Don't be put off by the 'lite' tag. These diminutive Tannoy speakers are the more affordable siblings of the HCC award-winning Arena package and come with an enviable technical heritage.
Stripped down to meet a much lower price point, the Arena Lite still boasts beautifully engineered heavy alloy enclosures with rubber baffle, base and trim. The impressive build inspires huge confidence.
Each speaker sports Tannoy's dual-concentric drive units with the tweeter positioned inside the woofer so that high and low frequencies originate from the same point. The dedicated centre channel has one of these plus a mid bass driver housed in a 4kg unit, ensuring there's no weakness in the front soundstage.
Despite the appearance of its downward firing woofer, the feisty sub integrates well with the satellites, impressively spanning the frequency range. With the sub set to a sensible level, you can reach soaring crescendos without straining the system or losing cohesion.
Dance Dance Dance
The snappy timing of the sub suits dance music particularly well too, especially when you're playing a Super Audio CD, like Groove Armada's Vertigo. The dual concentric drivers integrate WideBand tweeter technology - another hand down from Tannoy's high-end speakers - which seems to suit the SACD's uncompressed 5.1 mix.
The gutsy performance suits movie soundtracks really well too. Despite their squat stance, the four satellites project well into the room, creating a large soundstage. The excellent centre channel, meanwhile, delivers dialogue with an authority and definition that cuts through complicated mixes. The orchestral score from Blood Diamond on Blu-ray disc, for example, rises and falls in intensity without being crowded out by the copious aural effects.
If there is a weak link here, it's the subwoofer, although the TS10 is impressive in terms of tight and punchy delivery. The 300W RMS Bash amplifier seems almost too much for the small cabinet. It doesn't like being maxed out and reacts by lifting its own weight off the floor if you do.