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Marantz NR 1403 - AV receiver - 5.1 channel
Sony's DAV-DZ830 is an unsurprisingly stylish home-cinema system that features a full 5.1 speaker arrangement for a reasonable price of around £400.
There are some useful features including 720p and video upscaling, vanilla Dolby and DTS surround decoding and an optional media port for accessing digital files from a portable player or PC -- but is it style over substance?
There's a good deal of system for your money here, with five decent-sized satellite speakers supported by tall, height-adjustable stands -- all stylishly finished to complement the glossed black main unit and a separate subwoofer.
The speakers are wired through the stands while the rear channels are wirelessly controlled from a small infrared transmitter, which gives the system an attractively clean and inconspicuous appearance without having to trail wires the length of your room.
Once installed, the well-presented menus are easy to use and the accompanying remote is spacious and intelligently arranged. There's also a microphone-based calibration system that automatically adjusts all the audio settings without you having to make any effort.
If you've got a compatible television that can display upscaled video signals via HDMI, picture quality is impressive. There's plenty of detail and depth-defining contrast supported by decent black levels, although dark scenes can struggle to retain distinction. Colours are evenly balanced and natural, especially with skin tones -- so ambient films such as This Is England appear untainted and realistic.