The name Infinity has been associated with innovative speaker designs for three and a half decades. In that time, the company has created unique speaker systems that propel their passion for lifelike music reproduction to high levels. As a leading manufacturer of high fidelity audio products for both the home and automobile markets, Infinity has forged technologies other companies try to emulate.
Attaining accurate music and cinematic audio reproduction is a daunting task. But with unlimited resources in time and money it can be attained. To take the difficulty level up a notch, try getting the same great results out of a small and inexpensive speaker package and it seems almost impossible. However, Infinity gave their design team the mission to build the first compact home theater ensemble worthy of their name, and the designers responded with the Total Speaker Solution, TSS-750.
The TSS-750 system looks much like other budget satellite systems. There are four small, identical satellite speakers for each corner of the room, a wide center channel and separate subwoofer. They are available in either an extruded and anodized aluminum or a charcoal finish to match most any decor. But an unobtrusive design isn't the only thing the TSS-750 has going for it. The loudspeakers have drivers that are derived from the same Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm (CMMD) technology found in renowned high-end Infinity product lines. All the loudspeaker drivers in the TSS-750 feature Infinity's proprietary Metal Matrix Diaphragm (MMD) that are manufactured by anodizing both sides of an aluminum core to a specified thickness. The end result is a rigid cone with low mass, capable of reduced distortion and improved smoothness throughout the entire frequency range. Each satellite in the TSS-750 system includes a 3.5-inch MMD woofer and 0.5-inch MMD tweeter. The center channel has dual 3.5-inch MMD woofers surrounding a similar 0.5-inch MMD tweeter.
The separate subwoofer also shares an elegant design and power to match the satellite and center channel speakers. A built-in 150 watt amplifier powers a side-firing, 10-inch, MMD coated woofer in a moderate size bandpass enclosure with rear panel controls. A power switch is joined by a phase and LFE switch as well as volume and crossover frequency dials conveniently positioned.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The folks at Infinity were kind enough to send me four Total Solution floor stands for the TSS-750 satellite speakers. If I were looking to add this theater system to my home, I would probably consider mounting the satellites to the wall or placing them on bookshelves and forego the added expense of speaker stands. But after I put the stands together and screwed the speakers down, the beauty and functionality of the TS stands became apparent. They match the speakers anodized aluminum finish perfectly and their simplistic good looks accentuate the design. Each stand positions the speaker 36 inches off the ground to optimize the home theater experience. They have heavy bases to keep the speakers upright even when carpet crawlers become overly curious, and a hollow shaft to conceal speaker wires inside the stand.
Once I had the satellites situated, I added the center channel to the system, which found a home atop my television. Infinity includes in the mix a center channel cradle with rubber feet and a rubber top that makes aiming the center channel quite easy. All the speakers have conveniently accessed gold-plated binding posts which made connectivity painless.Read more about the TSS-750 home cinema system on Page 2.
The subwoofer, christened the Sub 750 by Infinity, was connected to a NAD receiver via the LFE output. It was eventually placed near a front wall after a little creative experimentation. Reflective and absorption properties of the room are guiding principles used to dictate the best placement for a sub. The subwoofer should neither sound boomy nor muted, so moving it around and adjusting the levels helps find a compromise between the two.
Crossover frequency adjustments for a receiver/processor that doesn't contain a Dolby Digital or DTS processor can be set from 50 to 150 Hz. A setting around 120 Hz will allow a smooth transition from the satellites to the subwoofer. Using a LFE connection negates the crossover since the crossover frequency is set by the receiver/processor.
I've reviewed a whole host of budget satellite speaker systems and have found many to be blas�. They often deliver sound that isn't accurate or invigorating. They simply blend in with the furnishings and make some noise. Some consumers might be content with this, but for those wanting the most for their money I try to dig deeper.
After a 20 hour break-in period, the ensemble was ready for a critical ear. Beginning with some old music standards, I auditioned the TSS-750 with familiar sounds I've heard on many systems before. The DTS multi-channel version of the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over album has a superb remix. The Infinity set reproduced the Eagles' tracks with an open and airy quality throughout the disc. The sound seemed full and warm with excellent vocal timber on "Seven Bridges Road". The TSS-750 never put up a fight when playing highs and lows on other discs like Ten Summoner's Tales by Sting. The steel guitar on the swinging tune "Love is Stronger Than Justice" is engaging and crisp. An expansive soundstage was apparent throughout the frequency range as the Infinity system continued doing an exceptional job. Even the low bass response was unbelievable for such a small system, making me forget this is a budget home theater system.
While listening to movie soundtracks, the center channel exhibited very pleasing dialogue characteristics. Voices weren't overpowering, but they did sound a bit flat with some DVD material such as quiet scenes in Open Range, however, subtle background noises were prominent enough not to be lost. Dynamic sound effects often caught me off guard, like when watching scenes in Black Hawk Down. Explosions and gunfire erupt from the Sub 750 with energetic enthusiasm that will make you sit up straight and take notice.
Looking back at my test, I realize I didn't detect any distortion even at high volume levels that were loud enough to make my antiquated Sony CD changer skip. I experienced outstanding transient response that I didn't expect from a satellite system. This is largely due to the solid construction of the MMD coated drivers and a testament of how to build a bookshelf-size system without sacrificing sound quality.
High performance isn't a term usually associated with budget speaker systems, and even less often found when describing a satellite/subsystem. But Infinity's TSS-750 does offer high performance and an incredible value in one package. The satellite speakers offer a much bigger sound than one would expect, backed up by a fully capable subwoofer. Add to this an attractive design that will complement, not complicate, an existing room design, and you'll find this total speaker solution blends nicely into a home theater environment.
Infinity TSS-750 Home Cinema System
.5-inch MMD high frequency driver
3.5-inch MMD midrange driver
120 Hz-20,000 Hz frequency response
10 -100 watts recommended power
Dimensions: 6"H x 4 1/8"W x 4 3/8"D
Weight: 2.8 lbs.
Infinity Center Channel
.5-inch MMD high frequency driver
Dual 3.5-inch MMD midrange drivers
120 Hz-20,000 Hz frequency response
10 -125 watts recommended power
Dimensions: 4 1/8"H x 9 1/2"W x 4 3/8"D
Weight: 4.5 lbs.
10-inch MMD low frequency driver
34 Hz --150 Hz frequency response
150 watts RMS, 500 watts peak amp output
Dimensions: 161/2"H x 10 1/2NV x 15 1/2"D
Weight: 28 lbs.
Limited 3/5-year warranty
MSRP: $749 (system)