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Looking to get into home cinema but don’t know where to start? You can’t go past this solid foundation BG: under $5000. 

Essential to every good home cinema system is a quality TV, DVD player, and the right sound equipment to make the most of your movies.

First up, the Cinema m70 speakers: they’re great value. The centre speaker is identical to that used in the Cinema m72 – a slimline m7C1 – but the front and rear speakers are new. They’re much larger than traditional satellite speakers (although not intrusively so), which delivers a richer, fuller sound than is typical for equipment of this type, and provides more punch in the midrange. Since identical speakers are used front and rear, you’ll also get sonically believable surround effects shifts which are tonally consistent as they move around. Note: the speakers aren’t sold as a package, but cost around $1500 for a pair.

Active subwoofers are crucial to the home cinema experience. They reinforce the lowfrequency sounds you already hear, as well as reproduce the dedicated low-frequency effect channel (LFE) to supply additional, specific bass sounds which are otherwise redirected (or even lost). The ms8 isn’t a massively powerful example, but with 100W of internal amplification, it’s more than gutsy enough for you to hear – and feel – its benefits.

Add that lot to the Yamaha RX-V430RDS receiver and you get genuine weight, drama and energy, especially when the surround action really starts to fly.

The Pioneer DV-466S DVD player has an optical digital output, making it a flexible partner for the RX-V430RDS, which has an optical input for DVD connections, leaving the coaxial socket free for CD use. Aside from looking attractive, the Pioneer provides a great picture which belies its modest cost when viewed through a display like the outstanding Philips. It adds a sheen of polish to fast-moving action sequences, a degree more colour brilliance, and it’s quieter than some of its rivals, too. There’s no ‘code hack’ for Pioneer DVD players, so be sure to buy yours in multiregion form if you want to watch imported DVDs.

So, that’s it: bigger, better bass; sharper, cleaner pictures, and a little more style.

Setting up this system WIRE IT UP WITH

Ixos Scart to Scart from                       $59

Chord Optichord optical digital cable     $165

Kimber Kable 8PR subwoofer cable      $30/m

CONNECT IT

Set the Yamaha’s speaker modes to ‘small’, select ‘yes’ to direct bass to the subwoofer.

TWEAK IT

Place the sub where you normally sit, disconnect all other speakers, and play something with good bass. Your sub will work best where the level you can hear is strongest, known as bass ‘nodes’.

POSITION IT

Place the front speakers on stands, keeping them level with each other. If you must wall-mount, tilt your speakers so they fire at you. Use high wall brackets for the rears, placing them behind – not alongside – your seat.

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