The distinctive Stilo shapes are transformed in to a full home entertainment system with the addition of two rear speakers and a centre speaker. The centre speaker delivers crisp midrange while the four satellite speakers create a panoramic surround sound. Add in the dynamic bass from the 65W Vortex Drive™ subwoofer and whether you’re looking for a true home cinema effect or intense gaming, the Stilo 5.1 speaker system brings the experience to life.
For music-lovers, the benefits are just as apparent: this 5.1 surround sound system delivers finely balanced, clean and rich, distortion-free sound. Power and volume, as well as bass and treble adjustment can be controlled via the wireless IR remote control. As computer speakers, meanwhile, the Stilo 5.1 speaker set works as well as with iTunes as it does with iPlayer – and more.
Otone Stilo 5.1 Speaker System Website: www.otoneaudio.co.uk Price: £169.99
You can spend anything from £25 to £5,000 (and even more with customisation) on a 5.1 multimedia speaker system, though to buy at the top of the range you have to be a hardcore audiophile (and very wealthy), while at the bottom, you’re probably better off plugging a few empty baked bean cans into the audio socket on your Xbox.
Otone is a new audio manufacturer and, as such, is looking to open its attack on the market with an impressive salvo. The big hitter in its new range is the Stilo 5.1, which is compatible with Xbox 360, PC and any console or multimedia device with a standard 3.5mm stereo or surround output. Otone’s development focus has been on the sub and mid-range output of the Stilo 5.1, which is designed to give a really meaty sound to any explosions or bass orchestral sweeps, as well as enhancing the clarity of any vocals. In practice, the default setting took some tuning before the bass stopped drowning out the higher frequencies, but we soon found the right balance for a rich panoramic sound experience.
These 20-watt satellite speakers are surprisingly weighty and feel very solidly built, which is a mark of their overall quality. They’re seated on pedestals, rather than wall- mountable brackets, so you will need to make sure
you have the appropriate space and surfaces to put them all on, especially for the rear satellites.
The centrepiece of this system is the subwoofer, which has a 65-watt bass output for an overall 165-watt system (including satellites). According to the spiel, Otone has ‘tightened up the bass drivers’ to improve their response
time and thus the sound quality. All we know is that the sound it produces is a huge improvement over TV speakers.
You can hook your Xbox up to the subwoofer using a 360 AV cable and an RCA to 3.5mm adapter (google these, if you’re not sure what they are). The 5.1 amplifier chip in the sub split the audio into a surround signal. For other devices with their own 5.1 output, the Stilo sub has 3.5mm surround analogue inputs for centre, satellite and sub.
The lithium battery-powered remote controls the sub and satellite volume as well as switching surround on or off... though we’re not sure why you’d want to switch back to stereo. It’s also quite small and as there are no controls on the sub itself, it’s the only means of adjusting the volume, so be careful not to lose it.
With comparable systems in the £200-plus bracket, Otone is trimming the fat at £169.99 with the solid build and exceptional sound quality of the Stilo. If you’re looking for an upgrade, it’s a safe investment.
Ben Biggs, Games Editor 360 Magazine
********* [9/10 stars]
PRICE/ £169.99 RELEASE DATE/ MARCH 2012
Want the full surround- sound experience for your Xbox? Well, the Stilo 5.1 speakers from Otone Audio could be what’s missing from your gaming life.
Consisting of five speakers, a subwoofer, a central control hub and a remote control, the speakers come as a result of Otone’s extensive research into the speaker market, prompting it to tweak the bass controls in order to improve WWW.X360MAGAZINE.COM the speed of syncing between the audio and the on-screen action, thus giving better clarity of sound.
In action, the speakers genuinely work well. If set up correctly, the overall quality serves to produce a noticeable improvement in sound over any TV’s built-in speakers. This is probably most evident in the more atmospheric of single-player games – shooters like the COD series especially, where background noise and chatter comes from all around you – but even in group play, where the noise of the crowd makes FIFA an even more engrossing experience than before.
Possession of this power, however, comes at a high cost, and that’s not including the price tag. The subwoofer is the size of a small amp, providing a dilemma for those who like to carry their Xbox with them everywhere they go. Furthermore, it can have an encroaching effect on your living space, with the wires for the speakers proving to be a major trip hazard, especially if you only have limited wall space. For such a great listening experience, however, this is a small price to pay.
Otone are a new UK based company that are hoping to break the home and computer audio markets. As they are a new entry to the market their pricing is low, but don’t let that put you off, as the quality of the speakers you get for your money is more than competitive. Otone are new and relatively unknown they are already offering a fairly comprehensive range of speaker systems from the portable, to the desktop 2.0, 2.1 and full-on 5.1 markets. Based in manchester Otone appear to be an ethical company and include power saving features in their products as standard as well as using recycled packaging.
Stilo 5.1 – First Impressions
The Stilo 5.1 is the flagship of the range which is compatible with PCs, game consoles and a whole host of multimedia devices via standard 3.5mm stereo or surround output. Out of the box the Stilo looks pretty much like any other 5.1 system, with exception that Otone uses a lime green colour to highlight the satellite speaker diaphragms, this is combined with black and silver shells, it is an attractive looking system without being groundbreaking. The sub-woofer is a bit on the hefty side for a computer system (the whole system weighs in at 6.1kgs), but it’s fine for gaming or watching films. The stilo comes with a IR remote which is attractive and gives a range of adjustment functions which means you won’t need to be constantly digging around behind your TV.
The Stilo comes with 4 20w satellite drivers, which feel sturdy and are fairly weighty for the price. They come on pedestals for easy placement around the room, but there is not a bracket mounting option as far as we could see. The rear speakers come with longer cabling which is useful larger rooms, and means that you are unlikely not to find a suitable place to put them.
The centrepiece of the 165w system is undoubtably the subwoofer which contributes 65w to the overall package. The unit itself is relatively large and Otone state in their blurb that they have tightened up the drivers to improve their response time and thus the sound quality. The unit also has a “Patented Vortex Drive System” which is supposed to help dissipate the air flow out of the speaker and therefore reduce noise distortion. It certainly adds enough grunt in stereo and surround modes in practice, and we didn’t notice and distortion on test.
Centre – Speaker
The key to a good 5.1 system is the centre speaker that delivers the mid-tones and gives the necessary vocal clarity to music and film dialogue. Otone boast that they have made a number of refinements to give “an optimum mid-range output”. Once you make sure this speaker is located below or on top of your TV or monitor, you will notice the clarity this speaker brings, as well as giving a audio focus to the action you are watching.
For gaming you can hook up your console via a 360 AV cable and a RCA to 3.5mm adapter, alternatively if you have a native 5.1 outputs you can connect via these as well. For those of you who are new to surround sound, this means that the system has 3 analog 3.5mm inputs for the subwoofer, centre and satellites. If you want to run stereo alone you can do this through the 3.5mm socket.
For the money (£169.99) whilst gaming the Stilo 5.1 delivers a rich intensive experience, both background noises as well as explosions are heightened, and you feel the soundscape all around you. You feel this particularly with single player shooters and team games where you’ve got crowds chanting all around you.
For cinema the Stilo offers a good improvement on built-in TV speakers, bringing a general richness to dialogue and incidental background noises. If however you are a really movie buff, or have a finely honed ear you might find that it lacks a degree of refinement for subtle noises and classical music. Otherwise for the money the Stilo is a great option for day-to-day TV and movie watching.
As an entry level system the Stilo 5.1 excels and even compare variably with system that would be considered mid-range. It’s looks a fresh and interesting, but with the lime highlights you’ll need to consider whether it would fit in with your room. It’s strength is as a gaming system with frequent use for films, alternatively if you want to watch films on a computer monitor, it lends a new level of refinement to the experience. If you already have a mid-range 5.1 system and use it for serious cinema, this is probably not the upgrade you are looking for. But if you are looking to buy your first 5.1 surround system you should seriously consider the Stilo, and should definitely be on your short list.
Check out the online review HERE.
Stilo 5.1 goes through an unboxing with one of the leading tech and gadget video reviewers on YouTube.
MrThaiBox123 has over 10,000 subscribers to his reviews and has had nearly 4 million video views to date, check out his unboxing of Otone Audio's Stilo 5.1 speaker HERE. The full product review will follow shortly.
You can now also check out the FULL PRODUCT REVIEW video here.