To be fully THX approved, every single aspect of the system that plays a movie has to meet the THX criteria – and pay a fee to wear the coveted badge. The certification on the Jamo D500/D500 SUR speakers is proudly reproduced in their printed manuals.
It's THX Select2, signalling they are a bit less intense than Ultra2 and designed to better suit European living spaces.
The surround speakers are smallish slab-like boxes in two variants. A sealed left/centre/right (LCR) called D500 with five drivers, and a D500 SUR for use as a side or rear with the same number of speaker units in it, but differently arranged and a bit quieter.
In the D500 LCR, you find two workman-like drivers to do the bang and the low register, one on each side of the front face beneath the Jamo/THX double-badged cloth grille. There are also two 3-inch midrangers, and a high-efficiency tweeter nestling in between.
But what matters most is the THX Select2 certification, which decrees that thine rears shalt be diffuse dipolar types. So, on the D500 SUR, there is a single 5-inch driver under the grille firing forwards, plus a 3-inch and tweeter firing out of each end of the cabinet, along the walls in a dipole up and down, diffuse style.
The sealed box woofer, called D650 (for its peak wattage) is pretty and simple, with its blue LED-framed volume knob on the front. You get a 12V trigger socket on the back for systems control and there's a nifty room boundary compensator knob to go with the continually variable phase.
So if needs be, you can put the woofer in a corner, yet tame any mad room-boom thus induced with this control. This keeps bass better defined. You can set this by clever use of a real-time analyser in a full THX install, or simply do it by ear, as I did.
The amp in the woofer is a BASH design and that means bigger grip than the wattage might suggest. The 12-inch speaker oozes power and control. The manual tells you that just one of these subs will hit the THX Select2 spec. (For an Ultra2 system you will need two of them).
Spinning up some five-channel music, I quickly became dissatisfied. My taste runs more to the sitting-onstage-looking-out-at-the-audience sonic scenario, but THX is more suited to the classical live music recording where you will want only room ambience and even the shifting of feet and audience coughs rather than focused effects.
Cinematic soundtracks showed the system's ability much better. Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray delivered an immediate slap to the senses. It was huge and wonderful fun. This setup has some real oomph, but the sheer detail, articulation and effortless sonic placement is even more impressive.
The weight of the sound as you see Iron Man flings himself out of a military transporter was tangibly in the room, hitting me pleasantly in the sternum. The real skill of these THX speakers is their ability with detail and accurate placement of sound elements while under massive pressure. When a lot is going on, the director can still grab your attention with incidental sounds.
So, they sound brilliant, are gorgeous in their rich piano black finish and at £1,750 they're a bit of a bargain, too. Yes, Teufel's Select 2 system is £300 cheaper, but it's only available online – you can get a demo of this system before you buy.
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