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Audica AVS System 3 review

Got £1700 burning a hole in your pocket for a home cinema setup? Audica’s latest designer system is more than worthy of an audition

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.

Looking good

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 heavyweight

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. 

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5