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