Most of the 2.1-channel systems on the market cater for budget buyers, but the KEF KIT160 is aimed at those with a little more money to burn. This decidedly high-end system is part of the KEF Instant Theatre range (KIT, see what they've done there?) and comes with a DVD/CD player, a subwoofer with built-in amplification and two floor-standing speakers.
Each of these speakers is fitted with 11 drivers, including two front-firing Uni-Q arrays and lateral radiators that fire out the virtual rear and centre channel effects, eliminating the need for actual rear speakers.
KEF has paid a lot of care and attention to the system's design. First and foremost each of the components looks stunning; our review samples sport a delectable high-gloss black finish (matt for the sub) but the entire system is also available in matt silver. The DVD player is exceptionally compact and features alluring curved sides and a row of discrete buttons along the bottom. What's more, it's surprisingly heavy by DVD player standards, boasting the sort of build quality you'd expect at this price.
The well crafted speakers boast similarly elegant curves and at over a metre tall they're best suited to those who like their home cinema system to be seen and heard. The subwoofer is compact enough to hide easily, and the rubber feet mounted underneath help to minimise vibration. Its maximum power output is a healthy 100W and covers the 40Hz to 150Hz frequency range.
Aside from DVDs and CDs, the main unit happily accepts DVD-RW/-R, DVD+RW/+R and CD-R/-RW. It's compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks and offers Dolby Pro Logic II processing for turning stereo material into virtual surround. Also on board is an FM/AM tuner with RDS. All very nice, but perhaps some sort of hi-res audio playback would have made the feature list look even more rosy.
There's an obscenely generous array of connections on the rear, including an HDMI output capable of squirting upscaled 720p, 1080i and 1080p pictures to your display and a USB port that lets you play MP3, WMA, WAV, AVI, MPEG-4, WMV9, VOB, JPEG and BMP files, making this a very versatile multimedia player. These are joined by three sets of analogue stereo/composite video inputs; two S-video inputs and one output; component and composite video outputs; optical and coaxial digital audio inputs; and optical output. You'll even find a multi-room output, a KEFDock for MP3 players and a connection for the optional KEF wireless system. We need a sit down…