- Enters a cutthroat market and comes out on top
- Balanced, cohesive presentation
- Engaging dynamics
- Rich detail
- Decent bass weight
- Sturdy, compact build
- Gorgeous finish
- It won’t accommodate large TV stands
TechniSat isn’t exactly a household name around these parts. The German brand’s last appearance was in 2010 with a digital TV box – one of its first ventures after branching out from a life as a purveyor of satellite antennas.
Today its multifaceted catalogue has expanded to include TVs, radios, tablets, headphones and now a soundbase, the Audio Master BT. You could call TechniSat a jack-of-all-trades, but is it a master of this one?
Given the giant brands it is up against in the soundbase arena, the Audio Master BT is certainly a brave move. So how does it fare against its rivals?
Build and design
The Audio Master BT bears a striking resemblance to the Canton DM 50 we know and love (Canton actually powers it), with a plush glass top instead of a matt plastic one. It’s a smart design trait and almost a shame to hide it by putting a telly on top.
The sleek box is built to last and beautifully finished in a smooth lacquer – available in black or white – befitting of its asking price. Its compact build will please those who are short on space, but bear in mind that means it won’t accommodate tellies with stands exceeding its 55cm width and 30cm depth.
A blue text display spells out commands such as current input and volume level, and comes in handy when pairing your device over (aptX) Bluetooth. The text fades into a single green light after few seconds, keeping it as discreet as you’d want when watching TV.
Praise extends to the remote, which is reassuringly chunky and features just a handful of big, spaced-out buttons.
For its size, the Audio Master BT manages to cram in a lot under the hood. Four drive units – two 5cm midrange drivers and two 2cm tweeters – span the front, while two down-firing 10cm woofers can be found on its underbelly.
Joining the standard coaxial, optical and RCA inputs around the back is a more unusual output, which allows you to bring an external subwoofer onboard.
However, it’s not really necessary. The woofers work double time with the drivers to deliver decent bass weight and authority. Play the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ mountain scene and the revving trucks sound fierce, bursting through the iron gate with a defiant clunk.
You don’t get the full thwack of avalanches that you would from a more beastly base like the Cambridge Audio TV5, but there’s more clout and scale to explosions than you’d expect from a box this size.
The surround sound mode opens up the soundfield a little, though it takes a pinch of focus and clarity away from the midrange. We opted to stick with the default stereo mode.
Elsewhere, its assertive presentation wins our affections with its strict balance, engaging dynamics and effortless cohesion. Rich detail comes easily to the TechniSat, so everything from voices to sound effects feel solid and textured.
Trebly sounds are crisp and precise; even the smashing of windows and glinting of swords can’t upset the tonal balance. It doesn’t feel overworked in higher volumes, although slight distortion can creep into bass-heavy sounds when it nears the upper limits.
The Audio Master BT lends itself well to music over Bluetooth, too. It’s no replacement for a decent dedicated music system, but whether we play CD-quality WAV or low-res Spotify files, the delivery is enjoyably clear, balanced and upbeat.
There is tough competition in the soundbase market, particularly at the £350/$525 pricetag, but newcomer TechniSat has managed to get it right first time.
The Audio Master BT deserves its place on the top table, for no other reason than it gets the job done and looks good doing it – a pleasant surprise indeed.