Jamo S 805

FOR En­er­getic; weighty bass; punch; easy to ac­com­mo­date AGAINST Slen­der midrange; tre­ble flirts with coarse­ness

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To choose a pair of speak­ers based solely on their star rat­ing is a dan­ger­ous game. While a five-star re­view in­di­cates that we think the prod­uct is a good all-rounder, scor­ing highly across the board, the idea that full marks nec­es­sar­ily deems a prod­uct the de­fin­i­tive op­tion for any­one is a false one. There have been few bet­ter re­cent ex­am­ples to high­light that than these Jamo S 805s.

Al­though £350 isn’t loose change, in terms of floor­standers, it’s a snip. That might be where our fond­ness for these speak­ers be­gins, but ul­ti­mately it’s prob­a­bly the least im­por­tant of the many things that go in their favour. It’s more to do with their de­sign, and the con­cept of ‘life­style’ in this case rep­re­sent­ing more than a few or­na­men­tal flour­ishes in lieu of sonic flair.

Wise size, nice price

At just un­der 80cm in height and en­vi­ably slim, the S805s do the best they can to make floor­standers avail­able to every­one, re­gard­less of free space – just as they cater for a more mod­est bud­get.

They also house a front-fir­ing slot port for bass re­in­force­ment, which means they can be po­si­tioned close to the back wall with­out overly sac­ri­fic­ing agility in the low end. That port re­ally makes it­self known, sup­port­ing the fre­quen­cies reached by the two-way con­fig­u­ra­tion of 12.5cm poly­fi­bre woofer and 25mm soft-dome tweeter.

Even though these in­tu­itive as­pects of the de­sign are worth cel­e­brat­ing, Jamo hasn’t ig­nored the im­por­tance of aes­thetic. The S805s are avail­able in three classy min­i­mal­ist fin­ishes: the white of our re­view sam­ple; black, with darker wal­nut trim­mings; or wal­nut, with black trim.

Both their price and the ac­com­mo­dat­ing de­sign set the S805s apart from the crowd, but it’s their per­for­mance we think will have many clam­our­ing to take them home.

Built for en­joy­ment

To say these speak­ers don’t take the mu­sic too se­ri­ously may sound like a fairly back­handed com­pli­ment, but in this case we mean it as a com­men­da­tion. These Jamos are a lot of fun.

The S805s don’t just pack a punch, they’ve taken all the pad­ding out of the gloves too. We play Ri­val Con­soles’ al­bum Per­sona and get an im­me­di­ate sense of these speak­ers’ drive and au­thor­ity; the record feels like a drag race through a dystopian cityscape.

A work­ing port

That has much to do with how hard that re­flex port is work­ing, ex­tend­ing to rat­tle the skele­ton of our test­ing room at higher vol­umes. It isn’t per­haps the most de­tailed of bass re­sponses, but it digs deep and the thrill of its low-end heft does much to make up for it.

We would tend to opt for a lit­tle more body in the midrange – the S 805s ap­pear to frame those mid­dle reg­is­ters with their bass and a lively tre­ble that usu­ally toes the line well be­tween clar­ity and coarse­ness, given the cor­rect sys­tem­match­ing. How­ever, it’s far from a trough in the bal­ance and melodies are painted in full view in this front-fac­ing mix.

A switch to a more or­ches­tral work such as Clint Mansell’s High-rise sound­track high­lights some of the S 805s’ mild lim­i­ta­tions. They aren’t as de­tailed or spa­cious as Fyne Au­dio’s F302 floor­standers (£400), nor do they han­dle tim­ing or dy­nam­ics with quite the same pre­ci­sion, but we’re far from the point where we de­scribe the per­for­mance as lack­ing in these re­gards.

All of this sug­gests that these are speak­ers for two sep­a­rate au­di­ences. To say the S 805s aren’t so con­cerned by a tra­di­tional hi-fi pre­sen­ta­tion, or that their tal­ents are limited to cer­tain gen­res of mu­sic, would be un­fair, but the em­pha­sis is on mak­ing the mu­sic fun to lis­ten to, and they do that to a tee.

It isn’t that re­fine­ment has gone out the win­dow, just that Jamo’s main fo­cus has been else­where.

No com­pro­mise

The S 805s’ price and diminu­tive stature give the air of speak­ers de­signed for bud­get and life­style, but even the briefest of lis­tens to any kind of mu­sic lays waste to any no­tion of sonic per­for­mance hav­ing been ne­glected.

You could search out more in­sight, more outright de­tail and sym­pa­thetic dy­nam­ics, and for that you have Fyne. But for sheer drive and en­ergy, you’d strug­gle to find much un­der that magic half-a-grand price ceil­ing to bet­ter these tal­ented S 805s.

“The con­cept of ‘life­style’ in this case means more than a few or­na­men­tal flour­ishes in lieu of sonic flair ”

Jamo has fo­cused on style but also on the sheer joy of the mu­sic

Re­cessed, an­gled ter­mi­nals and a front-fac­ing re­flex port

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