Audio is crisp and clear with a pleasing mid-range that captures dialogue nicely. The sound 'image' is also reasonably wide and airy with whatever's going on getting a decent amount of space to breathe.
It's not three-dimensional in the same way that surround sound systems can be said to be (and we can't think of too many reasons to bother with the KDL-40EX703's S-Force pseudo-surround setting), but the various effects do at least have room to breathe and the soundfield appears to extend beyond the confines of the frame edges.
There is a decent amount of volume at your disposal, although we did detect a hint of the buzzing that betrays a speaker working at the limits of its capabilities when the dial went beyond the 80 per cent mark.
There isn't a huge amount of bass to play with, but you'll find just enough to give movies a little bit of extra oomph.
The recommended price of just over a grand (bearing in mind the likely savings some judicious shopping around might bring) is about bang on for the KDL-40EX703.
There aren't all that many 40-inch sets around, and you could spend the same amount on an extremely well-specified 37-incher, or a larger but less exciting 42-inch model, but you certainly won't find many direct rivals that offer this kind of performance on top of built-in Freeview HD and web widgets.
Only the best Philips sets are better connected, and the only conceivable gap in this Sony's armoury is a lack of 3D compatibility, but that particular technology is by no means sufficiently established for this to be a minus point.
It's attractive, it's technically excellent, and its futureproof spec means it won't need replacing for years to come, making it a formidable bargain by anyone's reckoning.