I’ve always wanted a home theatre system but I never really had the space for one before, or the correctly shaped room that allows for an easy set up. I just like the idea of being able to submerge myself into a movie or a game and actually feel like I’m there in the middle of the action. My mate has one set up in his living room and I swear when the sound’s turned up and you’re playing Pro Evo it feels like you’re in the middle of a stadium, fans chanting/booing from all directions. So when Xenta agreed to send me their Home Cinema system I was more than excited to accept and test it out at my parents before hopefully setting it up in my new flat.
First impressions were a little mixed; a big cardboard box arrived at my door as is to be expected with a big package but as soon as I looked at it I noticed it was labelled as a 450W PMPO speaker set. Now I don’t like people who advertise their speakers like this and here is why; PMPO as I have said in reviews in the past, is a misleading calculation which makes the numerical measurement seem higher than it actually is, so on here you see 450W and think “my god that’ll blow the roof off my house”, but in fact it works out at 160W RMS, still impressive but you can see how 450W and 160W are a big difference and to someone who wouldn’t know the difference. Fortunately, on the Xenta website and both Amazon/eBuyer where you can purchase this system from, they have the correct RMS calculation on the page which shows 160W (a 60W Subwoofer and five 20W speakers). So really, Xenta need to upgrade their packaging.
Getting the box open revealed a well packaged product, everything was placed in nice and tight to avoid wriggling during transit and possibly breaking some of the equipment. Taking off all the layers of cardboard and plastic wrapping and you’re left with a solid looking subwoofer, an elegantly styled DVD player and five somewhat cheap feeling small speakers. Now the subwoofer is obviously the biggest component of the set and the heaviest, which to me gave it a real solid feel like it could take whatever you threw at it and still be standing at the end of a fight. The DVD player as stated above was styled quite elegantly, coming in a glossy black with the front having a built in LED Display and a few simple buttons, a dial and a USB port; it really would fit nicely into anyones home. However, should Xenta be moving on with the times and be putting a Bluray player in there now instead? Maybe. Finally were the small speakers used to dot around the room to give you that surround sound effect; these felt and looked like they were made from a cheap plastic, there was no resemblance to the quality of the subwoofer, they just felt light and flimsy.
Having looked at all the bits and bobs long enough, it was time to set the damn thing up. Now the DVD Player is the best place to start with as you can just put it on the shelf below your TV (or wherever you store your digi boxes and what not). Then comes the tricky bit, installing all the speakers and the subwoofer; not that it is difficult to plug them in to the back of the DVD Player which basically acts as the amplifier, it’s more to do with positioning the equipment. Now depending on your room shape and where your TV is located, this is pretty much going to be different for EVERYONE. Luckily my parents home was pretty well organised to make the set up easy, there is a guide that comes with the home theatre system as well which may offer hints and tips in there about positioning (I’m a man so didn’t need to follow instructions) but it is best googling for answers on the best way to set up your surround sound systems.
Now my main frustration with the setup wasn’t working out where to place speakers as I knew that would have to be done anyway, it was the fact you had wires running around everywhere. It was ok at my parents because I was able to hide the wires behind radiators, curtains and under carpet and such; given a different style living room though and you may not have the same luxury I had in hiding these monstrosities. I mean they don’t come with stands so it’s not like you can run the wire along the floor and have a stand hide it, they need to be placed on shelves or balanced on top of other objects. The best option if you are in a scenario where this may prove an issue, is to go out and look for a wireless surround system instead, they’ll be much more pricey but worth it to keep your home looking spick and span. You are also limited with wires to the range that you can place back speakers for the surround effect, again my parents was perfect as the room was small enough, but given a bigger room and you become stuck and have to move things around.
Setup done and the headache that comes with it gone as well, it was time to test it out; and what better way than starting with my live DVD of Alter Bridge at Wembley. Everything plugged in and raring to go and it was almost like I was there watching them, absolutely fantastic. The sound wasn’t as great as it would’ve been live but it’s impossible to top that really, my only suggestion was the subwoofer didn’t really give off a lot of oomph, but maybe I’m listening to the wrong band for that. Next test was a movie, and I decided to see if the USB feature could pick up a film like it said it would. Again it all seemed to work fine, it picked it up, played it and there were no hiccups along the way sound quality was great, and the subwoofer performed a little better. So far, so good. Finally I wanted to see if I could route my PS4 and Xbox One through the DVD player so I could enjoy gaming to the extreme. This took a little bit more fiddling around with the wires at the back and the settings as well but eventually we got there, however, I felt like the surround sound on my Plantronics Rig headset was better because then I didn’t get shouted at for making too much noise.
The nice thing about this system though which you don’t get with some others is that the DVD player has an FM radio function as well. It’s super easy to set up and plays over the surround sound system without any trouble, great if you’re having a family party. My only disappointment was that it wasn’t a DAB Digital Radio, but this just goes with my idea that maybe Xenta are a little behind on the times after them opting for a DVD player instead of Bluray player. Still can’t argue about what you get for the price.
Overall this is a great value budget home theatre system; at the end of the day you get what you pay for and a little extra with this. There are better looking, better quality systems out there but they’ll come with a bigger price tag and you may not get the a DVD player thrown in which has an FM transmitter inbuilt. The wiring can be an issue, but for some it probably won’t bother them as it can be easily hidden in some homes by carpets and curtains. Setup is pretty easy, but may need a bit more patience if trying to hook up your games console or a TV, however it will be worth it in the end as for the price you say the sound is great. My only suggestion for Xenta to truly improve on what they’ve got here is to upgrade the DVD player into a Bluray one, and to upgrade the radio feature to a DAB one to offer a wider range of stations. Still worth it for the price though.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.