Boston Acoustics Avidea 610
We've been through this many times before: tiny home theater-in-a-box systems can pull off a convincing home-theater experience but can't quite muster a satisfying CD sound. We're not sure how they did it, but Boston Acoustics' seriously compact Avidea 610 Integrated Home Theater System sidesteps that bugaboo. The catch: it retails for a hefty $1,199.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.The Avidea 610 consists of a combined receiver-DVD player unit, four generic-looking 5.9-inch-tall silver Micro 110x satellite speakers, a matching 8.25-inch-wide Micro 110c center speaker, and a midsize PV700 subwoofer. All of the speakers feature perforated metal grilles and wall-mounting brackets. If you place the center speaker on top of a TV, Boston provides an adjustable rear foot to direct the sound down toward the listening position. The sub mimics the styling of the sats in a black ash vinyl-wrap veneer, but it departs from the compact theme, being 14.25 inches high, 13.5 inches wide, and 16.75 inches deep and weighing 28 pounds.
With just six control buttons and a volume control, the receiver/DVD player is a model of simplicity. The display is also well organized, imparing information about source selection, surround processing, and volume level. At 9.6 pounds, it lacks the heft of a typical high-powered receiver; measuring 17.25 inches wide, 2.6 inches tall, and 13.6 inches deep, it'll easy squeeze into the most cramped cabinets.
That said, at this price level, we expect a higher level of build quality. The receiver/DVD player's silver plastic faceplate and the molded plastic sats just don't have the pizzazz of, say, Sony's aluminum-skinned DAV-FR9 or Onkyo's plasma-friendly HTIBs. We're not slighting the 610's actual quality, but it's not the sort of HTIB that'll woo buyers with flashy styling.
Setup menu navigation chores were reasonably straightforward, though we did note that unless we positioned the subwoofer within three feet of the front three sats, we could sense that most of the bass coming from the sub. We also noted the 610's background noise level was a little high; when we weren't playing CDs or DVDs, we heard low-level hiss coming from the speakers.