SAMSUNG 7.1 CHANNEL BLU-RAY 3D HOME-THEATRE SYSTEM E6750W
Samsung, $1199 samsung.com/au ★★★★
DIGITAL hometheatre systems tend to use digital parts. Buy a surround-sound system and you’d expect it to use a digital amplifier to make modern TV broadcasts, highdefinition movies and even TV downloads echo pleasingly around your lounge room.
Samsung’s latest hometheatre system does that, of course, but it also includes one distinctly analogue component that should impress audiophiles: valves.
Once common in audio products, valves or vacuum tube amplifiers were replaced by transistors and then digital amps in all but the most expensive audio products.
Audiophiles still speak glowingly about valve technology and the warm, rich sound it produces, however, which was enough to convince Samsung to add the technology to its new kit.
These valves are illuminated and exposed in a transparent panel at the front of the kit’s hub: a 3D Blu-ray disc player. They look like miniature light globes.
The brain of the E6750W home-theatre package will not only play Blu-ray discs and control sound, but it also upscales video from regular DVDS to something approaching the high-definition standard, and connects to wi-fi networks.
Once connected, it can deliver apps such as Twitter and Facebook, access streaming services like Youtube and ABC iview, and show off a host of Samsung apps for tasks such as creating slideshows or downloading exercise videos.
The E6750W is a 1330-watt, 7.1-channel surround-sound kit, however, so it also includes four freestanding tower speakers, a wide centre channel speaker for dialogue and a beefy subwoofer for booming bass.
The remaining two speakers hide at the top of the front speaker towers and can be swivelled into your favourite position, whether pointed at the ceiling or out to the ‘‘ cheap seats’’ at the sides of your living room.
Samsung has replaced the paper cones in each speaker with woven glass fibres for a crisper sound and added bullet-shaped plugs at the front of each speaker for more precise sound direction — soundwaves crossed over in the previous system, creating distortion.
The same cannot be said for the E6750W kit. We turned up this system’s volume just as loud as is feasible in a residential location.
Distortion was not apparent, even as the room seemed suddenly alive. Testing this system with Glee: The 3D Concert served only to highlight problems in the DVD’S sound.
When moviemakers got the concert mix right, this speaker system sang with just the right mix of audible dialogue, clear mid-tones, room-shaking bass and audience cheers.
The addition of valves seemed to add more detail to the sound, revealing information digital processing might have obscured.
Samsung’s E6750W is not cheap, and does require a modest round of hide-the-wires but it also brings pleasingly oldworld sounds to new-world digital content.