So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Good up-scaling to 1080i through HDMI, lively sound
- Cheap materials, lacks mid-range
The HT-CN650DVW is a well-priced home theatre system, which has a very musical sound and plenty of punch.
Price$ 489.00 (AUD)
Sharp's HT-CN650DVW home theatre system is simple to set up, offers the option of HDMI output and up-scaling and has a lively musical sound that is well suited to action movies and rock music.
Set up of the system was very simple, with the combined receiver/DVD player easily connected to the speakers through the supplied cables. For a system that isn't high-definition capable, it sports a wide range of video outputs. Composite is the default option, but component, S-Video and HDMI can be selected.
The receiver has a simple black and silver finish and is as slim as a regular DVD player. The speakers are finished in a generic matt black plastic and feel light and cheaply built. The subwoofer, however, has noticeably better construction, and is as heavy as all other components combined. One obvious shortcoming is the unit's liquid crystal display, which was difficult to see from across the room.
When changing from composite to HDMI output, the difference in video quality was immense. Users should note that the HDMI output was disabled by default, which meant that it was necessary to change to composite cables in order to initially access the on-screen menu and change the system settings. Once we sorted that out, everything looked great. While the up-scaling to 1080i means a little detail is lost, standard definition footage still looked great at this resolution.
Sound from the unit was on par with other home theatre systems of a similar price. The Sharp system has a lively sound, with heavy emphasis on treble and bass notes. It's common to find this in surround-sound home theatre systems, due to the combination of powerful subwoofers and small satellite speakers, which are very capable for bass and treble, but lack mid-range power.
The receiver has a decent range of adjustability options for speakers and audio settings. Individual frequency ranges can be boosted or lowered, and there are several equaliser settings which alter audio noticeably. Most standard audio formats like Dolby Digital Pro Logic II and DTS are able to be decoded.
While the jazz, classical, rock and pop settings change the weighting of different frequency ranges, the system consistently focused on higher and lower notes, missing out on mid-range. This was most evident when listening to live or acoustic music, where guitar and piano instruments are commonly used.
The HT-CN650DVW is capable of impressive volume levels. We found listening levels of over 50 per cent uncomfortable in a small room, and we weren't able to notice any distortion or loss of fidelity regardless of volume.
When listening to treble-focused music such as high female vocals, the satellite speakers performed well. Even at higher volumes there was only a small amount of harshness and distortion, and the sounds were clear.
The subwoofer is a capable unit. Despite being quite tall, it's also thin and narrow, and wouldn't be obtrusive in a living room setting. The attached cable is also several metres long, allowing the subwoofer to be placed quite a distance from the receiver and other speakers.
Lower frequency sounds from the subwoofer were strong and punchy without being overwhelming. In general, the bass was quite powerful, lending a very cinematic sound. Combined with the clear treble, this makes the system well suited to action movies or rock music.
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