Piega AP-3 Speaker System and Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 System At A Glance & Ratings: Arcam

At A Glance: Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 System

Compatible Playback Formats: DVD, DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, MPEG-2 and -4 (Divx), Video CD,
SACD, DVD-Audio, CD, CD-R/-R, MP3, WMA, OGG, JPEG/Kodak PictureCD
Possible Playback Resolutions: 1080i/768p/720p/480p/480i
Processing Modes: Dolby: Digital 5.1, EX, Pro Logic II
DTS: DTS, ES, 96/24, Neo:6
Number of Amp Channels: 5
Power Rating (watts, per channel): 50, into 8 ohms
Dimensions (H x W x D, inches): 3.25 x 16.9 x 14.5
Weight (pounds): 17.1
Price: $3,249; iPod dock, $285

Video: HDMI (2), component video (2), composite video (2)
Audio: Coaxial digital (1), optical digital (2), stereo analog (3), dock input (1)
Video: HDMI (1), component video (1), composite video (1)
Audio: Optical digital (1), stereo analog (1), 5.1-channel preamp (1)
Additional: RS-232 (1), 12-volt trigger (3), IR jack (2 in, 1 out)

These listings are based on the manufacturer's stated specs; the HT Labs box below indicates the gear's performance on our test bench.

Ratings: Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 System

Build Quality: 92 Good
• On the heavy side for a DVD-receiver
• Plastic binding posts

Value: 87 Average
• Costs far more than most DVD-receivers
• Includes SACD and DVD-Audio playback

Features: 88 Average
• 50 watts times five
• Class AB amps
• CD/DVD/DVD-Audio/ SACD drive
• Five-step dimmable display

Performance: 92 Good
• Warm midrange, free from grit or glare
• Good dynamics, not much strain at peak moments

Ergonomics: 92 Good
• Unit is amazingly small
• Minimal controls on front panel
• Remote is just acceptable

Overall Rating: 90 Good
Mass-market stores are littered with low-performing HTIBs, so it's a pleasant surprise to find a DVD-receiver that sounds as good as this one. With its warm sound and decent dynamics, it's a worthy mate for the revealing ribbon tweeters in the Piega speakers.

General Information
Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 System, $3,249 >
U.S. Distributor: Audiophile Systems