Unity Complete Home Theater System
Home theater has gained a tremendous amount of momentum over the past few years. High-end systems were the first to offer consumers a "theater-like" experience and were soon followed by less expensive receivers, DVD players and 5.1 speaker systems. The latest trend has been the all-in-one systems for those who have limited space and often times a limited budget. However, few of these new systems deliver the true home theater experience we all desire due to the limitations often encountered with low-end speakers and limited power. Kenwood took a different approach when designing their new Unity Home Theater System. Rather than integrating a low-end inferior speaker system to accompany their electronics for this market, they turned to Boston Acoustics, a name recognized for high-performance speaker systems. As a first joint venture between the two companies, the Unity System offers consumers a full-featured DVD player built right into the AM/FM receiver, along with a speakers system capable of delivering an impressive full-range sonic experience. The Unity consists of the DVR-5070 main unit, remote control, five satellite speakers, and a powered subwoofer. Speaker wires and cables are included to get you up and running in no time.
This system is loaded with some of the latest features including Dolby Digital®, DTS®, Dolby Pro Logic® and the new Dolby Pro Logic® II decoding. Five-channels of amplification and specially designed active equalization for the Boston Acoustics speakers are integrated in the main unit. In addition to playing DVDs, the Unity has the ability to play MP3 audio files ripped onto CD recordable media (CD-Rs and CD-RWs). This capability is particularly useful for those who download music onto their PCs. The Unity even offers the ability to play Video CDs.
Aside from being an impressive all-in-one system, the Unity is amazingly simple to hook-up. Since the DVD player and the receiver are integrated into one box, there is little to assemble. Each speaker has a unique color code matched to the cables provided. In addition, the Molex-style connectors are keyed, making it difficult to reverse the polarity of the speaker. The Unity includes five matched speakers each containing a 3" woofer and ¾" tweeter. The 8" down-firing subwoofer incorporates a built-in 100-watt amplifier. The crossover frequency is a bit high (160Hz) due to the size of the satellites, but with careful placement of the subwoofer unit, the system blended in well together.
The front panel has 5 indicators for DTS, Dolby Digital, Pro Logic, DSP, and CS5.1 to let you know what is being decoded at any given time. Like many components, the Unity main unit has few buttons on the front, making the remote an essential part of the operation. The main display gives the user feedback on what's running at any given time. The speaker indicators are also helpful during playback especially with the many different Dolby Digital configurations (i.e. 1.0, 2.0, 5.1, etc.). Setting speaker levels with the built-in "pink-noise" generator is simple if you have an inexpensive Radio Shack SPL meter. The remote actually has a button for each speaker so that it is very easy to select any speaker for adjustment. If you would rather let the system switch speakers automatically during the level adjustments, that's also not a problem. The front flip-down panel has a set of A/V connections for use with video games or a camcorder. This also includes an optical audio (toslink) input for digital sources.
The rear panel is simple by today's standards with special connections for the speaker outputs (i.e. no binding posts). There are A/V connections (including s-video) for SAT/CABLE, VCR (in and out) and TV audio. There are also both optical (toslink) and coaxial digital connections for the SAT/CABLE and VCR components. A separate component video output is provided for the DVD player. There's also a special 3-pin connector, similar to an s-video connector that is used for the subwoofer interface. I can't get over how easy everything is to set up.
The Unity Home Theater System includes a full-featured built-in DVD player that greatly simplifies the operation of the main unit. The advantage of this all-in-one unit is you simply insert your favorite DVD and the main unit automatically switches audio and video to the DVD player and starts playing. Switching to the correct input is not required, making DVD watching simple, even for the novice. Video performance was excellent on this unit, similar to what we've seen on the more recent mainstream players. The 10-bit video DACs used in the Unity produced smooth looking video without any objectionable artifacts.
The system processes audio using some of the latest 24/96 A/D and DAC devices. These new audio chips offer excellent performance while keeping costs low. We listened to a wide variety of source material on this system including DTS, Dolby Digital, two channel PCM and two channel analog audio for the ProLogic and ProLogic II decoders. We never ran into any problems with this unit and all decoding worked flawlessly. Some of our favorite DTS Audio CDs such as Steely Dan's Gaucho and Alan Parson's On Air were impressive on this system. We even tried out the latest DVD-Audio disc Queen - A Night at the Opera from DTS Entertainment. Of course this unit cannot use the high resolution data carried on the MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) inherent in the DVD-Audio format, but it did make use of the DTS audio stored in the Video zone of this disc. Interestingly enough, this disc has the latest 24/96 DTS data that is fully backwards compatible with the first generation DTS decoders. The Unity played this new disc without a problem and it sounded great in 5.1 DTS. The bottom line is it had no problem with any format we threw at it.
Acoustics Unity Home Theater System is undoubtedly designed for those
who want the home theater experience while getting the greatest bang for
their buck. We found performance to be exceptional for a system with limited
power and small satellite speakers. I've heard some of the other all-in-one
systems in the past and have always been somewhat disappointed with the
performance, but this system was much better than I expected. I can enthusiastically
recommend the Unity to anyone wanting a full-featured home theater system.
Kenwood definitely did their homework when they designed this system by
teaming up with experts at Boston Acoustics. The Unity certainly has its
limitations, but given the price and performance of this all-in-one package,
it's money well spent.
- Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD 58-inch HD-Ready TV (ISF calibrated)
|Review at a glance|
- Unity Complete Home Theater System
Source: Manufacture loan URL: www.kenwoodusa.com
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