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After getting my DVD player the next step was a Dolby Digital amp, but as I shopped around I found they were around £400 and that didn't include speakers.
So I opened up the Littlewoods catalogue and found the 'Sony HT-BE1 Home Theater System' for £299.99 which include speakers, so what the hell I'll give it a try!
When the system arrived I wasn't that sure the speakers are really tiny, but after I pluged it up to my DVD player with the Digital Coaxial surplied my breath was taken away.
The small satellite speakers are pure little power blasters, there is no crackle from the speakers the sound quality is superb they pick up the slightest sound from the DVD's.
The HT-BE1 has a subwoofer built into the amp unit, it produces a rumble that will make the floor shake when watching films like 'Pearl Harbor'. Surfice to say this little unit packs out 105 watts and make your living room sound just like the cinema.
The HT-BE1 comes with a built in Dolby Digital decoder this means that the two rear speakers can have seperate sounds sent to them unlike Dolby Pro which splits the sound between the two, this makes the films sound effects much more noticable as they don't just come from behind, but from behind you to the left or the right.
So is the HT-BE1 easy to set up? -------------------------------- All the cables for the unit are colour coded for each of the speakers so you just plug in the correct colour into the correct socket.
Is it easy to set up the sound fields? -------------------------------------- At first it does look a bit daunting the display on the front of the unit is 10mm x 80mm and I found it a bit dim, but the display gives you a quick name of what you are setting up. For instance you can set up the distance from you to the speakers and these are labelled as F-DST (front distance), C-DST (Center Distance) & R-DST (Rear Distance) so it fairly straight forward.
Is The Manual Easy To Understand? --------------------------------- The manual is very straight forward giving you all the information you need to set up your system, there are precise diagrams on each page with simple to follow instructions for setting up via the remote or via the menu on the amp.
Does the HT-BE1 have DTS? ------------------------- Yes, as the amp is Dolby Digital the HT-BE1 does have DTS, the amp also has Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II and Auto Format Decode which will work out if you digital source is Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS.
I can quite honestly say that I found the HT-BE1 easy to install with no hastle straight from the box, the quality is that of a £500-£700 system and for £299.99 you've got one hell of a bargin, you can probably get them cheaper direct from Sony, but not having the cash at the time I found Littlewoods were very fair on the price.
For those with a technical mind here are the specs:
Max Output Subwoofer 30w Front 15w + 15w Center 15w Rear 15w + 15w Total 105w
Speaker system Bass Reflex Speaker Unit 130mm dia. cone Dimensions 215 x 271 x 302mm (Subwoofer+Amp)
Satellite speakers Speaker system Closed box Speaker unit 50mm dia cone Impedane 6 ohms Dimensions 61 x 82 x65.5mm
input: Digital Coxaial Digital Optical Audio Phono Jacks USB Jack
UPDATE!!!! 18/12/2002 --------------------- As I mainly watch films on DVD I haven't had much of a use for the Dolby Pro Logic II setting, but the other day whilst watching 'Star Wars: A New Hope' on video, I swithed the amps setting to Dolby Pro Logic II.
Sufice to say, while watching a video in DPII the rear speakers have some seperation, but not as much as in DTS or Dolby Digital, this means that instead of normal Dolby Pro Logic where the two rears act as one sound source, Dolby Pro Logic II treats them as two seperate sound sources giving you that little bit extra to your films.
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