Ladies, look away — this is a home theatre for blokes. Sony's latest Muteki and Super Muteki home theatre in a box (HTIB) systems have, rather unashamedly, absolutely no WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). As Sony puts it, these two systems are "for the boys who like big toys". Of the two imposing systems on offer, today we're wimping out and having a play with the "baby" of the pair. (The AU$1799 7.4-channel Muteki 8500 adds another two subwoofers for a grand total of four!).
Big boxes, multiple drivers, horn loaded tweeters, twin active subwoofers and power output handling in the thousands of Watts is what we’re talking about here. Dedicated AV amplification and processing combined with 7.2 channels of loudspeaker. All you need to do is add a Blu-ray/DVD player or plug in your gaming console and you'll have a home theatre system to seriously impress your mates with.
Collectively, it looks big and brutish, but impressive nonetheless. We were just able to shoehorn the Muteki system into our reasonably big listening room, so the Super Muteki with four subwoofers and even more power amps really will need some decent living space to occupy.
The main front pair of floor stands and the substantial centre speaker all feature big horn-loaded tweeters, while twin 200-Watt 10-inch subwoofers provide the low stuff. These are active, but are powered by a separate power amplifier, while the rest of the speakers are driven by a 7x 185-Watt AV control amplifier.
This component also handles the audio and video processing, although it's a bit short in this regard without any on-board DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital True HD decoding. There are three HDMI inputs and one out — this is pass-through only and there's no HDMI 1.3 support, so bear this in mind when hooking up ancillary HDMI source equipment. If you choose to let a player such as the to do the encoding instead, it will handle Linear PCM audio via HDMI.
Once all nine speakers were in place, we let auto-calibration do the work for us and sat back amidst all the hardware preparing for the onslaught. We chose 300 on Blu-ray as the first disc to spin, which is appropriately blokey fare. Loud, yes; dynamic, yes; lots of bass, yes; unruly and messy with it? Surprisingly not. OK, so this is perhaps not the lightest AV system on its feet, but the Sony did pleasantly strike a balance between sheer movie muscle and nimbleness when necessary. We liked the way it handled the "wind through the corn fields" type scenes, when blood and gore weren't filling the screen.