There was a time when the average bookshelf speaker was just "meh". It was meant to fill out the high end of your overall sound or to simply act as background — there was no cranking them and enjoying a full, rich soundscape.
Gone are those days, and now bookshelf speakers can act as a full sound system (depending on your space), and the SōLIS SO-7500 takes it one step further, with the addition of a vacuum tube/solid state hybrid amp.
Let's take a look at why this $350 system kicks ass all over town.
It's a grower, not a shower
The SO-7500 system may be relatively compact, but its size belies it's massive sound. Thanks to its vacuum tube amp, which outputs 12W to each speaker, this thing hums and booms and bangs and rocks.
Each speaker features a 3.5-inch woofer and a 1.25-inch tweeter, which help to create a surprisingly well-rounded sound. The high end is lovely and crisp, and I cranked this system trying to distort it to no avail — it's clean right to 11. And that's with Spotify streaming music at that. I only tested the Bluetooth functionality of this system, but it does come with a handy aux cable, so you can connect your legacy devices, like turntables.
The key to getting the best sound out of the SO-7500 system is placement. So long as you're pretty on-level with the speakers, they sound incredible. If you're a bit above them, some of the low end gets lost. If you're above them, you lose some highs. If you have them on a bookshelf in the corner or one on each side of the room, you're golden. I cranked them up in my living room and went about my business in the kitchen, and it was blissfully balanced.
Playing music over Bluetooth is enhanced thanks to the inclusion of Qualcomm's aptX codec, which helps boost the quality (so long as your phone or tablet has it too).
Like a sexy leather jacket
The SO-7500 system is gorgeous. Its sleek black finish is shiny and alluring, and the silver accents on the tube housing and volume/audio mode knobs add the perfect amount of bling. Beware that the amp unit and speakers pick up fingerprints like a med student collects debt, which is why SōLIS has included a pair of white gloves for handling. There's also a soft brush to help get rid of dust on the unit and the tubes themselves.
The speakers are all black with removable mesh, though the shape of the mesh completes the aesthetic, so I'd leave 'em on. Everything about the SO-7500 is elegant, right down to its speaker cables, which are finished with banana plugs — no fartin' around trying to push wire through a hole and tightening the knob only to have the wire come loose at some point and thinking your speaker is KO-ed.
Should you buy it? Hell yeah
At roughly $350, I think the SO-7500 system is totally worth it. With a powerful little tube amp and more than capable speakers, it can easily replace a much larger set of speakers and a receiver. You can plug in your turntable or CD player, stream from any Bluetooth-capable audio device like your phone or tablet, and you get all that in a pretty affordable package.
Since having reviewed so many speakers and systems, I've really learned that when it comes to quality sound, you pay for what you get (whether that actually justifies the high price of high-end speakers is another story), and the SO-7500 systems is a great marriage of affordability and quality. When you think about the fact that Bose's QC35 Bluetooth headphones are the same price, it kind of puts things into perspective in terms of bang for your buck.
Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.