Product Test: Otone Stilo 5.1 Surround Sound System

  • Sumo

Overview

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.

Satellite Drivers

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 that you won’t find a suitable place to put them.

Subwoofer

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 an audio focus to the action you are watching.

On Test

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 real 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.

Verdict

As an entry level system the Stilo 5.1 excels and even compares variably with systems 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.

Tech Details

Otone Stilo 5.1 Speaker System

  • Website: www.otoneaudio.co.uk
  • Price: £169.99
  • Total RMS Power: 165W (5 x 20 + 65W)
  • Frequency Response: 70Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: >70dB
  • Satellite Drivers: 2 x 2” high-sensitivity twin drivers
  • Subwoofer: 5¼” long-excursion driver
  • Audio Input: 3.5mm six channel direct audio jacks, 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Power Supply: AC
  • Dimensions: Sat 253 x 65 x 106mm; Sub 257 x 245 x 255mm
  • Weight: 6.1kg

 

 Where to Buy

amazon.co.uk

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