“Sweat-drenched, knuckle bruised”
FOR Bold presentation; lots of features; good entry level hi-fi AGAINST Rather forward presentation
lightweight about this package is the remote, but we can’t have any complaints at this price. It works perfectly well.
To begin, we load up Tidal and stream Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes’ acerbic debut album Blossom and are nearly blown backwards from our seats. There’s no pride in being coy upon delivering an opening track named Juggernaut, and this Tangent’s presentation is fittingly vigorous. From the song’s volatile opening, through Carter’s shrieking vocal and its sweat-drenched, knuckle-bruised breakdown, the Spectrum X4 is armed with the artillery to maintain this assault on our ears.
But we ought not paint the performance as one-dimensional. Timing, in particular, is impressive given the weight and girth of
the sound, and the amount of body and bottom end Tangent has worked hard to offer. Sometimes it lacks a bit of space, but the arrangement is never cluttered and the Spectrum X4 is sharp and fleet-footed enough to keep up with the frenetic pace.
Taking things down a notch with John Frusciante’s eclectic To Record Only Water
For Ten Days, the Tangent showcases its nuance and satisfying attention to detail.
The presentation is still forward, and we find ourselves wanting a little restraint and a greater hold of dynamics, but for a £300 system we are very much entertained and content with the versatility on offer.
As we vary inputs, preamplifying Rega’s Planar 1 turntable as a suitable companion and plugging our laptops in with an aux cable, there are the expected variations in quality and nature of the sound, but its general personality is unchanged. For an entry-level amp with decent connectivity, that consistency is a notable achievement.
Of course, when we switch the speakers for Q Acoustics’ Award-winning 3020s, the improvement is immediately obvious; there’s greater space, detail and delicacy with dynamics. You could pair the Q Acoustics with our cheapest Awardwinning stereo amplifier, the Onkyo A9010, for £390 and get a better-rounded overall sound but, as well as forgoing features such as Bluetooth and the Tangent’s compactness, that almost 30 per cent price hike is still quite a distance.
In many ways, that reaffirms the Ampster X4’s place among entry-level hi-fi. Here you’re getting a starter system, with amp and speakers already matched, gaining a bunch of features and the scope to upgrade as and when you can. We’ve been terrifically entertained by the Tangent, and that is the best endorsement we can give.
“For a £300 system, we are very much entertained and content with the versatility the X4 has to offer”