|Infinity TSS-750 Series|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Matt Evert|
|Sunday, 01 August 2004|
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As I mentioned earlier, I demoed the Infinities with the modestly priced yet powerful Harman Kardon AVR630 receiver. I used the Marantz DV8400 as the source player and the Polk Audio LSi Series speakers as a reference. The editor of Audio Revolution, Bryan Southard, loves the music of Shawn Mullins and he has gotten me hooked on Mullins’ tunes as well. The Soul’s Core (Sony Music) album’s first track, “Anchored in You,” is one of my favorites. Mullins’ amazing voice goes from raspy deep tones to high notes (i.e., some long “whoooo” sounds that he makes) as the song progresses. This dynamic range is captured well by the Infinity set-up. The articulate strumming of the guitar towards the beginning of the song is sweet and nicely detailed. The snare drums snap pleasantly and the low frequencies around the bass are well recreated. I found that relative to the Polks, some midrange and low frequencies are missing from the audio spectrum. The lower midrange (Mullins’ raspy talking, heard frequently throughout the song) is not as prominent and forward in presentation as with the Polks. The guitars are not as lively and seem to be lacking some depth in the sound field. This is likely due to the larger midrange drivers and the presence of eight-inch woofers on the main Polk speakers. One also has to keep in mind that the Polks are several thousand dollars more expensive.
I found myself turning up the volume to higher levels with the Infinities to keep up with the Polks. Again, the speakers have very different efficiencies and sensitivities so this would be expected. Fortunately for the Infinities, they are able to handle loud volumes very well. On “Lullaby,” I cranked up the volume to 75 percent and the Infinities hung in there without noticeable distortion or sonic flaws. Even more important, my ears did not feel fatigued at the higher volumes with these speakers. Granted, with the higher volumes, I did have to turn down the subwoofer volume to about 70 percent to keep it from sounding like a low-rider straight out of Compton. This made the bass performance less boomy and I felt the power in my chest while not rattling the windows. The tambourines on this track were not grainy or colored, so high frequencies were well recreated by the TSS-750 speaker system.
I was guilty of being a pop music snob and throwing Justin Timberlake into the same category as Britney Spears and Debbie Gibson (for those of you old enough to remember her). Then I heard the well-recorded Justified album (Jive) and disassociated it from the rest of that crowd of bubble gum pop. “Senorita” does not disappoint with its low frequency rhythmic beats and its frequent snaps and claps from the background singers (or a synthesizer). Justin’s high-pitched choirboy singing voice was made popular first by the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. Justin has developed his own style, but it is clear where his influences stemmed from. Justin’s voice was sweet, as with other higher midrange and high frequencies reproduced on the Infinities. Again, the lower midrange sounded like the background singer’s voices and the claps were not as present as with the Polks, but still musically satisfying to my ears.
“What You Got for Me” was full of bass drums and an almost wooden-sounding drum. There was a faster pace to the drum sounds in this song and the Infinities were able to keep up nicely. I also noticed that the bass was not overly punchy, which I like. A flute playing an almost belly dancer melody sounded lush and soothing to my ears. I liked the use of what sounded like old-school videogame sounds; more on my fascination with arcade games in the “Tron” part of the review.
Speaking of “Tron” (Disney Home Entertainment), what a great movie, so far ahead of its time. I saw it a million years ago at the theater and then forgot about it. I thought “The Matrix” was one of most original film ideas ever. Then I saw “Tron” again on DVD. “Matrix” leveraged so much from “Tron” that now “Matrix” seems not all that innovative with its whole concept of the defining a relationship between religion and technology and computers taking over the whole world, etc. “Tron” was there first and “The Matrix” did not have a soundtrack by Journey. The computer sounds of Pong and Pac-Man feel like they are coming from everywhere during the arcade scene at Flynn’s. Heck, even the keyboards sounded authentic with the old-school popcorn popping like sound they used to make. Dillinger’s helicopter could be heard moving from left to right on the screen, giving the listener the 3-D audio effect even on this dated film. The roar of the bass as Flynn hacks open the factory door was impressive; my whole couch shook and scared my cat. Well, a pin drop scares my cat, so I guess that is not that much of a feat.
“Grosse Pointe Blank” (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is another example of good moviemaking. John Cusack is cast perfectly for this movie. One of its more memorable moments is when the assassin tries to gun down Cusack’s character Martin at the Ultimart. The store attendant is listening to death metal on his Walkman as he plays Doom on the arcade game while ironically there is a real gunfight going on in the store at the same time. Uzi shells sprinkle the floor and the subtle noises of things like the cardboard boxes of food breaking apart as bullets riddle them fill the system. The shattering of the glass refrigerators behind Martin and the exploding and fizzing of the beers cans was stunning. I really felt immersed in the violence as the sounds effects surrounded the room.
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (Warner Bros.) was yet another chapter of the Arnold Schwarzenegger saga of the famous sci-fi “Terminator” franchise. I loved the first “Terminator” and the second one was great except for the whiny kid they cast as the young John Connor. “T3” was devoid of plot and I just basically gave up on it except for the killer special effects. The truck chase scene where the T-X Terminator drives the crane truck through buildings, cars, and pretty much anything you can think of was tops. The crunching sound of the telephone poles as they were knocked over by the boom of the crane was convincing as depicted by the TSS-750s. Even the little children’s playhouse made a cool honk like a clown’s nose as the adult John Connor (Nick Stahl) rammed his truck into it. The concept of four police cars and ambulances being remote controlled was a little bit of a stretch, but so is most of the movie. If you like explosions and guns, this movie is for you.