A Blu-Ray Player With Big Sounds
Home Theatre, an ever growing trend not only among families, but also bachelors and bachelorettes. Anyone with a TV these days would either have a sound system or a Blu-Ray player, or maybe even a HTPC. The ASUS Impresario SBW-S1 Pro finds itself somewhere in between as a sound card and a Blu-Ray player/writer, though only able to reach its full potential when connected to a PC.
The Impresario can work independently as an optical drive, sound card and blu-ray writer so in a way it covers a lot of bases. Out of the box it looks very snazzy with its brushed gold top and silver body, which exudes a very classy feel and though small would easily catch a passing person’s eye quite easily. Weighing in at just 850g the Impresario can still be considered as a portable player, so if you ever go on holiday you can still being it along anywhere.
Testing it first as a Blu-Ray player, connecting all the required components to the Impresario was simple as there weren’t too many ports to think about. The movies played were clear and colours had great contrast and vibrancy, paired together with the clear audio made for an amazing audio visual experience. At the same time we also tested the 3D mode which was decent and added another layer of immersion to the experience.
Next we tested it as a headphone amplifier as it boasts to have incredible level of detail with its 600ohm headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier used in the Impresario is a TI TPA6120A2, and has great capabilities.Using an ASUS Vivo PC we connected it and configured it to work as a sound card. When listening to orchestral music, the sound was very open and we would say forward and we were able to hear the different layers of instruments so it has good separation.
When it comes to vocals the Impresario really impresses with sweet and forward mids, listening to Phantom of the Opera became a real treat. The highs extend quite far but no sibilance could be detected during any of our listening sessions, and the bass hits deep and low, though if the bass was slightly punchier that would’ve been preferred.
CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re a family person or single, the ASUS Impresario SBW-S1 Pro will definitely make a great addition to your home theatre. Even if you’ve connected it to a PC and monitor you can still enjoy its great sound, and if it’s connected to a TV you can revel in the beautiful and vibrant colours.
(previously published in issue November 2015)