Jamo DS4

Now part of Klipsch Group Inc., Jamo continues to provide modern aesthetics with compact loudspeaker designs at attractive prices. Its DS4 standmount is part of its Digital series of self-contained Bluetooth products and is intended to be combined with something like Pro-Ject’s Primary E Phono (HFC 444) – as recommended by UK distributor Henley Audio – to make a low-cost vinyl-fronted system, but is equally happy working as a standalone powered loudspeaker setup on its own.

Measuring 114 x 178 x 190mm (WxHxD), the master speaker contains a stereo amplifier rated at 18W to power itself and drive the right channel via the supplied speaker cable stringed between the two cabinets. Its Bluetooth wireless connectivity supports the SBC codec only, which is a little under specified given the flexibilities that more up-to-date Bluetooth versions offer, but there are also RCA stereo inputs and a USB port for phone or tablet charging. The volume level can be controlled via the rotary dial on the top of the master speaker as well as via the level of the Bluetooth-connected device you stream from.

The speaker drivers comprise an unspecified size soft-dome tweeter and 80mm mid/bass driver. The reasonably constructed cabinets are rear ported, which may help to justify its decidedly optimistic claim of delivering low frequencies as far down as 50Hz.

The cabinets are encased in a leatherette wrap and the speaker grilles can be removed. Although clearly made to the asking price, each cabinet feels study and reasonably inert and is pretty unfussy when it comes to placement.

Pairing the Bluetooth receiver to an Essential PH-1 smartphone is simple and after some initial glitches in the audio signal, it quickly stabilises so long as I keep the streaming device within a 5m range of the speakers. In keeping with a few Bluetooth products at the price, the absence of higher quality aptX wireless codec support isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean that it’s rather more challenging to discern any audio quality gains when listening to material played via Tidal’s streaming service, for example.  

Sound quality
The DS4 delivers the curious but rather lovely Good At Falling by The Japanese House with a genuine sense of stereo width. Although not particularly highly powered, it has a room-filling ability and presentation is commendably even handed. The treble avoids sounding hard or bright until you really drive it near its limits and while I don’t think that 50Hz frequency extension claim is especially accurate, there is enough bass to give convincing support to most of the music that I choose to play.

Perhaps more importantly for the sector the DS4 is aimed at, it makes music sound fun. As it pounds its way through Tokyo by White Lies, there’s a commendable level of energy and drive that ensures you concentrate on the music rather than picking out any of the speaker’s flaws. It’s definitely at its happiest when dealing with pop or rock rather than acoustic or classical tracks, and a quick test play of Nils Frahm’s Hammers shows the DS4 doesn’t have the scale or tone to do the piano-based track justice. Hooking up the wired analogue input gives a similar sonic characteristic to the wireless connectivity and running Yamaha’s WX-AD10 music streamer (HFC 442) with its hi-res and AirPlay streaming capability doesn’t suddenly find hidden depths of potential in the Jamo that’s being masked by its Bluetooth implementation.

For just under £200, Jamo’s DS4 delivers a respectable sound that’s consistently entertaining and is a worthy consideration for a low-cost second-room music system. ES

Product: Jamo DS4
Price: £199
Type: Standmount loudspeaker with Bluetooth
Read the full review in April issue 448

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