Philips Zenit (CSS5530G)
While sound bars are becoming ever more popular, the fact remains that you'll never get soundstaging that's as good as that from a full home theater system. There are exceptions, like Philips' Fidelio wireless surround cinema speakers (HTL9100), but these are purpose-built for small homes or rooms. If you want a proper home theater system, you'll want to look at Philips' Zenit cinema speakers.
The Zenit is a 5.1 speaker system that consists of four identical satellites, one center speaker that doubles as the control unit, and a 6.5-inch subwoofer. The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the control unit, and so too do the rear speakers. Pairing is automatic, as all you have to do is press the ‘pair' buttons behind the subwoofer and on the wireless module for the rear speakers.
Aesthetically, this system looks great, as it is minimalist in nature. All the speakers, except for the subwoofer, have wooden panels that add a little rustic charm to the package. The system is also pretty compact, so it won't take up too much space.
To test them, we played a good mix of songs from different genres, and of course watched a couple of movies. When it comes to music, the bass, mids, and highs are reproduced rather accurately. The amount of definition could be better, but soundstaging was great, thanks to the integrated Dolby Digital decoder, which automatically turns any stereo audio to five channels. If you're into instrumental or classical music, like 'And the Waltz Goes On' by Sir Anthony Hopkins, you'll love how you're able to hear the instruments coming from different directions.
In movies, however, is where this system truly shines. The powerful subwoofer produces deep bass, making any explosions sound believable and the center speaker does an excellent job with dialog. The satellites are just as good, providing realistic directional sound, which is once again thanks to the integrated Dolby Digital decoder.
What we liked about this system though, is the fact that you can manually tune the volume of each speaker. With this feature, you're able to truly feel like you're in the center of the action, even if one speaker is further away