Up close it looks a bit like an MDF project your dad knocked together in the 1980s but, given the price tag, Maxell's MXSP-SB3000 has an awful lot going for it in terms of its spec. Its size and strength mean it will accommodate huge TVs up to 80kg in weight and its rear panel boasts three HDMI inputs, an HDMI ARC, digital optical audio, coaxial audio and various analogue variants. The icing on the input cake is aptX-compatible Bluetooth audio streaming. Power output comprises 100W for the built-in sub and 30W each for its two full-range drivers. 

Challenging operation

An eight-character display on the front panel is just about legible from across the room and operation using the dull-looking remote is straightforward enough. The challenge is in extracting the best performance by hitting the right combination of SRS, bass setting and preset EQ mode (with four options). 

Get the settings right and the SB3000 will serve up a rich, resonant and well-imaged soundscape. It delivers terrific bass with music; the theme to Jaws has menace, with its two-note string theme beautifully balanced with the subtle horn. Vocals are profoundly affected by the bass setting and SRS, with the latter boosting Alexander Armstrong’s tones notably during a lazy afternoon in front of Pointless on BBC One. 

In cinema mode, when Iron Man crashes into the snow in the recent sequel, the sparks are distinct, while the falling water tower is clean and free of harshness. However, Robert Downey Jr’s dialogue is not as distinct here as in music or standard modes, even with SRS on. So while the SB3000 is capable of greatness you can’t just sit back and let it do the work. Overall, though, this is rather good.

Maxell MXSP-SB3000, £230, uk.maxell.eu/en

Verdict: 4/5