These inexpensive speakers have a powerful bass but are let down by a fuzzy mid-range and lightweight build quality.
Yamaha’s NS-P280 speakers are cheap compared to most home cinema speaker sets.
Unfortunately, this is reflected in their build quality. The square satellites are surprisingly light and made of rough, charcoal-coloured plastic that scratches easily. They have personal-stereo-style plastic spring clips, rather than binding posts, to hold the speaker wires in place. These clips feel more fragile than the sturdy connectors found on most 5.1 systems and can be fiddly if you use thick speaker wire.
The set comes with plenty of speaker wire, which you can cut to your exact requirements, as well as a phono lead to connect the subwoofer to your AV receiver. However, the speakers don’t come with any mounting brackets. They’re small enough to fit easily on to shelves, tables or any other flat surface you have going spare, but their light weight means that they can be easily knocked out of position. This can be a pain if you’ve gone to the trouble of calibrating them with your AV receiver’s setup tool to produce optimal surround sound for their position.
When we first took them out of the box to run our initial tests, their sound quality was unimpressive. The subwoofer produced powerful, rounded bass tones, but the sound produced by the satellites featured rather harsh treble tones and a fuzzy mid-range. Audio quality improved after we ran our AV receiver’s surround-sound calibration program, but although the resulting sound was more balanced, some fuzziness remained and we were unable to make out subtle background elements of soundtracks that were easily audible through every other speaker set we connected to the same receiver.
This is an adequate set of 5.1 speakers and the cheapest here, but you’ll need a high-quality AV receiver to get a really good sound balance with them. Even then, we couldn’t eliminate the slight fuzziness that permeated bass and low-mid-range tones. We were also unimpressed by the build quality of the satellite speakers. Tannoy’s SFX 5.1 set costs only slightly more but sounds much better.
|RMS power output
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption on
|satellites: stereo spring clips, subwoofer: mono phono
|Satellite cable lengths
|20m uncut, 3m phono
|subwoofer controls: volume