Damson S-Sequence overview | TechRadar

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Damson’s S-Sequence speaker system stands out from the fast-growing hordes of handy Dolby Atmos sound options in a few probably thrilling methods. 

First, it’s extremely compact for a system that gives a real 5.1.2 speaker configuration. Second, each a part of its speaker system, from the separate rears via to its subwoofer, centre/left/proper soundbar and two upfiring drivers, talk with one another utterly wirelessly. The one wires in sight listed here are energy cables. 

Put these two key options collectively and the Damson S-Sequence may very well be simply the lounge pleasant but in addition uncompromising Atmos answer residence cinema followers have been ready for. (Spoiler: It isn’t.)

Design

Damson S-Sequence Specs

Dimensions: Soundbar: 240(w) x 65(h) x 75(d)mm | Speaker configuration: 5.1.2 | Claimed audio energy: 130W | Connections: Two HDMIs in, one HDMI out (4K HDR/Dolby Imaginative and prescient loopthrough supported), Bluetooth 

Trying on the S-Sequence’ diminutive field, it’s arduous to imagine that tucked away inside is a set of 5 particular person speaker parts. However tucked inside they’re – and it’s obvious as you begin unpacking them that whereas they be small, some parts, at the least, are very properly constructed. 

That is very true of the 2 rears, that are weighty sufficient to function bookends. Besides that you may’t truly use them as that, since they’ve drivers mounted down their sides in addition to throughout their fronts, to assist them ship the broader sound anticipated of the Dolby Atmos ‘object-based’ sound system. This locations sounds inside a created 3D audio house fairly than merely reproducing sounds instantly at a specific speaker ‘channel’. 

The remarkably small entrance soundbar slots right into a neat ‘Dolby Atmos’ adaptor that carries two up- and barely forward-firing audio system designed to ship Atmos’s top channel results by reflecting hold forth your ceiling. Little magnets maintain the centre speaker firmly within the jaws of the Atmos adaptor, and the adaptor additionally attracts its energy from the slotted-in centre. It doesn’t want a separate energy provide.

There’s one downside with the Atmos adapter, although. The factor is, it stands practically 12cm tall – excessive sufficient to jut up into the image of most TVs in case you merely place it on the desk in entrance of your TV’s stand. And you’ll’t conceal it in a shelf beneath the TV, as this will disrupt the upfiring audio system on the Dolby Atmos adapter.

Whereas the Atmos adaptor is just too tall, the 240mm-wide centre speaker is definitely fairly alarmingly small for a speaker that’s going to hold a lot sound high quality weight on its shoulders. 

The identical is true, truly, of the subwoofer part. It does handle to cram a reasonably large, front-firing driver into its patented ‘UltraThin’ body, however its lack of any depth and barely flimsy construct high quality raises considerations about simply how low it would be capable to go. 

Neither the subwoofer nor every other a part of the system carries an LED show. As a substitute, the one technique to hold observe of what enter you’ve received chosen is a color coded lighting system on the sub and centre audio system. The shortage of a show is disappointing for an $800/£800 system – as is the minimal quantity of management choices supplied by the fairly light-weight distant management. 

The distant additionally loses factors for weirdly cramming all of its buttons right into a weirdly small space of its floor, and for not making these buttons very distinguished. 

All elements of the system are moderately engaging and properly completed. So lengthy, anyway, as ‘mostly black with metallic silver trim’ is your factor.

Options

The S-Sequence’ headline grabbers are its remarkably compact audio system, wi-fi five-speaker arrange, and help for Dolby Atmos. There are, although, a number of extra ins and outs worthy of point out.

For starters, whereas the S-Sequence doesn’t carry decoding of the DTS:X object-based sound system (as supported by a rising variety of 4K Blu-rays, together with the not too long ago launched Jurassic Park boxset), it does at the least convert DTS:X into Dolby Digital Plus. 

Whereas this doesn’t present DTS:X’s true object-based impact, it’s at the least a useful step up from the rather more restricted conversion state of affairs witnessed with some earlier Dolby Atmos soundbars/compact methods.

The system’s connectivity is all discovered on the subwoofer. This might show annoying for some, on condition that many individuals like to cover subwoofers (which produce non-directional sound) out of sight fairly than inserting them close to their TV and different AV equipment. 

The connections comprise two HDMI inputs, an HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC) help, an AUX enter, and Bluetooth. The HDMI loopthrough impressively helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough in addition to HDR10. Although I ought to say that whereas the loopthrough labored wonderful with Oppo 203 and Sony X700 4K Blu-ray gamers, it didn’t work with my Panasonic UB900 for some motive.

All of the audio system within the system discuss to one another by way of the JetStreamNet wi-fi platform, and the ’S-Dice’ rears even carry in-built rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries so that you don’t have to tether them to plug sockets whenever you’re utilizing them. Offered you’ve remembered to cost them up first. 

The rears are reckoned to run for round eight hours at 70% quantity on a full cost – and this determine didn’t appear overly optimistic throughout our exams.

It’s value including, too, that you may chain eight S-Cubes collectively if you want, for a multi-speaker, multi-room arrange.

The core S-Sequence system pumps out a claimed 130W of sound. Which in fact doesn’t sound a lot when you think about that Samsung’s HW-Okay950 system delivers 500W of complete energy output. Hopefully the audio system show delicate sufficient to maximise the potential of these 130 Watts.

Efficiency

The Damson S-Sequence’ sound high quality is a combined bag that barely struggles to justify its hefty price ticket. That mentioned, it does succeed from time-to-time.

Beginning with the excellent news, the system sparkles in terms of delivering results throughout your room. There are daring transitions from entrance to again, again to entrance and facet to facet, and results are positioned throughout the Dolby Atmos 3D house with precision and readability. This even applies to the peak channel results, with Damson’s ‘ceiling deflection’ strategy working significantly better than I might have anticipated from a system that’s not precisely spilling over with energy.

In a perfect world the rear audio system would have carried angled up-firing audio system too, however the deflection system deployed by the ‘Atmos adaptor’ nonetheless manages to create a satisfactory sense of Dolby Atmos’s audio ‘bubble’.

The Atmos bubble is massive sufficient in scale to fill a mid-sized room, too, and the fronts and rears are properly matched in tone. 

On the flip facet, the most important downside is the shortage of bass. The subwoofer doesn’t simply wrestle to ship actually deep, highly effective bass – it struggles to make itself heard in any respect. There’s only a obscure, withdrawn sense of distant rumbling throughout scenes that I do know from expertise ought to have your foundations cracking.

In addition to promoting Dolby Atmos’s bass attribute brief, the reluctance/lack of ability of the subwoofer to make itself heard proves a giant downside for the centre speaker. Most subwoofer/soundbar methods depend on the subwoofer to latch onto the underside finish of the soundbar’s bass vary to cease it from  sounding uncovered within the combine. However with the S-Sequence, the soundbar is left sounding fairly tinny and treble-biased by the shortage of enough assist from the subwoofer.

The distinctive smallness of the soundbar part additionally creates a noticeable funnelling impact, the place the rear audio system ship an impressively vast soundstage behind you whereas the entrance soundbar sounds comparatively slender due to its lack of ability to disperse its audio far to the left or proper. 

This narrowness of the soundbar’s audio splay makes the entrance soundstage seem extra like a column of sound, too, than the type of wall of sound you’re actually searching for to develop a full Atmos sound ‘sphere’.

The soundbar part additionally begins to distort and ‘hum’ if pushed arduous by dense content material – together with wealthy, deep voices – at excessive volumes. 

Switching from motion pictures to music, the S-Sequence struggles. The system’s lack of bass is once more an issue, leaving you with the type of barely tinny, skinny sound related to small transportable audio system than the properly rounded sound you’d hear from an honest hi-fi system. This lack of bass can go away excessive musical trebles sounding a bit of shrill and uncovered.

The system does have one musical power: element. You’ll be able to actually hear all of the separate parts that go into a top quality musical combine. However over-egged trebles and under-egged bass signifies that these parts don’t gel collectively persistently convincingly.

Observe, lastly, that an X-Bass characteristic supplied by way of the distant management doesn’t inject rather more low frequency response in any respect. Nothing, it appears can kick the subwoofer into life.

Efficiency TL;DR: The S-Sequence does a greater job of delivering a real object-based audio detailing than just about any equally priced Atmos answer. Bass is in alarmingly brief provide, although, and the principle soundbar part lacks the ability and scale to ship a convincing entrance soundstage. The system struggles with music, too.

Different sound methods to think about…

Whilst you would possibly wrestle to seek out one other one-box Atmos system that delivers such a real Atmos expertise in terms of top and rear results it may be accomplished:
The Samsung HW-Okay950 5.1.four system stays the undisputed champ of Dolby Atmos ‘one box’ options. Its energy and dynamic vary – particularly on the bass finish of issues – are in a distinct league to the S-Sequence’ efforts. 

In case you’re trying to match the S-Sequence’ $799/£799 value, nevertheless, the Samsung HW-Okay850 system provides you a much more highly effective entrance soundstage and bass efficiency, in addition to an honest sense of top. There aren’t any rear audio system, although.

In case you do not thoughts dropping down a bit additional, the Samsung HW-MS650 gives powerful competitors at a less expensive value degree. This ‘single enclosure’ answer delivers outstanding energy and bass for a single soundbar answer, and solely prices round half as a lot because the S-Sequence – although, there’s no Atmos decoding or top channel results.    

Verdict

The Damson S-Sequence is a partial success. It manages to ship the element and readability you need with a Dolby Atmos system from a remarkably small assortment of audio system. 

Whereas it could be simple in your decor, although, these small audio system do result in some fairly vital compromises in terms of the bass and entrance channel sound ‘spread’ it is advisable do Dolby Atmos full justice. From a sound high quality perspective, you’re basically having to determine if you’d like full encompass however with minimal bass and fairly light-weight sound high quality, or a way more highly effective entrance soundstage with no actual encompass sound particulars.



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