System 1400 / 224 SB
Home-Theater Speaker System
1400 LR main speaker
Price: $470 USD per pair
Dimensions: 10.4"H x 6.4"W x 7"D
Weight: 6 pounds each
Model: 1400 C center speaker
Price: $305 USD
Dimensions: 12.4"W x 7.1"H x 6.6"D
Weight: 8 pounds
Model: 1400 SR-z surround speaker
Price: $425 USD per pair
Dimensions: 12.25"W x 8"H x 5.4"D
Weight: 7 pounds each
Model: 224 SB subwoofer
Price: $550 USD
Dimensions: 14.25"W x 13.25"H x 15.4"D
Weight: 31 pounds
Five years on all passive components, one year on subwoofer.
System price: $1750 USD
- Low Resonance Tweeters (LRT)
- Graphite-Loaded Homopolymer woofers
- MDF enclosures
- Magnetically shielded
- Boundary compensation switch (1400 C)
- Tweeter level switch (1400 C)
- 10" long-throw woofer (224 SB)
- 180W amplifier (manufacturer rated) (224 SB)
Peter Tribeman, president of Atlantic
Technology, has two goals in mind for the company he founded in 1989: to bring quality
home audio to the masses at a decent price, and to create complete home-entertainment
speaker systems that deliver superior surround sound when hooked up to most of the A/V
electronics on the market today.
But while focused on delivering quality speakers to the
home-theater enthusiast, the Atlantic engineers know that most consumers use their systems
to also listen to CDs, MP3s, and Internet radio; so they design their speakers with the
typical music lover in mind as well.
Atlantic Technology states that they were the first audio
company to create "compact, totally self-powered systems," beginning in 1989
with the Pattern 100 and Pattern 200. The Pattern 200 featured as a selling point onboard
Dolby Pro Logic -- very few speaker systems ever offered that feature. That sort of
innovation is good evidence that Atlantic actually does think outside the proverbial box.
The System 1400 speaker system ($1200 USD) comprises five
speakers in three models: two 1400 LRs, a two-way sealed box; one 1400 C, a two-way center
speaker, and two 1400 SR-z surround speakers. Atlantic also sent along one of their 224 SB
subwoofers ($550). On removing the speakers from their boxes, I noticed that their
jet-black cabinets all had an ultraslick finish usually seen only in much more expensive
speakers. This system doesnt look "budget" at all.
The 1400 LR ($470/pair) measures 10.4"H x 6.4"W x
7"D and weighs 6 pounds. Each speaker has a 4.5" Graphite Loaded Homopolymer
(GLH) woofer and a 1" Low Resonance Tweeter -- a soft-dome design that AT claims
makes the System 1400 sound clean and dynamic. The 1400 LRs claimed frequency
response is a respectable 90Hz-20kHz, +/-3dB, and its nominal impedance is 8 ohms. The
crossover frequency of the third-order crossover is 2.25kHz, and the recommended
amplification is 10-100W.
The 1400 C center-channel speaker ($305) also has that
1" Low Resonance Tweeter, crossed over at 2.25kHz to two 4" GLH cones. Its
frequency response is 95Hz-20kHz, +/-3dB, its nominal impedance is 8 ohms, and its
recommended amplification is 10-125W RMS. At 12.4"W x 7.1"H x 6.6"D the
1400 C is fairly narrow, and should be easy to fit into smaller home theaters, even
bedroom systems. It weighs 8 pounds.
The 1400 SR-z surround speaker ($425/pair) measures
12.25"W x 8"H x 5.4"D and weighs 7 pounds. It has two 3.5" full-range
drivers, a frequency response of 110Hz-20kHz, +/-3dB, and a nominal impedance of 8 ohms.
It can be switched between bipole and dipole operation. Depending on your room, surrounds
placed close to your ears might sound better in the more diffuse-sounding dipole mode.
The 224 SB subwoofer has a 10" long-throw composite
cone, a 180W RMS amplifier, and a frequency response of 33-250Hz, +/-3dB. It measures
14.25"W x 13.25"H x 15.4"D and weighs 31 pounds. When I powered it up, I
saw that a faint small green light illuminated behind the fabric cloth of the
subwoofers front end. An indicator that the subwoofer is powered up is great if your
listening position is across the room and youre wondering if its turned on.
Champing at the bit to see how much of a difference the
System 1400 would make in my system, I inserted the Blu-ray edition of The Bank Job
in my Sony PlayStation 3. I skipped through the chapters until I got to the main action
sequence, in which a small group of London thieves recruited by Terry Leather (Jason
Statham) starts using jackhammers to tunnel into a Lloyds bank. A well-defined and
sonically precise center-channel speaker is an important element in any home-theater
system, but the 1400 C somewhat blurred the dialogue in this action sequence. Even turning
the center channels volume all the way up didnt help.
I was hoping the 1400 SR-z surrounds would do a better job
of delivering surround effects than the 1400 C had done with dialogue. As the musical
score accelerated in tempo as the thieves broke through the concrete floor of the main
vault, the surrounds did an impeccable job of replicating the musics brilliantly
orchestrated midband, and I was thoroughly engulfed in the lower bass to upper midrange.
The 1400 SR-zs sounded right on the money -- when the jackhammer finally smashed through
the floor, I heard a very loud and natural crunk as chunks of concrete flew around
the vault and plowed into the walls. I could hear no distortion as the scene progressed,
nor any muddiness in the overall sound. During this intense action sequence, the 1400
SR-zs did not sound small.
Like most home-theater buffs, I prefer deep, impactful
bass, and a really good test of a subwoofers performance in a home-theater system is
an explosion -- any muddiness or dull decay in the low end will ruin the effect. I was
very pleased with Atlantics 224 SB subwoofer. I was amazed at the amount of low-end
energy it delivered as the thieves got into a lethal shoot-out with some local thugs. The
bass exploded into the soundstage with excellent clarity and fullness. The clean, vivid
imaging of the System 1400, coupled with the bass contributed by the 224 SB, added an edge
to the urgency of this intense gun battle as the thieves narrowly escaped death. The 224
SB never disappointed me during The Bank Job.
No speaker review would be complete without examining the
cleanness of the midrange. I inserted Ted Nugents Weekend Warriors (CD, Epic
EK 35551) into my PS3, listened to the title track of this hard-rock classic, and was
blown away by the 1400 LRs ability to replicate the intricate tenor of Nugents
twangy guitar while delivering the full impact of the tracks bass elements,
including the hard-driving percussion.
But while Nugents guitar is obviously the centerpiece
of "Weekend Warriors," the 1400 SR-z surrounds did a fine job of transitioning
all the other instruments that are vital parts of this track into the overall soundstage.
This good blending resulted in the music sounding much more alive, no matter the output
The 1400 C center speaker did a much better job with Dolby
Pro Logic-processed CDs than it did with the Blu-ray sound of The Bank Job. This
was a major relief to me; Id been worried that the center speaker wouldnt be
able to handle the more raucous elements of the hard-driving "Weekend Warriors."
But the 1400 C handled Nugents voice with aplomb, delivering him with good clarity.
Next I listened to Nugents "Good Friends and a
Bottle of Wine." The treble produced by the lead guitar was dropped into my listening
area with a precision that expertly presented Nugents fluid style, while
accentuating the clean low end of the bass guitar with an incisiveness that showed what
the 1400 LRs could bring to my overall listening experience.
A similarly sized 5.1-channel speaker system that retails
at the lower cost of $1200 is Definitive Technologys ProCinema 800. The DefTech
system features 4.5" aluminum drivers that project a strong midrange and a precise
soundstage, but the system didnt make nearly as much of an impact in the low bass as
did Atlantic Technologys with the 224 SB, which is a major highlight of the system
under review. The ProCinema 800 didnt sound as tonally well balanced during certain
musical passages of the Blu-ray edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the
King. I began to hear more of what I truly like with the System 1400: a deeper low end
and a much more vibrant midband. And the treble sounded cleaner overall -- Atlantic
Technologys Low Resonance Tweeter seems nicely extended.
The only advantage that DefTechs ProCinema 800 had
over ATs System 1400 was the formers center speaker, which delivered much more
detailed dialogue than did the 1400 C. As reproduced by the DefTech center, the tonal
naturalness of speaking voices in The Return of the King spoke volumes about this
systems ability to present cleaner, less boxy sound in a films quieter
I was not as impressed with the more mundane appearance of
the ProCinema 800 speakers basic black cabinets, which would not fit varying décors
as well as the finishes of the bolder-looking Atlantic Technology System 1400.
Worth the money?
For someone looking for a complete 5.1-channel speaker
system to enhance his or her audio listening experience without going broke, I recommend
Atlantic Technologys System 1400. A larger center-channel speaker with clearer
dialogue and lower bass response would be nice, but otherwise, the System 1400 / SB 224
has a lot going for it: a relatively low retail price, an attractive and compact
appearance, and the extremely powerful and dynamic 224 SB subwoofer. Every audio component
has strengths and weaknesses to varying degrees, and the System 1400 is no exception.
Overall, its a well-balanced system whose strengths might find favor with many
|Speakers -- Definitive
Technology ProCinema 800
-- Onkyo TX-SR506
|Source -- Sony PlayStation 3
-- Monster cable
|Display device -- Sony XBR