So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Sony Super MU.TE.KI (HTDDW8500) home theatre system
Need more power than the regular Sony MU.TE.KI? Just add more speakers
- Quad subwoofers deliver good bass, 7-channel audio suits Blu-ray movies
- Needs serious space, cabinets aren’t solidly constructed
If you want big, booming, mate-impressing sound, then the Sony Super MU.TE.KI (HTDDW8500) has exactly what you need. It’s large and brash and delivers a huge amount of bass when needed.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
The Sony Super MU.TE.KI (HTDDW8500) is a 7.4-channel surround sound system that doesn’t pull any punches. Everything you need to set up a large cinema room is included, so all you need to add is a big TV and a Blu-ray disc player.
Let’s be honest — the Super MU.TE.KI isn’t a hi-fi system that you would want to unpack every day. It comprises two floor-standing speakers, five surround speakers including a centre, three separate amplifiers and four subwoofers. With a total shipping weight of 105 kilograms it’s not very small-car or small-apartment friendly, and that’s before you find the room to store it all and set the system up. We tried setting up the system in a variety of fashions, ranging from a proper 7.1-style surround sound configuration with all the subwoofers bunched together to stacking the speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers in towers on top of each other. Either way, you’ll need a lot of spare floor-space.
After you’ve placed everything carefully, take it all back down again, because each individual speaker has to have speaker wire connecting it to the amplifiers. Forgot that, didn’t you? With a total of 11 speakers you’ll spend an hour threading and connecting cables; after it’s all set up, you won’t want to move it so be very sure you’ve got everything in the right place.
The three amplifiers — a central A/V receiver (which also powers the speakers) and two discrete subwoofer amplifiers — make an impressive stack. Each subwoofer amplifier has its own volume control, allowing you to easily set bass levels, but no power switch. The amplifiers are controlled remotely through the central receiver so if you want to cut off bass you’ll need to turn the volume down on both subwoofer amps. The A/V receiver also doesn’t pack in too many buttons, with a dial for selecting input and a volume control the most prominent features. The only other button you’ll need day-to-day is the Multi Stereo button, which matrixes a stereo signal to every speaker. For everything else, you can use the remote.
The A/V receiver’s video switching capabilities make it a good choice for a person with plenty of digital video devices. Three HDMI, three component and four composite inputs as well as a whole swag of analog and digital audio connectors mean you can plug in a range of devices simultaneously. Similarly, you can output video via HDMI, component or composite if needed. The receiver also up-scales lower resolution content to 1080p when using the HDMI output, doing so reasonably well. Plenty of detail was revealed in our test DVD of The Matrix without significant introduction of interpolated noise or artefacts.
Like the slightly less impressive non-super MU.TE.KI (HTDDW7500) hi-fi system, the Super MU.TE.KI (HTDDW7500) is not meek when it comes to sound. With the subwoofers set to half-power (12 o’clock on the amplifiers’ large rotary dials), we played a few rock and hip-hop tracks to put it through its paces. The system has a very lively, cinematic sound with strong, forward treble and booming bass.
Surprisingly, bass is not very versatile. With a fixed bass crossover of 150Hz we often found bass notes loud and slow without much of the floor-shaking thump we found when testing the comparatively svelte Bowers & Wilkins PV1. This might be a downside of the thin wood used for the construction of the speaker enclosures; the cabinets don’t feel as weighty or solid as we expected.
If you’re looking for a sound system that’s great for Blu-ray surround sound and big-explosion blockbuster movies, this is a simple choice for you. It might take you a day off work to set up, though.
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