The KIT160 also proves itself to be a thoroughly musical system, turning in a spine-tingling performance with CDs. With the 1997 reissue of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, the sound pours from the speakers with real warmth, fluidity and cohesion. Blue In Green is a particular highlight, thanks to the KIT160's respectful treatment of the melancholy piano chords, shuffling percussion and piercing tones from Miles's muted trumpet. But the system is equally at home with more upbeat dance material, which is given the requisite amount of energy and propulsion by the subwoofer's tight, thumping bass output.
There can be no complaints with picture quality either. The DVD deck's 1080p upscaling is spotless, generating sharp, cinematic images with deep blacks, forceful detail (check the texture of the marble pillars in The Matrix's lobby scene for proof) and vivid, realistic colours. The lack of MPEG noise meanwhile makes pictures look remarkably clean.
The deck's ability to play a wide variety of digital media files is a huge bonus, and it performs the task with no glitches - it even plays WMV HD files, which is something of a rarity among home cinema systems. However, joy turns to despair with the discovery that the system can't play DivX files, an omission that won't go down too well among web downloaders (it does play XviD though).
If you're paying around £2,000 for a 2.1-channel system then it had better be something special, and thankfully the KIT160 is just that. Its build, sound and picture quality are of the highest order, and despite not quite matching the impact of a full 5.1-channel system, its virtual surround technology produces some of the most convincing effects yet - and it also excels as a straight stereo system for music playback. If we're being picky, DivX playback and support for DVD-A or SACD probably should have been included at this price, but overall the KIT160 is pure class.