I attribute the system’s many strengths to three things: first, the fundamental goodness of the Alpha B1 monitors, second, the expansive capabilities of the Alpha C1 center channel (which is surely one of the most capable center speakers in our survey), and third the proven power and punch of the SubSeries 5i subwoofer (which is hands down one of the best subs I’ve ever heard in a system this price). Interestingly, both the B1 and C1 speakers can go quite low on their own, and with real authority, which means the SubSeries 5i carries less of the overall workload than subs in some other systems do.
Put on almost any demanding movie soundtrack, such as the one that accompanies the famous car chase scene from Swordfish [Blu-ray], and you’ll immediately notice three things. First, the Alpha Studio Theater system manages to sound clear and unruffled, even when the action gets hot and heavy and the multi-layered soundtrack becomes complex. For example, you can always hear the distinctive engine note of the TVR sports car, even as all manner of mayhem cuts loose around it. Second, you’ll notice that whopping big dynamic moments don’t phase this system at all. Even in large rooms, explosions, car crashes, gunshots, and the like are clearly and confidently reproduced—performance I attribute in part to the terrific C1 center channel. Third, the SubSeries 5i exhibits real grace under pressure, making many subwoofers in this price class sound a little flabby and/ or overtaxed by comparison.