Budgeting for a system which can offer as many features in a one box solution as possible is a demand made by many Tangent_powered_loudspeakersconsumers and hard core audiophiles alike dependent on placement and criteria for said system. Many opt for a one box cd/streamer/amp whilst others powered or active speakers with as many variables when it comes to connections as possible to integrate a music source, TV and films.

The Tangent Spectrum X5 are of the latter. The Spectrum X5 BT is the powered version of the X5 which is an all passive design. Both sets of speakers are relative in size and vary only slightly regarding the connecting sockets on the rear for the digital and analogue inputs as well as the single power cable which only powers the left hand speaker. Trailing from a standard twin core speaker cable is the right hand speaker which is a passive X5 with only the two speaker binding posts mounted on the rear.

Powered by a 25 watt per channel amplifier, the X5 BT’s have a good amount of volume, with treble and bass controls variable from the included remote control which also controls source selection; They are a neat little package.

To accompany their functional design, I find the X5 BT a nice stylish speaker reminiscent of smaller Amphion bookshelf speakers. Like the Amphions they also sport metal dome and cone grills, something I personally feel should be standard (or an option) with any speaker design these days as the grills look to me more stylish than a standard cloth full sized grill, aren’t expensive to have made and are the number one grill protection against kids and multi coloured missiles emanating from kids!

The model I received came in white and I was very pleased with its looks and aesthetics, I use active or powered speakers in only one situation – on my desk or on the corner shelves of the alcove where the desk is fitted – and that calls for smaller sized loudspeakers.
TANGENT_Sepctum5_07-Ps
Connections on the rear of the Tangent Spectrum X5 BT are varied and wide enough to integrate most requirements of the home user. Coaxial and Optical SPDIF digital inputs – having these two options allows digital equipment such as a CD/DVD/Bluray player, streamer, digital/Internet radio, docks for iDevices and computer orientated ancillaries to be attached as the Tangents have an in-built DAC.

Analogue inputs such as stereo RCA and 3.5mm mini jack are also available and what a lot of people looking towards this product will find most attractive is the inclusion a Bluetooth wireless connection. All in all a very flexible amount of inputs and I’d imagine an attractive little package for a small living room or kids bedroom, even possibly a larger kitchen diner or conservatory.

The X5 BT also have a single RCA subwoofer output if you like to rock out a bit and adjusting the bass levels of the main speakers to allow the subwoofer to do the hard work could prove to serve a decent 2 Channel setup for films and TV.

Using a portable device such as a mobile phone or a portable music player such as an iPod is surely one of the most common ways to store and play music files in this modern age. The X5 BT will allow for the wireless transmission of those files over Aptx Bluetooth yet also has a 3.5mm input to allow the headphone output of such devices to be connected directly. But what the X5 BT offers also is a separate USB charging port, so there’s no more listening to music and finding that after an hour the battery is flat – simply plug in the phone or devices everyday charging cable to play music limitlessly and put aside any worries of battery life.
Practically all of these devices have official or 3rd party docks which can be bought cheaply on the Internet to allow the phone or player to be stood up neatly and tidily and allowing easy viewing of the screen. Some even come with remote controls  and have a usb and a 3.5mm socket at the rear for connection to the X5 BT. Better still, newer tablet and phone docks will have a video output allowing the use of a big screen TV’s to receive Youtube music videos, ordinary videos, Netflix, Catchup TV, BBC iPlayer and device based movies which are stored locally for example. Network streamed movies from a NAS drive or PC over UPNP via apps such as Airplayer (different to Airplay) downloadable from the Apple App Store gives the user a broad smart and sleek all in one music and video system which is flexible and cost effective.

SPECIFICATIONS

• Tweeter: 25mm

• Woofer: 130mm

• Power amplifier: 2x25W with DSP

• Input: Bluetooth Aptx V4+EDR, optical, coaxial, analogue (RCA, 3,5mm mini-jack)

• Output: Subwoofer, binding post for slave speaker, USB plug for charging

• Wireless connection: Bluetooth Aptx V4+EDR

• Power consumption standby: 0,5W (EUP2013)

• Dimensions (W x H x D): 166 x 205 x 345 mm

• Weight: 6.6kg

• Packaging Size (W x H x D): 435 x 425 x 285 mm

• Packaging Weight (Net / Gross): 12,5 kg / 13,5 kg

THE SOUND

In use the Tangent Spectrum X5 BT are pretty well detailed and have a bit of refinement to their top end which surprised me, at their price I did quietly expect a bit of boom and tizz, a scratchy over emphasised treble with an overly coloured bass response and that wasn’t evident here.

In my alcove with its own resonances and interaction of frequencies, being able to dial in the speakers bass from the remote control was an ideal feature and I did play with the treble to get it just right for my ears; Treble was not too rolled off and just over what seemed like the middle ground point (there is no visual reference for bass, treble or volume) which produced a really nice crystal clear sparkle to the top end. The tweeter is very sweet and agreeable, it doesn’t do any nasties and is a standout feature. I would have liked to see a balance control on the remote or as a dial on the rear for treble and this would just put the cherry on the cake for me.TANGENT_Sepctum5_08s

The Tangents are quite fun in their nature and I did find myself listening to a lot of Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop music on them. They do a nice bouncy beat. In comparison price-wise I’d say my old KRK RP5’s on sound quality, but they didn’t have any of the flexibility or range of connections and use of the remote control and there definitely wasn’t Bluetooth on offer – so you are paying a slight premium for all of these options and adding these facilities to the KRK’s would increase system size and overall price greatly.

Listening to some acoustic music was a very pleasant experience as the touch of refinement that the X5 BT has in the treble region. This allowed me to enjoy some really nice string work and give a pleasant bit of finesse to instruments; The treble also had the ability to loosen up a little more for those more fun tracks I mentioned.

Vocals were well balanced and weren’t forward which again was another surprising finding, in fact they are quite silky. Bearing in mind that the system is on the budget end of things, the midrange conveyed a quite interesting feeling, leaving female artists to wail away without any upper mid nasties… whether this is attributed solely to the mid/bass driver, crossover, or the very nice tweeter I don’t know, but I can report that I find the overall presentation very acceptable indeed.

CONCLUSION

The thing that needs to be ascertained from this review is – Do the Tangent X5 BT fulfil their obvious design brief of flexibility, functionality and produce a sound quality that isn’t over-shadowed by the latter?.

I believe so and I can conclude that they offer enough connectivity to keep 99% of consumers happy and most importantly they produce a sterling sound performance, conveying crisp refined high notes, clear vocals and a bit of fun to the bass.

Of course there are limitations to the deepest of bass notes and if connecting the TV in the living room explosions will not knock the plaster off the ceiling without attaching a subwoofer, but at the same time I can confidently say if you have bought these for a well behaved teenager you will be constantly telling them to turn them down!

There is no doubt that the Tangent Spectrum X5 BT is capable of running the most minimalist of sources or a whole range of separate items through its adornment of peripheral connections and this is the key to any system like this which boasts all in one functionality. Not limiting itself to one particular method of playback and by moving all of the connections and features from a main headunit and into the speakers themselves allows the user to decide which devices he or she wants to use and not be restricted to what the company has decided the package will do for them.

Build Quality: 8/10

Sound Quality: 8/10

Value For Money: 8/0

Overall: 8/10

Recommended for their range of connections, refined top end and good sound for your pound. 

Dan Worth

You must be logged in to leave a reply.