MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
- Sounds decent, reasonably priced, does everything
- No subwoofer, cables too short
An impressive system that seems capable of doing almost everything and still comes in at a good price
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
The latest offering from LG is a strange concept; a Micro Hi-Fi DVD Home Theatre Karaoke Cassette Deck system. The quirky LX-D5640 is unlike any micro Hi-Fi we've ever seen previously, nor is it like any home theatre system. Nevertheless, we like it.
So what exactly do you get in the box? The LX-D5640 is billed as a 5.1 system, though it appears LG has left the .1 lying around somewhere. There are five speakers but there isn't actually a subwoofer, which is unusual for the average home theatre system, but then again there's nothing average about the LX-D5640. We were concerned that the unit just wouldn't be able to produce the heavy bass that home theatre demands, but thankfully we need not have worried. LG has implemented a multitude of equalisers and settings that boost the lower frequency sound to levels approaching what we'd expect from a subwoofer. Those people who really want to feel the sofa move won't be satisfied but for everyone else it should be fine. The reason the LX-D5640 can get away with not using a subwoofer is the fact it has larger than average front speakers, both containing dual woofers. If you're really desperate for extra bass, the system does include a subwoofer connection on the back, though obviously you'll need to have a spare subwoofer lying around somewhere.
The LX-D5640's quirks aren't limited to its modes of operation. LG has opted to split the control unit in two leaving one half with the amplifier and speaker connections, the other with the DVD drive and cassette deck. The reasons for this become apparent when you realise LG intends the system to be placed either side of the television rather than under it. The two main speakers then perch on top, transforming the LX-D5640 into a pair of gleaming towers. The one flaw with this solution is that the cables LG provide are only long enough to stretch across a 32 inch television. Longer cables please.
Once the two towers are set up the remaining three speakers can be placed wherever you desire and configured using the on-screen menu. Then all that is left is to connect the television. LG has included a decent range of connections including composite, component and digital optical audio. With component output the video quality of the DVD player is fairly good. The sound quality when watching DVDs was good with support for Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS sound formats. The audio is nicely balanced with rich tones, though it sounds flat without setting the various equalisers. There was one problem, however, which was the relatively low volume during DVD playback. When listening to music the volume is far louder and some people may find the comparative sound for DVDs to not be adequate. A word of warning though: turn off some of the equalisation when playing music or you'll find your favourite songs distorted.
The LX-D5640 can also play MP3s and WMA files from CD, has built in DivX support, can display JPEGs from CD, has a cassette deck, a fully featured radio, and last but not least - karaoke mode. Most of the extra features are accessed from the on-screen menu, and they all worked really well. We were very impressed with the unit's playback of MP3s, WMAs, JPEGs and DivX files. This is one of the very few units we have tested where they all worked correctly, and where file browsing was made intuitive. The karaoke function was a bit of a let down as it's basically just a microphone input with a dedicated volume control. There are a few extras such as 'echo' mode, but really it's nothing to get excited about and doesn't support the CD+G format commonly used by karaoke machines. To use the karaoke function you will need to make sure your karaoke discs are in the supported Video-CD or DVD formats.
On the whole though, we were impressed by the range of features LG has crammed into the LX-D5640 for such a low price. If money is tight and you're looking to replace your Hi-Fi while making a move into the world of Home Theatre, you can't go wrong with the LX-D5640.
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