thick oxide skin over the alloy substrate, considerably increasing stiffness. The 25mm tweeter also has a CMMD diaphragm and is front-loaded by a waveguide. A port sits alongside the drivers.

Sounding them out

Close-to-wall placement provides just about the right amount of bass reinforcement here, giving a fine overall balance with quite good smoothness and plenty of warmth and richness too, even though ultimate bass weight and scale is inevitably limited.

Stereo imaging is pretty good, with some evidence of depth perspectives, but the overall sound is rather restrained, giving a rather matter-of-fact delivery.

The bass certainly impresses on first acquaintance, because it's essentially smooth and warm, delivering a good impression of solidity and a surprisingly effective impression of size and spaciousness. But dynamic authority is a bit weak, the dynamic range is only competent and the overall sonic effect is just a bit lazy.

Fed with relatively undemanding material, such as AV sources where the moving picture tends to dominate the perception, the C205 delivers eminently satisfactory results – clean, even-handed and smooth, with little evident coloration and low distortion.

But with audio-only music sources, a mild degree of congestion and thickening plus a limited dynamic incisiveness does tend to dilute the experience.