It would be an overstatement to suggest that Audio Pro, a Swedish company founded in 1978, invented the subwoofer. But I like to feel that it was Audio Pro which helped make this one-time American oddity it into something practical and, eventually, desirable, in Europe.
Audio Pro's key contribution was an invention called ACE (Amplifi er Controlled Euphonic) Bass, which modifi es the physical parameters of a drive unit mounted in a box with electrical properties programmed into the partnering amplifi er. The idea was to extend and strengthen the performance of enclosures too small to produce useful bass when used conventionally.
ACE Bass has been used on all Audio Pro subwoofers from that time to the present day, including the otherwise conventional looking PS-8 sub included here. However the PM-02 satellites could be matched to a number of alternative woofers from the same stable. Other options include pedestal floor stands for the satellites.
Surprisingly perhaps, the most intriguing feature of this system is not the subwoofer, which ultimately does not outstrip some of the rival subs reviewed elsewhere, but the PM-02 satellite which is used for the whole of the rest of the system - front, rear and centre. It is fabricated from thick aluminium panels, and houses a tiny soft dome tweeter flanked by two 75mm bass/mid drivers (more mid than bass, obviously).
In common with the Morel system reviewed elsewhere, the Audio Pro satellites can't be connected using 4mm plugs, so you'll have to use bare wires or spade terminals. Included with each satellite is a slide on backing plate which can be used as a support if they are to be used on a shelf, or screwed to a wall. What most people will notice first however is the superb build and fi nish of the speaker itself, which is way beyond what you might reasonably expect at this price level.
The subwoofer is more conventionally fi nished, and doesn't have the same classy aesthetics, but the shallow profi le of the satellites, and wall mounting arrangements make this system a natural for use with wall-mounted plasma and LCD TVs.
The satellites are definitely the stars here. They are clean and agile-sounding, with a slightly spiky treble. The PM-02 satellite has a neutral, expressive and welllayered midband, making it a speaker that can convey depth of information. The bass tails off at lower frequencies, just as you would expect, but less so than some similarly small diminutive speakers. The system retained its intelligibility through diffi cult, complex soundtracks - Lord of the Rings for example, but it sounded a little fl at with Black Hawk Down.
The sub works adequately, but is not of quite the same calibre as the satellites, which is no refl ection on Audio Pro's ACE Bass technology, but an inevitable consequence of the cost-cutting that was necessary to get it built at the price. It plugs the bass octaves well enough, and is quite adept at dealing with some special effects, the odd explosion and the like, but the texture of the bass is slightly loose, and occasionally even boomy.
Overall, there's much to like about this package, though given the option - and Audio Pro does allow this - I might be tempted to buy the Audio Pro satellites with a different sub, although this would probably mean breaking our self-imposed budget. But even as supplied, this can be considered an above average system, and an obvious front runner for use with wall-mounted flat screens.