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Roth Audio OLi 1 5.1 review

Roth Audio OLi 1 5.1
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £400
inc VAT

A little bulky, but delivers stunning high-frequency detail and a general aura of class that belies the price

The OLi 1 5.1 looks a little plain, but peeling off the grilles reveals some impressive looking speaker drivers. It’s probably best to stick them back on again unless you’re absolutely confident that no one will give the delicate drivers an inquisitive prod.

The centre speaker is relatively bulky at 53cm wide and 18cm tall, so most people will need to rearrange or replace their TV furniture in order to accommodate it. The subwoofer is a sizeable cube-shaped block, and has three 8in drivers – one forward facing plus two passive drivers pointing left and right. It’s a novel technique that appears to work well, but it means that subwoofer placement affects its sound more than usual. The subwoofer apparently switches off automatically when not in use but it never drew less than 12W.

These speakers excelled in our music tests. High frequencies sparkled with extraordinary clarity. This sense of precision continued down the frequency spectrum to the confident-sounding subwoofer, and the overall effect was of an expensive hi-fi rather than mid-price 5.1 cinema speakers.

Roth Audio OLi 1 5.1

The bright treble response and solid bass lead to extremely dramatic Blu-ray soundtracks. There was an intimacy and intensity that some may find overbearing, but others will love. One drawback for thrill-seekers is that the top volume wasn’t as ear-splitting as with more expensive speaker sets. You’ll still be getting complaints from the neighbours but you may be spared a letter from the council. We also found that, while dialogue was clear, it sometimes sounded slightly lacking in warmth, especially when comparing it to the Q Acoustics 2000 Cinema.

These speakers can’t match the Q Acoustics 2000 Cinema set for smoothness or the Mission M-Cube for power, but it provides sublime audio quality at a competitive price. We’d recommend that those who can afford to spend more go for the Q Acoustics system, but the Roth OLi 1 5.1 picks up a Best Buy award because it strikes a superb balance of quality and value.


Rating *****
Award Best Buy
Speaker configuration 5.1
RMS power output 650W
Power consumption standby 12W
Power consumption on 57W
Analogue inputs satellites: binding posts, subwoofer: mono phono
Digital inputs none
Dock connector none
Satellite cable lengths none
Cable type replaceable
Controls located subwoofer
Digital processing none
Tone controls subwoofer controls: volume, four crossover presets, phase
Price £400

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