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JVC NX-F7 SOPHISTI 2.1 Home Cinema System
One of the main selling points of this classy 2.1-channel system is the wood cone speakers, which according to JVC deliver a warmer and more natural sound than regular cones. We'll test the veracity of this claim in due course, but their inclusion suggests that this is a system cut from a more luxurious cloth than your average 2.1 system - and we should hope so too with a price tag pushing £600.
Its looks and build quality certainly justify the expense. The cylindrical speakers are encouragingly heavy and robust, and look sumptuous in their gloss black and brushed aluminium finish. You also get a passive, cube-shaped subwoofer that's compact enough to conceal easily, but if you can't hide it away then its attractive black finish stops it from being an eyesore.
The main unit - which incorporates a DVD/CD player, 350W amplifier and FM/AM radio tuner - is also dressed in a similar finish as the speakers and its chunky, angular shape is strangely refreshing in a world where curves are king. The big blue light running vertically down the fascia and the large volume dial are nice touches, and there's a handy selection of buttons for up-close control. You'll also find USB and headphone ports on the front.
Like any good DVD player, the NX-F7 features 1080p DVD upscaling, facilitated by the HDMI output on the back. It's joined by component, composite and Scart outputs, plus optical digital audio input/output and stereo audio input for your external sound sources. The speakers and sub also connect to the rear panel using sturdy colour coded plugs (which makes setup really easy), and because the front and surround channel information is carried separately, there are two plugs at the end of each speaker cable.
It's all part of JVC's Front Surround system, which attempts to emulate multichannel sound without rear speakers. Each of the speakers features two drivers - the bottom one handles the main front channel information and the top one handles the surround information. The Front Surround circuitry directs the audio to the relevant parts of the speaker, and there are a few sound modes that cater for different types of material.