Jamo S 805
FOR Energetic; weighty bass; punch; easy to accommodate AGAINST Slender midrange; treble flirts with coarseness
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.
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