Home Theater Product Review

NIRO 1.1 STD Home Theater in a Box

December, 2003

Brian Weatherhead



  • Integrated Receiver

  • Single Disc Progressive Scan

  • 30Watt x 3 (main) and 50Wx1 (sub)

  • .006% THD

  • S/N: 96db (1khz)

  • DTS, DD Decoding

  • 2 AV Inputs 1 outputs

  • 8" subwoofer

  • AM/FM 30 Presets

MSRP $599 USA 




The NIRO system isn't typical of the systems that we reviewed for our HTIB Roundup, because it is essentially a two speaker system. However, it is important to note that home theater does not have to consist of surround sound.

The 1.1 is composed of a head unit that is the size of 1/2 height component, a center channel speaker, and a sub. I know you are already asking how in the world can one speaker and a sub pull off 5.1 surround. Very well. The unit will also play MP3 CDs.

The 1.1 Package

Now don't misunderstand me, the 1.1 is not a 5.1 surround system, but a 3.1 system that simulates the other two surrounds. It is the best solution I have seen for those people who don't want five or more speakers all over their room.

Included is a DVD Player/Tuner and amplifier in one unit. The DVD portion features Composite/S-Video/Component output and it also has progressive scan. There are AUX inputs for other components as well.

A word of caution, the unit decodes standard DTS/DD material and puts it through proprietary circuits to recreate the 5.1 on the center channel. Hence it uses a non-standard connector on both the center and sub. This is to your benefit, as using a ordinary direct radiating speaker wouldn't work. The 1.1 uses a combination direct radiating (center channel) and dipolar arrangement (left right & surround).

Set-Up and Listening

With three 3" speakers in the center channel, don't expect this system to play to reference levels. It will play fairly loud, and it's adequate for music and movies under average conditions. I set up the system in my rectangular theater room, which is essentially 18' x 24' in size. I was very surprised at how convincing the center and left right channels were produced, the surround effect was weaker than a standard system (naturally), and had a touch too much reverberation. But . . . and this is a big but . . . the product delivered what it promised. The effect works, and would be satisfactory for entry level enthusiasts, especially where available room is a big concern.

I moved the system into my living room, which lacks the sidewalls of my home theater, and as expected the surround effect was diminished. The system relies heavily on reflections and psycho-acoustics.

The 8" sub provided is fine for small rooms. As with most subs its size, it doesn't have the extension of the big guns.


For its intended purpose, the NIRO 1.1 STD system delivers in spades . This is the perfect solution for those small dorm rooms where hanging speakers all over won't work. It would also be perfect for dens and other situations where there are no locations for surrounds. This system performs much better then other "compact" or "cube" systems currently on the market.

-Brian Weatherhead -


Copyright 2003 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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