In action, there’s plenty to admire about the HT-E6500W’s dynamic and forceful sound, but it lacks the polish to make it a must-buy. On the plus side, it’s certainly powerful (Samsung claims a power output of 1000W), making an impact with the volume only half-way. If you’re upgrading from flatpanel TV speakers you won’t know what’s hit you.
So when you play a thrilling action scene like the Elemental’s assault on the city in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the HT-E6500W conveys the chaos with gusto, using raw energy to distract you from its lack of refinement. As the Forest God hurls a car down the street and rips the hotel sign from the wall, the effects are fierce and attacking. It’s tonally consistent across the soundstage and sounds sweep smoothly from speaker to speaker.
It’s never difficult to make out what the characters are saying over the din, and even though it could be tighter and punchier the subwoofer anchors the action with reasonably deep and nicely-blended bass – helped along by the extra injection of warmth from the valve amp.
But as we found with the HT-E6750W, high and midrange frequencies are a touch sharp, particularly when you turn the volume up to neighbour-bothering levels. The louder parts of the test scene, such as the moment when the Elemental lets out a massive screech, had us wincing and reaching for the volume controls. It’s this hardness that stops us falling in completely in love with this system, but keep the volume at a lower level and it’s not a big deal.
However, it’s a fabulous picture performer. 3D Blu-ray discs like Avatar and Thor look wonderfully sharp and natural, with bright colours bursting from the screen and a cinematic level of depth. 2D discs look equally dazzling, including the Silicon Optix HQV disc, which the system handles with assuredness. Finally the system loads the Java-heavy Terminator Salvation disc in 42 seconds, and Thor in half the time.
We love the HT-E6500W’s hugely generous range of features and its stylish, living room friendly design, while its connections, format support, streaming functionality and Blu-ray picture quality are all up to scratch. And for the most part its sound quality is too, with the valve amp tech lending dynamism and punch, although evidence of brightness (particularly at loud volumes) rains on the parade. So from a performance perspective your money will be better spent on the Panasonic SC-BTT590, but in every other department the HT-E6500W is a decent purchase.