It's over a year since we had the pleasure of looking at the original Duo-77 speaker system. This upgraded version costs £45 more and for that you get enhanced power handling (the floor-standing main speakers can now take a mighty 400W, if you care to drive them that hard) and a redesigned centre speaker.
The tall front speakers are still a majestic vision in their piano black finish (there's a pearl piano black option as well), and are narrow across the front but deep and bristling with drivers.
Towers of London
A 25mm tweeter perches atop of the towers, with three 76mm mid-range units flowing down the fascia. White cones also add to the great design.
Each flank of these slim enclosures is home to a 165mm low-frequency driver, which helps frequency response rumble down to a useful 40Hz. Some may be tempted to make do with this and eschew the subwoofer, but when the sub is as substantial as that offered here we would advise against it.
The 150W active design does the business via a downward-firing 256mm driver and can trim another 10Hz off the bottom end of the system.
The centre box used to feature a pair of 76mm mid-range units and a 25mm tweeter, like those on the floorstanding stereo pair. The upgraded Duo-77AC dumps the tweeter and adds an extra 76mm driver. The rears pack a pair of the 76mm drivers, so audio panning should be consistent. If, however, you prefer a more perfectly matched system, you could opt for the Duo-77A Superior package, which features four floorstanding Duo-77AFs and costs around £950.
Getting down to business, this system instantly impresses with the levels of subtlety it coaxes out of movie soundtracks. The opening scenes of our standard definition Fantastic Four DVD displayed far more depth than you will find on budget systems, or those that come with all-in-one packages.
Suits you, sir
The swish of a suit jacket as an arm is moved, the rustle of a coat as someone turns - all are presented clearly and with great finesse, adding hugely to the richness of the soundtrack. Dialogue that can be indistinct on some systems comes over clearly and with great warmth.
There's power here as well - far more than you would need for a normal living room. Cranking the sound up reveals effective bass and volume that isn't distorted.
It's a great performance - the Duo-77 was very good; the Duo-77A is even better