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Bargain one-box 5.1 system from Argos

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by GrannySmith, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. GrannySmith

    GrannySmith
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    If anyone here is looking for a simple low-cost all-in-one 5.1 system to link up to an existing dvd player, here's a cracker for under £200 - the Acoustic Solutions DS1033, available from Argos. I first came across it at a mate's house last week, and while there are a plethora of such one-box sub/sat systems available for under £300, this one's a bit special. Prior to hearing it in action, I noticed the main box had adjustable spiked feet, very unusual at any price but on a £179 system? He fired up T3 and -wow - real bass, not just the usual one-note boom....okay it was'nt about to shake the fillings from my teeth like my Rel Q400 can, but this system produced a well-balanced sound overall, with decent enough steering of effects to sound like it cost at least twice the money. Both front and rear speakers come with adjustable stands in an attractive gun-metal finish, the satellites are 25-watt and the sub 90w RMS.

    I could'nt resist nipping back to my place to pick up a RA Yello powercord (the DS1033 unusually has a standard fig-8 socket on the rear) and one of Mark Grant's excellent £20 digital coax cables (see Powerbuy forum) to link the system to the dvd player (a £55 Ronin P80H). The difference was both immediate and obvious, in terms of the much-improved dynamics, soundstaging, image steering and musicality For a total cost of £230 this system is peerless IMO - okay so it only does dd5.1, with a meagre 4 effects modes available, but the results are both entertaining and listenable at all times.

    My own system cost more than ten times more than this, but I was impressed enough to pick one up from Argos to use in the bedroom. Unscrewing the sub cone from the main unit for a gander inside revealed decent enough component quality and - shock horror - a toroidal transformer, surely another sign that this system has been designed for decent sound on a beer-budget. Anyone who picks one of these up and applies the simple tweaks above will NOT be disappointed with the results..... :D
    Will.
     
  2. Clabs

    Clabs
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    Hi Will. I bought one of these around 6 months ago. I too was particularly impressed with the sound quality, particularly for the price. The only downside for me is that the control panel for it is built into the sub-woofer. I have recently taken delivery of an excellent corner av unit and the acoustic solutions box messed up the whole aesthetics. Went to richer sounds yesterday and bought a JVC THA75 which seems to have received some rave reviews. Spent yesterday evening setting it all up and whilst it looks beautiful, I have to say that I am pretty disappointed with the sound quality. I found the AS box very natural sounding and easy to listen to. On top of this, it is an extremely easy product to use. By comparison, my initial findings are that the JVC is tiring to listen to and complicated too.

    I will live with the JVC for a few more days and tinker with the settings some more to see if I can improve things but if not, it's definately going back. If it does go back, I will look at somehow taking the IR eye out of the AS box so that I can hide the subwoofer away and still control it.

    Cheers, Mark
     
  3. GrannySmith

    GrannySmith
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    Mark, as I recall there is a 4-wire ribbon cable linking the IR display to the main PCB inside the DS1033, so not too much hassle in extending this if you feel you want to, although I don't know how tricky removing the display will be, fingers crossed it's not glued in place. Give the JVC a week or more while switched on to 'burn-in' and show what it's capable of, most audio gear either sounds a bit edgy or woolly when new in my experience.

    Will.
     
  4. Clabs

    Clabs
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    Hi Will. I played around some more with the settings last night and couldn't make the jvc sound much better. Everyone who has listened to it has said the same thing. I thought I would have a go at hooking up the JVC to the Acoustic Solution speakers and what a difference it made. I am not sure about burning kit in - the AS box sounded good from the moment I switched it on.

    The whole purpose of buying the JVC was so that I could hide the Sub away round the back of the plasma (and a good excuse to buy a new toy!). I opened up the back of the AS sub. to see about extending the leads on the ir eye. Unfortunately, the control unit at the front of the box has wood glued all around it so a non starter there and I didn't really want to risk prising the front panel off.

    I thought I would try the AS box hidden away behind the plasma just in case the remote still worked. Well - it didn't work very well to start with but the batteries in my universal remote are getting on a bit so changed them and it works fine.

    My only gripe now is with the AS front speaker. It really spoils the lines of the plasma sitting on the av unit in front of the screen. At present, it is sitting on the shelf in the AV unit but it means I have to open the doors every time I use it. I suppose I will have to try to find something smaller.

    Still surprised that the JVC received such rave reviews.

    Cheers, Mark
     
  5. Syphonical

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    How many inputs does the system have? I need at least two.
     

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