Hands On: Pinnacle Speakers’ Theater One 2.1 Powered Soundbase
The soundbar market has exploded, facilitating easy audio attachment sales that
meet homeowner demands for minimal obtrusiveness as well as simple secondary
room setups. Pinnacle Speakers’
Theater One 2.1 offers a stylish, versatile way
for integrators to beef up TV audio.
The Theater One is a powered soundbase, to be more specific, so it’s in the
category of soundbars that encourage TV placement on top — in this case, flat
panels up to 65-inch screens. My first impression was that it felt solidly
constructed for such a task; weighing 27 pounds, it’s hefty and sturdy. It’s 15
inches deep, only 5 inches high and just over 3 feet wide (38 inches), and it
has corner feet so no worries about scratching the top of whatever you’re
placing it upon.
The speaker is striking and looks great even when the grille is removed. The
black woodgrain finish (water and stain resistant, according to Pinnacle) is
attractive and provides a seamless façade around the front-panel drivers. The
“TheaterWide” array features a pair of 3-inch woofers and a single 1-inch
tweeter on each side. A partitioned cabinet helps separate them from the central
6.5-inch dual voice coil bass driver, which fires out through patented “Diaduct”
is simple: Sources get connected to the TV and from there are routed to the
Class D-amplified speaker via the display’s audio output. Pinnacle provides
several options for connecting to the Theater One’s rear-panel audio inputs,
which comes in handy. You can output digital optical or coaxial, or analog via
RCA through the usual left/right or a headphone output.
My Westinghouse LCD’s only choice was the headphone out. The rear panel also has
a subwoofer output; gain of 20/30/40dB (the minimum sufficed for me); power
input and auto on/off status; and volume/mute status. I plugged in the power
supply and the status lit red; when I turned on the TV it went green (connected
digitally it’s blue). Depending on the setup, you can use the TV remote to
control volume or the basic Pinnacle remote (up/down/mute); or program the
Theater One to learn to work with the TV remote.
My only gripe with using the speaker remote is that there is no status to let
you know volume level, if you’re approaching max, etc. — max SPL is rated at
102dB. Using an Integra Blu-ray player, I played CDs, Blu-rays and Netflix
streams through the Theater One. On virtually everything, the stereo playback
sounded smooth and natural, with nice imaging.
Doubts I had about the amount of bass a soundbase could deliver were quickly
erased, and I did not employ an external sub. Listening to Paul Simon’s
percussive Rhythm of the Saints CD I was impressed with the detail and
definition of the myriad instruments on songs like “The Coast,”
as well as its
What really sold me was how the speaker handled the opening of Star Trek: Into
Darkness on Netflix, which has everything from Kirk sprinting through a forest
to Spock navigating a crackling volcano, to an ensuing bomb explosion and
volcano eruption, and emergence of the Enterprise from the sea.
Add the soaring music score, and it all could have been a muddled mess — instead
the effects, dialog and music were crisp, impactful and spread over a wide
soundstage that was plenty immersive.
I had the volume up quite a bit and there was zero distortion. Soundbars might
presumably be the domain of secondary A/V areas, but
the Theater One easily
filled my medium-size living room.
Pinnacle has given dealers a solid option for
significantly upgrading TV audio without significantly adding to clients’