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Sam­sung, $1199 sam­ ★★★★

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.

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