A wallet’s greatest fear is often the imminent purchase of an all-in-one home cinema setup. And with good reason: for every outrageously good value system like the Pioneer DCS-363, there’s a designer setup like this Audica threatening to turn the head of the hapless shopper.
While the AVS System 3 certainly isn’t cheap, the quality of its components actually offer pretty good value for money. The speakers usually sell for £100, meaning you’re getting the AVR-1 DVD receiver for just £600.
The AVR-1 is an attractive, slimline unit, just 6.5cm tall, and has a slot-loading drive for DVD-V, DVD-A and CDs. It also has a powerful 6x60W output and, as you’d expect, upscales video to 720p and 1080i.
There are some nifty extras too. The on-screen menus help you to set it up and there are inputs for four external sources including an optical digital connection – perfect for your Sky HD box.
And whether you place the speakers on a wall, the floor, a stand or a shelf, the onboard digital signal processor will recognise the surface and calibrate the speakers to output optimum tonal quality. What a clever old thing.
Video output looks cracking, even on larger screens. The AVS System 3 punches hard visually, with dynamic tonal variations and razor sharp definition.
And the sound is more than a match for the visual appeal – we wouldn’t want to push it very hard in a huge room, as things can harden up a little at the extremes, but in most modern living rooms there’s more than enough power and clarity on offer.
Best of all, though, is the superb integration between the speakers – an Audica hallmark. You could buy a different DVD player and receiver and add them to the speakers, but you’d be missing out on the equalisation needed to create the AVS System 3’s smooth, enveloping sound.