Manufacturer: Crystal Acoustics
Having surround sound used to mean speakers surrounded you; now it can mean that the speakers you have deliver a spatial sound. Very clever. And Crystal Acoustics has used this clever technology in its very cool looking SSB-1 Surround Soundbar, which comes with an iPod dock in the middle and an arrangement of four speakers on either side. As well as an iPod dock, it’s also designed to work with your digital living room so you can hook up your television, DVD player or games console as well and have it belt out everything from the Eurovision Song Contest to machine-gun fire in Call Of Duty. The extra functionality is a big winner in our opinion and means that one system can do pretty much everything.
The controls are extremely easy to use with a very responsive touch-button system. It also comes with a remote control, which allows full control of iPods including the iPod touch, and it’ll even work on the iPhone. Sound-wise the SSB-1 is very accomplished, delivering rich bass and very clear highs through an overall output of 200W. The spatial sound is only really evident at higher volume levels and does nicely mimic a surround-sound setup. This is created through the use of VSS (virtual surround sound) technology, which uses eight drivers to power the system. The SSB-1 has its own sub-woofer so there’s no need for any additional kit, and it even comes with wall-mounting brackets so you can fix it to a wall by your TV if you so wish.
Value for money: 8.0
Kung Fu Verdict: 7.9