As with most all-in-one systems, you’ll have to be prepared for some slight sonic compromises if you invest in the HX906PA, but see past that and you’ll also be rewarded with a thrilling home cinema performance. Bung an action flick like Avatar into the tray and it’s soon clear that this system is out to entertain. During the Battle for Pandora, effects sweep and ping between channels with frenetic energy, the sounds of swishing arrows, hearty explosions and rasping machine guns filling the room.
It also delivers a coherent sound across all channels, which helps you get submerged in the intergalactic action, plus the subwoofer stays mercifully clear of the usual boomy, undisciplined bottom end you normally get from an all-in-one system – this one retains composure when pressed, throwing out deep bass tones that keep tightly in time with the onscreen action. If you want to really rattle the foundations you’ll need to set your sights on a separates system with a powered sub, but this is of a higher standard than we’ve come to expect from passive bass bins.
Add to that clear and authoritative dialogue presentation from the centre channel and a healthy amount of detail permeating quiet scenes, and you’ve got yourself an exciting, articulate home cinema system.
But what about those compromises we mentioned? Well the main problem with the HX906PA is the reproduction of high frequencies. When the action starts getting hectic, loud effects like smashing glass, screeching creatures and piercing gunshots have a harsh edge that can be a little uncomfortable, particularly when listening at loud volumes.
But when it comes to picture quality the HX906PA is a star performer. Blu-ray discs look beautifully crisp and solid, with colour vibrancy that’ll leave you gawping at the screen like a slack-jawed yokel. That carries over into 3D performance too – the system handles full HD frame-sequential images with all the detail intact, with smooth motion and no glitches to report.
The HX906PA offers a stupendous amount of features for your money, including DLNA streaming, web content, media playback, an iPod dock, plenty of sound tweaks and excellent format support. Sound quality is thrilling too, but a bit of top-end brightness and cumbersome network setup spoils the party somewhat. If you can accept that as part and parcel of the all-in-one system experience and focus on all the other good stuff you’re getting, then the HX906PA is definitely worth considering.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 8