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Atlantic Technology System 2200 7.1 Home Theater Speakers

Part II

January, 2006

Mark Smith

 

Performance

Let me start by quoting Atlantic Technology in regards to this series: "The attractive system sets a new standard for the company for high performance at modest cost."

I would like to expand on this and say that not only would I agree with their statement in regards to their own company, but any company in existence producing compact home theater speakers. There will always be some limitations when producing "compact" speakers that are designed near perfection, yet limited in size. As a result, you simply cannot fit large drivers within the enclosure and completely cover the dynamic range as effectively as full-range large speakers.

I started my testing with the Eagles: Hell Freezes Over DTS DVD. The first thing I noticed was that this system has the ability to do two things very well. First, when the artist wants you to hear different instruments, the system can demonstrate them very accurately. Second, when the artist wants a seamless sound stage and have you enveloped in the music, it can do that too.

The entire system, including the sub, blended very well. As the music increased in volume, it was very refreshing to hear all of the speakers including the sub move in unison. The opening song was a joy to listen to from the guitars, to the bongos, to Don Henley’s vocals. The only limitation I observed was a slight lacking in the lower midrange which seemed to limit the feeling that you are on stage with the band. This could be due to room anomalies.

I also observed that the speakers did very well at a volume level appropriate for background music while having a conversation with someone. There did seem to be somewhat of a reduced clarity or flat spot in Don Henley’s voice at about ¾ of the speaker’s capacity. However, the clarity returned once I increased the volume. They then proceeded to sound great with no audible distortion at high SPLs nearing their maximum rating. A lot of listeners like to crank their systems, and if you are one of those people, give this package an audition.

I then watched the IMAX Super Speedway DVD. I enjoy Chapter 14 where it talks about some of the "Fastest Road Courses in America". The subwoofer kept up very well with the racing portions especially when the car would travel under the overpasses (see also our review of the Atlantic Technology 642e SB subwoofer, which is a larger brother of the 422 SB sub reviewed here). The blending between the front speakers and surround speakers was extremely accurate. I definitely felt as though I was at the track watching the race. Full sized speakers might perform a little better at this task, but for bookshelf speakers, the 2200s do a fine job.

One of the highlights of my testing experience was with the Diana Krall: Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival 2004 DVD. The system sounded great reproducing both the instruments as well as her voice. One aspect caught me by surprise, while listening to track 5 "Abandoned Masquerade". When I am reviewing speakers, I tend to analyze every note, every instrument, and get as technical as possible. On this particular song, once Ms. Krall’s voice began, within 15 seconds, I was no longer analyzing the speakers. I became an integral part of the audience, present, and focused on her every word. This is the ultimate compliment I can give to Atlantic Technology on these speakers. It is truly impressive when you can be drawn into the performance where you no longer are listening to speakers, but to a performance.

I also listened to several music CDs such as Sting: Ten Summoner’s Tales and Brand New Day (both DTS audio CDs) and was very impressed at how well the front three speakers blended so that there was absolutely no discernible source of the music. It was just "there" surrounding me with clarity.

I listened to several CDs and DVDs utilizing the 7.1 configuration. However, I do not have an adequate room to place all of the speakers perfectly. As a result, while all of the speakers sounded great, the 5.1 setup worked the best for me.

Conclusions

This is the best compact speaker system I have ever listened to. The tone of the speakers match so well that the only time you are ever really looking at a speaker is when the artist specifically places an instrument in that section of the soundstage intentionally. I would prefer to have a little more mid-bass, but this is definitely better than having too much.

The excellent build quality as well as the actual music and dialogue that emanates from them truly show that Atlantic Technology has accomplished a difficult task, namely a fine balance between budget and quality.


- Mark Smith -


Associated Equipment

Sunfire Theater Grand IV
Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 400 watts x 7 channels
Oppo OPDV971 DVD Player
Toshiba 62” DLP HDTV

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