Generally, we're not that enamored of all-in-one home theatre systems that offer only two speakers and a subwoofer. These setups usually require the speakers to bounce soundwaves off of walls to create an artificial surround-sound experience. That's fine if your system is in an appropriately shaped space but it can cause difficulties if your room isn't square.
Sony's new DAVX1 offers a different solution. Although the system has just two front speakers and a subwoofer, Sony imitates surround-sound by basically tricking your brain into believing noise is coming from all around you.
The front speakers are tiny (162 x 76 x 134mm w/h/d), so we found that sound lacked the impact you'd expect from a full 5.1 system, however we were surprised at how well the DAVX1 recreated a surround-sound effect.
The DVD player/amp can handle a wide variety of discs, including SACDs, and there are several connection options, though no DVI or HDMI. However, the lack of digital outputs is understandable given that the DAVX1 is more of a lifestyle product than a true enthusiast's. And at NZ$1,399 (US$993), it offers a good entry-level option for those wanting home theatre without the hassle of finding space for a swag of speakers.
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