Philips Zenit (CSS5530G)

HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

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

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