Jamo Concert C 80 Series Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

The Short Form
Price $3,894 (AS TESTED) / jamo.com / 877-456-5266
Snapshot
This musical, handsome system, with an above-average subwoofer and strong dipole surrounds, is a real Danish treat.
Plus
•Very nice musical balance •Good deep-bass sub extension and power •Dipole surrounds great on film effects and concert recordings
Minus
•Center tonal match good but not perfect •Sub a few dBs short for big-room, full-cinema playback •Woodgrain vinyl won't fool many woodpeckers
Key Features
C 807 ($1,598/pair) •1-in dome tweeter, 7-in cone midrange, 7-in cone woofer •39.6 in high; 62.4 lb C 80 CEN ($499) •1-in dome tweeter, (2) 6-in cone woofers •19.6 in wide; 25.6 lb C 80 SUR ($798/pair) •(2) 1-in dome tweeters, (2) 6-in cone woofers •11.5 in high; 16.5 lb C 80 SUB ($999) •(2) 10-in aluminum-cone drivers •17.8 x 15.4 x 17.8 in; 55.1 lb •Dark apple or black ash woodgrain, black knit grilles
Test Bench
The C 80 system measured mostly flat and showed ex-tended low-end capability. The C 807 tower suffers from the usual upper-bass floor bounce notch, but no other significant errors, and delivered output below 40 Hz. Likewise, the C 80 CEN suffered from some off-axis lobing but was flat on-axis, and the C 80 SUR curve was typical of dipoles. The C80 SUB had unusually good dynamic uniformity, hitting 104 dB or greater SPL from 32-62 Hz and max SPL of 107 dB at 62 Hz. - Tom Nousaine Full Lab Results
MUSIC & MOVIES After a few days of break-in I commenced serious listening, as always, with stereo, full-range playback. The 807s wanted generous spacing from my studio's front wall: Their bass-reflex cabinet design produced quite substantial output in the 50-200 Hz octaves, and locating them less than about 4 feet out yielded a rather too-warm balance. But with the location, rearwards-rake, and toe-in dialed in, they returned close-to-perfect tonal balance: still just enough weight on the upper-bass/lower-mids to sound just warm and invitingly organic, but with a very uncolored vocal range and smooth, extended-but-relaxed treble. I pegged the C 807s for unusually good dynamic linearity, too, able to maintain all their qualities under high dynamic loads. With top-quality, close-miked jazz-trio recordings, when the piano player really "dug into" the keys on single-note runs or accents, my ear got the complete "punch" package: the clack of the action, the after-thud of the escapement, and, especially, the explosive "ping" of each note, including the almost palpable puff of air you can hear/feel when sitting close to the soundboard. I don't get this as fully by any means from every mid-priced loudspeaker system, and I am betting it takes above-average midrange and tweeter transducer behavior to deliver.

Jamo's center speaker matches the 807 towers excellently visually and competently, if not quite as completely, aurally. Across a range of speaking (and singing) voices I found a moderate but consistent change in tonal character, the C 80 CEN sounding at once a bit thinner in the low midrange (less "chesty" on some male voices) and a shade less "airy" on some females, or hoarse or raspy males, than the towers. Off-axis consistency of tone was reasonably good over a lateral window of about 30 degrees, but tonality shifted audibly if I moved much farther. Still, this is adequate for most two- or three-across seatings; dialogue was always clear and unstrained, and I never heard obvious "ducking" or jerking on lateral panning effects.

My preference for dipole-type surround speakers is well established in these pages, spanning movies and most natural-acoustic music recordings. So I was pleased to find that the C 80 SURs did what good dipole surrounds do, which is to make film-sound ambience and surround effects natural and lifelike and concert-hall or club acoustics realistic and believable, without intruding upon the upfront action or sound. The below-decks scenes in King Kong (the Peter Jackson edition) depend on plenty of creepy creaking, sloshing, and banging - in fact, was there ever a movie with more continual, varied, and high-grade sound effects? The Jamo surrounds displayed these to great effect, enhancing immersion into time and place without once catching my ear per se - exactly what you want from movie surround sound.

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