Written on: 22/02/2004 by pigmeat2000 (17 reviews written)
Excellent Sound Quality
Very easy setup
Difficult to find in the shops
The Acoustic Solutions DS 1233 is very well packaged with plenty of protection for all the items. Came in two clearly marked boxes, one of which is quite big because it contained the speakers and stands. The other box only contained the sub-woofer but is quite heavy. The bigger box is too big to fit in most car boots, I had to lay down the rear seats to carry it home.
The speakers are completely pre-assembled except that the metal floor plates which attach to the bottom of the aluminium columns need screwing on, only three screws and no problem. The instructions state that there are rubber feet provided for the speaker bases, but if they are going to be standing on carpet then it is probably better if you don't bother. The feet for the sub-woofer came already attached and will definitely be necessary to avoid vibrations if the sub is standing on a hard floor. The centre speaker can sit on top of, or below the TV. More than enough cabling was provided to make connections to all the speakers. Cables are colour coded, as are the speaker and amplifier connections, so you can't get it wrong. Also, coax and phono leads are provided so I didn't need to go out and buy any extra leads at all.
There is an option to use an optical connecting lead for the amplifier to DVD connection. I didn't because I used the coax cable provided but I don't know whether there would be any improved audio quality if the optical connection was used. Maybe somebody can comment on that !
The instructions advise that you make all the basic connections and position the speakers where you you might want them without making the arrangement permanent. Having done this I changed a few things just to make the sound suit my seating positions better so I was glad I hadn't run the wiring permanently.
All worked well right from the start. There is a test facility with this unit which allows white noise to be circulated to the various speakers in sequence. At the same time the display tells you where you ought to be hearing the sound from. This is a helpful feature. I have my system connected to a cable TV digibox, and an existing DVD player which I had only just bought but didn't have it's own integral Dolby 5.1 decoder. So I had to buy a surround system which incorporated it's own decoder. The DS 1233 fits the bill pefectly.
The sound out of this sytem is phenominal. According to the instructions the power output is 200 watts (presumed RMS). Frankly there is much more power available than I will ever use in a 20ft x 13ft living room. If I ever tried full power I would blow out all the windows. To celebrate having installed this system I went out and rented an-all action DVD. What an experience. It's absolutely true what they claim, you feel like you are right back in the cinema watching the film. The sounds and effects are amazing from this system. The speakers really do add extra dimensions to watching a film like this. The sub-woofer provides huge amounts of base and rumble whilst the front and back speakers give clear mid-range and high frequency sounds. I could detect no distortion anywhere and I was perfectly satisfied with the audio quality in all respects. The stereo separation and rear surround sound effect were very clear and defined.
The remote control is a slimline device, quite easily lost if you're not careful. The range of options and adjustments available is extensive. I am still playing with the remote just to try out all the sound options and features.
Overall I'm very pleased with this kit. At £200 it isn't the cheapest system around but neither is it expensive compared to some of the more upmarket brands. Having listened to some of the more expensive systems the extra cost certainly isn't justified by the nominal improvement in sound quality.
If you are looking for a home cinema system and don't want to fork out for a DVD player with integral 5.1 decoder then there are actually very few options available. I wanted to use the existing Toshiba DVD player I already had. If you look around Dixons, Currys, Comet and so on, most systems offered to you include a DVD player with decoder and there is a bigger selection available. They can be very much more expensive than the DS 1233 however and having looked at some of the kit, particularly in the £200 -£300 bracket the sound won't be a patch on the DS 1233.
One gripe. The Acoustic Solutions DS 1233 only seems to be available from Argos. I couldn't find this model available anywhere else in my area (Portsmouth). At the time of looking only 1 of the 10 or so local branches of Argos actually had this model in stock (I checked using their Internet facility) so I had to travel about 15 miles to buy it. It was definitely worth it though.
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