Mordaunt-Short is one of the older British loudspeaker brands, but there have been changes. The company is now part of the burgeoning D&M empire, and although designed in the UK, the loudspeakers are built in the Far East.

You get the benefit of design that suits the target market (British speaker design is prized in many of Mordaunt-Short's export markets) coupled with attractive pricing.

This system is a derivative of the original Premiere package that was launched several years ago, but which has been improved in various ways. This is especially true of the 302 and 304C satellites, which incorporate a re-profiled version of the bass/mid unit, a revised roll cone surround, and some structural changes to the drive unit basket and the enclosure itself, not least a new front plate with a restyled fl are around the tweeter, which helps control dispersion. All this amounts to an unusually thorough fi ne tuning exercise.

In the Premiere system, the specifi ed subwoofer is the 308W, a neat but essentially conventional design in a compact cubic enclosure and fitted with an 80W amplifi er and a 200mm drive unit. The 308W has all the usual adjustable features, and a set of screw-on feet that allow the bass cone to fi re downwards as Mother designer intended. The system can be bought at extra cost with a larger subwoofer called the 309W. In this confi guration, the system is known as the Premiere Plus.

Even with its slightly smaller enclosure, the 308W endows the Premiere system with an attractive bass. With perfectly reasonable depth and power, it is nevertheless quite tuneful, and a good match for the satellites, with an optimum handover around 100Hz.

The bass end of this system has an attractive quality, and blends in better than with many small sub/sat systems where the subwoofer is forced to handle frequencies which make its location all too obvious when listening.

The real strength of this system lies in the satellite speakers, particularly the use of what might be described as a 'proper' centre speaker. It has a single tweeter and two bass units in common with most larger centre speakers, which means that it can sound bolder, and drive harder. Conversely, when working at moderate volume levels, the system is working more within its limits, which pays real dividends with the speech intelligibility, especially with expansive high octane soundtracks like Black Hawk Down.

The quality of the centre speaker is refl ected closely with the smaller 302 satellites that complete the rest of the system. Older versions of the 302 tended to be fairly relaxed, even distant-sounding thanks to a somewhat recessed midrange balance. The current model has gone some way to putting this right, and the system now sounds more even and expansive.

This exciting system has little trouble combining subtle soundstage detail with dynamic special effects, explosions and the like. There is a limit to what a compact system like this can be expected to do, but it does a more than creditable job most of the time.