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 might be simply the lounge pleasant but in addition uncompromising Atmos resolution dwelling cinema followers have been ready for. (Spoiler: It is not.)
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
Wanting on the S-Sequence’ diminutive field, it’s arduous to consider that tucked away inside is a set of 5 particular person speaker elements. However tucked inside they’re – and it’s obvious as you begin unpacking them that whereas they be small, some elements, no less than, are very properly constructed.
That is very true of the 2 rears, that are weighty sufficient to function bookends. Besides you could’t really 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 quite than merely reproducing sounds immediately at a selected 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 drawback with the Atmos adapter, although. The factor is, it stands practically 12cm tall – excessive sufficient to jut up into the image of most TVs for those who merely place it on the desk in entrance of your TV’s stand. And you may’t conceal it in a shelf beneath the TV, as this will likely disrupt the upfiring audio system on the Dolby Atmos adapter.
Whereas the Atmos adaptor is simply 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, really, of the subwoofer element. It does handle to cram a fairly large, front-firing driver into its patented ‘UltraThin’ body, however its lack of any depth and barely flimsy construct high quality raises issues about simply how low it’d be capable to go.
Neither the subwoofer nor some other a part of the system carries an LED show. As an alternative, the one solution to preserve monitor of what enter you’ve obtained 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 offered by the quite 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 outstanding.
All elements of the system are moderately engaging and properly completed. So lengthy, anyway, as ‘principally black with metallic silver trim’ is your factor.
The S-Sequence’ headline grabbers are its remarkably compact audio system, wi-fi five-speaker arrange, and assist for Dolby Atmos. There are, although, just a few 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 lately launched Jurassic Park boxset), it does no less than convert DTS:X into Dolby Digital Plus.
Whereas this doesn’t present DTS:X’s true object-based impact, it’s no less than a helpful step up from the rather more restricted conversion scenario witnessed with some earlier Dolby Atmos soundbars/compact programs.
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 quite than putting them close to their TV and different AV equipment.
The connections comprise two HDMI inputs, an HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC) assist, 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 speak to one another by way of the JetStreamNet wi-fi platform, and the ’S-Dice’ rears even carry inbuilt rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries so that you don’t must tether them to plug sockets while 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, you could 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 reality doesn’t sound a lot when you think about that Samsung’s HW-Ok950 system delivers 500W of whole energy output. Hopefully the audio system show delicate sufficient to maximise the potential of these 130 Watts.
The Damson S-Sequence’ sound high quality is a blended 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 relating to 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 super 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 largest drawback 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 imprecise, 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 quick, the reluctance/lack of ability of the subwoofer to make itself heard proves an enormous drawback for the centre speaker. Most subwoofer/soundbar programs 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 quite tinny and treble-biased by the shortage of satisfactory assist from the subwoofer.
The distinctive smallness of the soundbar element 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 because of 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 form of wall of sound you’re actually in search of 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 films to music, the S-Sequence struggles. The system’s lack of bass is once more an issue, leaving you with the form of barely tinny, skinny sound related to small moveable audio system than the properly rounded sound you’d hear from a good 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 energy: element. You may 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 constantly convincingly.
Word, lastly, that an X-Bass function offered 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 resolution. Bass is in alarmingly quick provide, although, and the primary soundbar part lacks the ability and scale to ship a convincing entrance soundstage. The system struggles with music, too.
Different sound programs to think about…
When you would possibly wrestle to search out one other one-box Atmos system that delivers such a real Atmos expertise relating to top and rear results it may be completed:
The Samsung HW-K950 5.1.four system stays the undisputed champ of Dolby Atmos ‘one field’ options. Its energy and dynamic vary – particularly on the bass finish of issues – are in a special league to the S-Sequence’ efforts.
For those who’re seeking to match the S-Sequence’ $799/£799 value, nevertheless, the Samsung HW-K850 system offers you a much more highly effective entrance soundstage and bass efficiency, in addition to a good sense of top. There are not any rear audio system, although.
For those who do not thoughts dropping down a bit additional, the Samsung HW-MS650 offers powerful competitors at a less expensive value stage. This ‘single enclosure’ resolution delivers exceptional energy and bass for a single soundbar resolution, and solely prices round half as a lot because the S-Sequence – although, there’s no Atmos decoding or top channel results.
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 may be straightforward in your decor, although, these small audio system do result in some fairly important compromises relating to the bass and entrance channel sound ‘unfold’ you could do Dolby Atmos full justice. From a sound high quality perspective, you’re basically having to determine if you would like full encompass however with minimal bass and quite light-weight sound high quality, or a way more highly effective entrance soundstage with no actual encompass sound particulars.