I was lucky enough to get hold of the Sony DAV-550 as an end of line bargain when the were shrinking the audio visual department of my local House of Fraser. I hadn't gone looking for a home cinema system but 10 minutes of killing time while my wife looked at clothing revealed this little beauty.
One of the things that had always annoyed me about the previous surround sound set up I had was the size of the speakers which looked a bit bulky and messy next to the TV. No such problems with the Sony as the speakers are nice and compact yet still capable of belting out a really high quality sound even when pushed up to an uncomfortably loud volume. Coupled with the extra punch from the subwoofer which is easily hidden behind my flat panel screen the clarity of the sound is very hard to beat for a unit of its size.
Full 5.1 surround sound really brings out the best in a basic home cinema set-up and once you've got the speakers positioned correctly and the levels adjusted (easily done through a few button presses on the remote) you can't fail to be impressed with the difference.
While the unit has produced crystal clear images with DVDs through component cables and been a great amplifier for handling the audio signal from my PS3 (best to us an optical audio cable for clarity) there are a couple of downsides to the system.
Firstly it is noisy when loading and ejecting discs to the point where the whirring sounds like something is about to fall apart inside. Several years on it has never once broken despite having 2 discs shoved into it at once by my daughter, so the build quality is rock solid despite the noise.
Secondly I have always found the remote to need accurate aiming even with new batteries so I cna only assume the IR receiver needs to be a bit more sensitive.
If you can still find these for sale or want to track down a used model then I'd recommend this very highly. Great quality sound, fantastic surround sound reproduction, neat speaker design and a even a glow in the dark remote.
Sony's DAV-S550 is a fairly small home cinema system with a 5.1 400W output. This particular model looks very stylish, and in fact, is one of the better looking cinema systems on the market.
There are some well designed features including a glow in the dark remote, which also adds a bit of novelty to the design.
The sound produced is of good quality, with the small but powerful speakers reproducing a good range of tones. The Pro-logic II option will suit gamers who's consoles can't maintain full surround sound.
As with many DVD systems, picture quality is dependent on the type of connection you are using. Component cables will provide a decent picture, and allow the DAV-S550 to fulfill its potential.
Unfortunately, the system I own has recently started to refuse to play DVD's - with many films freezing around half way through. Therefore, even though I am impressed by the sound and picture quality, I can't award this product full marks.
This is a great piece of kit for any movie lover. It?s stylish and kicks out excellent sound quality. The unit comes in silver and is a compact design. It connects via phono sockets to your sound outputs e.g. TV, Video, Sky and Games Console. The DVD connects via Scart or Svideo sockets to your TV. The subwoofer is quite large and needs to sit on the floor the speakers are small satellite ones which can be discretely placed around your living room. Speaker Cable is high quality and is really long with nice little connecting plugs so no frayed wires. This unit can be used in any size room, as everything is fully adjustable. The unit comes with all connections. The instruction manual is very in depth but helpful. The home theatre kit provides you with a DVD player, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround system sound and it doubles up as a Hi fi. The DVD player function is top quality with a razor sharp image. The player has all your basic functions e.g. play, stop, pause, fast forward, rewind and skip but also has additional functions such as angle and zoom. It plays Region 2 DVD?s although you can buy a multi region version for a few quid extra. It does play DVDR?s as well. Overall as a DVD player it?s excellent picture quality and easy to use. The Surround Sound System is Dolby Digital 5.1 so it?s basically 5 speaker channels and one Subwoofer. The set up by 3 front speakers, 2 at back and a sub for base for perfect surround sound. It kicks out around 300 watts believe me it?s powerful. The volume goes from 0 ? 40 if you are listening to something on 20 most things in your house are vibrating. The surround sound system is easy to set up, as there is an on screen menu wear you put the distance you are from each speaker to ensure the correct volume. Each speaker has an individual volume level and graphic equalizer including the sub so you can adjust to your liking. There are several sound modes you can use to create the perfect sound depending
on what you are listening to. These are Normal, Surround, Cinema Studio A, Cinema Studio B, Cinema Studio C, Virtual Surround 1, Virtual Surround 2, Hall, Jazz Club, House and Game. The sound is crisp and clear and if you are watching or listening to something you feel like you are there. For example if you watch and explosion not only can you hear the sound around you but you also feel the vibration from the base box as it rumbles. If you are listening to music it sounds live. The Hi fi function is basically the doubling up of the DVD drive using it as a CD player. It will play all your music CD?s but not CDR?s or MP3?s. The CD mode has all normal CD player functions play, stop, pause, fast-forward, rewind and skip. You can also from the remote select the tracks number you want play. As a CD player it well. The Hi fi function also has a radio function allowing you to listen to AM, MW and FM radio bands. You can preset you favourite channels in the remote. Overall a top quality system costing around £200 to £250 from most electrical stores. Newer models I believe have the capability of playing back other formats.