|Infinity TSS-750 Series|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Matt Evert|
|Sunday, 01 August 2004|
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Chances are that you already are familiar with the Infinity brand of loudspeakers. If you opted for the premium sound system in your new car or went shopping at Circuit City recently, you probably saw something bearing the long-standing and well-respected name of Infinity. What younger readers may not know is that this familiar brand has been around since 1968 and is owned by Harman International Industries. Harman is to home electronics as Ford Motor Co. is to automobiles. Harman makes anything from moderately-priced JBL speakers to $20,000 per pair Revel Salons. In years gone by, Infinity was considered as one of the top audiophile grade speakers money could buy. Now their market position is a little different, having more focus on getting Harman’s vast technological resources to clients at more affordable prices. The TSS-750 Home Cinema Series speakers do just that as a complete 5.1 home theater speaker system priced at $749.
The TSS-750 speaker system includes everything you need to bring life your home theater, including style, performance and affordability. The system includes four satellite speakers, a powered subwoofer and a center channel speaker. Also included are handy wall mounts for the four satellite speakers, a television top mount for the center channel speaker and enough cabling for all the speakers. It essentially is a Betty Crocker version of home theater. All you need to do is add a dash of a receiver and sprinkle in a DVD player and bake (play).
There is no question but that these speakers are physically attractive. Charcoal is nice, but their platinum finish is downright godly. They are nicely polished and look like the something out of a “Terminator” movie. The four satellites and the center speakers are made of extruded aluminum that is tastefully brushed to give them the polished look. The non-removable grilles protect the drivers from my cat and any casual drops to the carpet while installing the system. The speakers are sturdy and I am sure would make great weapons if one were so inclined. The satellites only weigh two-and-four-fifths pounds each, but they actually feel heavy. They are diminutive in size at six inches tall by four-and-one-eighth inches wide by four-and-three-eighths inches deep.
The center channel, like the other included speakers, features both three-and-half-inch drivers for midrange and the three-quarter-inch tweeters. The center sports two midrange drivers vs. a single driver on each of the satellites. The center stands four-and-one-eighths inches tall, stretches nine-and-one-quarter inches wide and four-and-three-eighths inches deep. The drivers used in the center, satellites and the subwoofer are made using Infinity’s own Metal Matrix Diaphragm (MMD) technology. This technology uses a dual-sided anodized aluminum core to improve the sonic accuracy and performance of the driver cones. According to Infinity, this low mass yet rigid driver yields a smoother, more responsive and less distorted sound. Again, this MMD technology is made possible in this price range due to Infinity’s economies of scale with numerous other lines of speakers (and by parent company Harman).
The subwoofer features a side-firing ten-inch driver contained in a wood cabinet. The cabinet is physically sturdy and pretty hefty at 28 lbs. (thanks in part to a 150-watt internal amplifier). A stylish groove is shaped out of the normally boxy appearance of other subwoofers. The sub stands 16-and-three-quarter inches high, 10-and-three-quarter inches wide and 15-and-three-quarter inches deep. A plastic port is located in the rear of the sub, along with most of the sub’s controls. An aluminum grate cover protects the driver from accidental kicks from break-dancing moves or stray vacuum cleaners. A two-color power on LED is located in the front groove of the cabinet: red is for standby and green is for power on.
The satellites and center channel have a reported frequency range of 120Hz to 20KHz and operate at eight ohms impedance. The crossover between the tweeter and midrange driver is set at 3.5kHz. The center’s power range is 10 to 125 watts and the satellites are 10 to 100 watts. The sub possesses a 150-watt RMS (500 watts peak) internal amplifier that will handle the low signals from 34Hz to 150Hz. An adjustable crossover can be set from 50Hz to 150Hz.
Mounted on the included stand, the center fit nicely on the narrow top of my 32 inch Toshiba CRT. Most other center channels I have used are too big (in depth) for the top of my TV and require a shelf or larger wooden platform in order to not slide off. The four-and-a-half-pound center channel does sit a little higher than my desired listening position when mounted on top of my TV. This is easily corrected by rotating the center speaker downwards in its cradle. The center and satellites feature gold-plated posts that can accept bare wire, spade, or angled pins. The tops of the posts are sealed shut preventing the use of banana plugs. Since most people will probably use the bare wire ends of the provided 18-gauge cable, this should not be a big concern.
The drivers on the center and the satellites are magnetically shielded, so they will not interfere with your video displays and adversely alter the image quality. The sub set-up takes a line-level sub output from the receiver and the 150-watt internal amp does the rest. There is a switch on the sub that allows you to toggle the internal amp to different modes, depending on whether your receiver has a Dolby Digital processor with a Low Frequency Effects output (LFE) or not. If you do use the receiver’s crossover, you would be well advised to set it at 120Hz, since that is the lower limit of the satellites/center and near the upper limit of the subwoofer. You should also set your center, fronts and surrounds to the small speaker setting on your receiver. This is because you have a subwoofer present and would prefer to have your low frequencies sent there instead.
Be aware that when playing Compact Discs, you may not hear much out of the subwoofer (the center and surrounds, too), since you will be operating in two-channel mode. This will result in some major low frequencies dropping out of your music. You can correct this on most receivers by running in an all-channel stereo mode (or input) on your receiver. This should bring life back to your music when not listening to movies or multi-channel music (i.e., DVD-Audio discs). The Harman Kardon AVR630 that I tested these speakers with has a mode called seven-channel stereo that will take just about any source media and decode it into however many speakers you have connected. I guess the Harman Kardon people talked to the Infinity people on this one.
I did not try the wall mounts for the surround or front speakers, since I have too many holes in my home theater room as it is. I did inspect how they were to mount and played with them enough that I noticed some cool options. The speakers can actually swivel on the mounts so that you can make slight adjustments to their toe-in without drilling more holes. You will need some wood screws if you plan on using them (okay, so not everything is included).