The HT-E5530 is one of many 5.1-channel Blu-ray systems in its current range, offering 3D playback, smart functionality and wireless media streaming – not to mention a full 1000W sound system. It’s a scaled down version of the 7.1-channel HT-E6750 system that blew us away earlier this year, doing away with luxuries like the hybrid valve amp and wireless rears, but keeping the feature count as high as possible for its meagre price tag.
The system comprises a pair of tower speakers for the front channels and compact bookshelf boxes for the rears, joined by a slim centre speaker and small passive subwoofer. This configuration makes it ideal for those who want the sound quality benefits of front floorstanders but don’t have space for towers all around the room. If you prefer, Samsung also offers a version with towers for both the fronts and rears (HT-E5550) and a version with compact speakers all round (HT-E5500).
The speakers are visually stunning, coated in a lustrous gloss black finish that brings instant glamour to the room. The towers, which come in three parts that have to be screwed together, stand 1.2m tall and exude elegance. They’re two-way ‘open type’ speakers, which basically means there’s a phase plug in the middle of the two mid/bass drivers and they’re not hidden behind a mesh.
The centre and surrounds are styled in the same fashion – basically gloss black boxes – but in much smaller cases. The rears stand just 141mm high, making them easy to place on furniture, while the centre’s horizontal slim depth and horizontal alignment is ideal for slipping under the TV.
One word of warning though – they may look good, but the build quality of the front speakers is disappointing, particularly the light, hollow middle section that links the base and main speaker, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
The brains and brawn of the operation is the receiver unit, which offers Blu-ray, DVD and CD playback as well as Dolby True HD/DTS HD Master Audio decoders and Samsung’s Crystal amplifier. It’s a quietly stylish unit, with a sleek black finish and roughly the same dimensions as Samsung’s regular Blu-ray players.
On the front is a clever LED display with a row of illuminated touch-sensitive controls built into it. Consolidating everything into this single panel keeps the rest of the fascia uncluttered, although on the right hand side you’ll find chunky volume and power controls, plus a USB port.
On the back is an HDMI output and two HDMI inputs that turn the HT-E5530 into a conduit for other HD sources, such as digital TV receivers and games consoles. All of the sockets are 3D-ready, with ARC available on the output.
Also found here are optical digital and analogue stereo inputs, composite video out and a slot for Samsung’s optional wireless rear speaker kit. There’s an Ethernet port too, but with built-in Wi-Fi chances are you won’t need it. Finally there’s a port for the supplied iPod cradle.