Atlantic Technologycalls their FS-5000 all-in-one loudspeaker an on-wall, but what we really have here is the mother of all soundbars. Seriously, the FS-5000 is massive and capable of sonic feats few affordable floorstanding loudspeakers can hope to compete with, let alone match. You're probably thinking to yourself that this level of performance has to come with a hefty price tag right? Wrong. The FS-5000 retails for a manageable $1,499, which for a soundbar may sound like a lot of money but when you look at it as three discrete loudspeakers housed in a single chassis the price becomes a bit more understandable. Allow me to explain.
Most soundbars are designed to sit above or below a modest sized (37-42 inch) HDTV and often provide modest sonics to match. The FS-5000 is designed to compliment HDTVs 50-inches or larger, measuring in at 50 inches wide by nearly seven inches tall and five and a half inches deep. The FS-5000 tips the scales at a hefty 35 pounds and can be wall mounted via the included wall mounting bracket and hardware as well as be placed on a table or credenza thanks to its included table stand. The FS-5000 is designed to fill large rooms, something average soundbars have difficulty doing. The FS-5000 is essentially three separate loudspeakers, each consisting of a single one-inch soft dome tweeter and two four and a half inch bass/midrange drivers. The FS-5000 has a reported frequency response of 70Hz to 20kHz with a sensitivity rating of 89dB into a stable eight-Ohm load. Since the FS-5000 is three speakers in one, there are three pairs of binding posts along its back side to connect it to a home theater receiver or amplifier, meaning that the FS-5000 uses no internal DSP or surround sound processing of any kind. However, the FS-5000 does have a fair amount of room correction control in the form of boundary compensation and high frequency roll off switches, which are a staple among most of Atlantic Technologies' higher end loudspeakers.
In terms of sound, the FS-5000 is an absolute juggernaut in comparison to other soundbars or three in one loudspeakers. It's sound is lively yet refined with dynamics and slam to spare and is equally adept at both music and movies. While the FS-5000 has no internal DSP trickery it's still capable of casting a wide-open and nicely detailed soundstage that rivals that of floorstanding speakers when positioned properly. The EQ controls, located on the back of the FS-5000, work and work well in helping the FS-5000 sonically integrate into difficult environments. The FS-5000's midrange performance is rich, full and natural with no boxy colorations I often hear from soundbars or three in one loudspeakers. The soft dome tweeters are smooth and rather refined though they lack that last ounce of sizzle and edge that you'll find with more esoteric designs. However unlike metal dome tweeters the ones inside the FS-5000 remain composed even at louder than thou volumes. Speaking of volume the FS-5000 can handle copious amounts of it and do so without strain on it or on your ears. In fact, the FS-5000 is a soundbar that revels in recreating a movie theater-like experience in your home, which is more than I can say for the competition. When listening to the FS-5000 you can definitely hear its pedigree and Atlantic Technology's long history of building true no-nonsense home theater speakers that simply rock.
Read about the high points and the low points of the FS-5000 on Page 2.
• The Atlantic FS-5000 isn't as sleek as some soundbars or all-in-one on-wall speakers; however its build quality is second to none and the attention to detail is phenomenal.
• The sound and sound levels the FS-5000 are capable of reproducing puts it into a class all its own as far as I'm concerned. It is dynamic and punchy yet detailed, with a level of refinement I wasn't expecting given its makeup.
• While the FS-5000 has no internal surround sound processing of any kind, the soundstage, both in depth and width, that it's able to recreate is astonishing. But keep in mind, for true surround sound performance you'll have to add a pair of surround speakers to the FS-5000.
• In smaller to medium-sized rooms you may be able to get away with not using a subwoofer with the FS-5000 for its bass prowess is impressive. However I argue you're not going to want to install the FS-5000 in a small room, for it may be to much of a good thing.
• As good as the FS-5000 is you're going to need to purchase a home theater receiver or amplifier to power it along with a pair (or two) of surround sound speakers and a subwoofer for a true home theater experience. This is not a deal breaker by any means but one issue that will definitely drive the total cost up a notch.
• The FS-5000 is big, bigger than any soundbar or all in one on-wall I've ever seen, which may or may not suit most decors. If you have a smaller HDTV you may want to look elsewhere in Atlantic Technology's line of on-wall products, for the FS-5000 is designed for the biggest and the baddest HDTVs available today.
The FS-5000 represents a monumental achievement for soundbars and on-wall speakers alike. For just under $1,500 retail you essentially get three discrete home theater monitor speakers in a single, well constructed chassis complete with EQ controls. While you have to treat the FS-5000 more or less like separate left, center, and right speakers in terms of connections and power, the FS-5000 packs all the punch of larger, separate loudspeakers in a single space saving design. Highly recommended.