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Instant Theatre 5.1: KEF KIT200

Instant Theatre 5.1: KEF KIT200

The KIT100 Instant Theatre is one of our favorite compact all-in-one 2.1 virtual sound home-theater systems. But even the best 2-speaker system can't fully re-create the effect of a true surround system, so Britain's KEF Audio has expanded the Instant Theatre line with a full-on 5.1 system. Features-wise, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the KIT200--it's just a standard home theater in a box, with a single-disc CD/DVD player, 5 tiny satellite speakers, and a 10-inch subwoofer. But the design is to die for; this black beauty is one of the slickest systems we've seen to date. The head unit retains the KIT100's tiny size (about the same as a hardcover book), while the 5 svelte speakers each utilize three of KEF's Uni-Q drivers, with the tweeters situated in the center of the woofers. Moreover, the speakers are wall mountable, and optional shelf and floor stands let you customize the KIT200 to your room's individual needs. The KIT200 hits U.S. shores sometime in the first quarter of 2006. Pricing wasn't officially announced, but considering the system goes for £1,500 in the United Kingdom, where it's been available since November, it needs to go for far less than its current dollar equivalent (about $2,600). For a system that doesn't offer extras such as the HDMI upscaling or iPod compatibility found on the $1,600 Denon S-301, that's just too much.