Jamo's new E 7 range of loudspeakers is designed to satisfy both movie viewers and music lovers. The system we are looking at here uses the smallest speakers in the range, the E 700 bookshelf models, in conjunction with the E 7CEN and E 7SUB to make a 5.1 system.
This set-up costs £800 and you can also add extra E 700s for 6.1 or 7.1 systems (you have to buy a pair, however, for £149).
Common to the range is Jamo's decoupled tweeter technology (DTT), which attempts to limit cabinet vibration when in use. The decoupling of the tweeter is claimed to reduce the influence of front baffle vibrations.
The midrange and bass driver diaphragms utilise a new, woven fibreglass/glue compound aimed at minimising colouration and boosting transparency.
Finally, the cabinets are constructed from high-density MDF, with the main edges offset at two degrees to minimise resonances and standing waves, and improve rigidity.
That's quite a lot of speaker technology to fit into the small E 700s. They carry a 102mm mid/bass driver and a 25mm DTT tweeter, set into a die-cast aluminium baffle plate. At the rear you will find a tuned port and gold-plated binding posts for cable connection. Power handling is a muscular 100W (140W short-term) and frequency response is quoted at 70Hz-20kHz.
The E 7CEN is considerably bigger, carrying a pair of the 102mm drivers flanking a single 25mm DTT tweeter. The use of the same drivers should mean that panned sound effects move smoothly around the soundstage.
Finally, the imposing E 7SUB packs a mighty 675W of peak power and rumbles down to 25Hz. A sealed-box design, it goes about its business with a 254mm driver and has an adjustable crossover point (40-150Hz), as well as a separate output level dial.
The subwoofer is capable of extremely subtle performance when its crossover point and output level are both set to the low end of the dial. This makes it possible to reserve the sub for adding reinforcement to the really important sound effects, such as explosions, without suffering from intrusive boominess on other passages.
Steadily turn that sub output up, however, and you can easily achieve the palpable bass output that action movies thrive on.
Cutting through this is the performance of the rest of the system. Far from being drowned out, they give as good as they get, with quite astonishing power handling. Crank that amp up and the little E 700s just shrug and get on with the job, pumping out a remarkably controlled and powerful sound. Subtlety is not sacrificed either. Quiet passages can be conveyed with a delicate touch and effects are steered seamlessly.
The centre unit does an excellent job on dialogue, which pans smoothly across the front soundstage when necessary, thanks to those matched drivers.
On music sources the power to restrain the subwoofer is welcome, although you can pump it up for heavier material or if you want to pretend you're at a concert.
The rather more subtle depths of a pure music source are also well handled by this system, and multi-channel sources such as DVD-Audio come alive far more than on a sub/sat system.
The asking price of around £800 might seem like a lot of money if you are also considering an all-in-one system, but this Jamo package is a genuine step up in performance over such options.
It deserves to be partnered with decent sidekicks in the amplifier and DVD departments, of course, but if you are willing to spend a bit more money to get better performance, while retaining the user-friendliness and discretion of a smaller speaker system, it should be considered. David Smith