Attractively and well-built, the DVD player in the Arcam Solo Movie 2.1 System is derived from Arcam's high-end players, and is compatible with DVD-A and Super Audio CD.

It also houses an FM/DAB radio tuner, and 50W-per-channel non-digital amplifier.

Arcam's versatile unit

I used Arcam's Muso aluminum- bookshelf speakers and Logo subwoofer.

You can use non-Arcam speakers, thanks to the company's use of 'standard' speaker connections and a line-level subwoofer output.

Cheaper systems tend to be bundled with proprietary speakers and a passive sub that can't easily be upgraded.

Although the DVD player will only upscale to 1080i, the two-port HDMI 'switcher' will pass 1080p sources, such as HD players. As with Arcam's DVD players, there are in-built test patterns for display calibration.

Refined sound

Music presentation is smooth and well-balanced - as befits the system's audiophile pedigree.

The differences between the CD and hi-res layers of an SACD are obvious. And movies?

Well, there's no virtual surround going on here - 5.1 sources are 'downmixed' to two-channel - and therefore soundtracks do lack a bit of depth. But what there is cannot be faulted; weighty, refined, and wth a good stereo spread.

Upscaled 720p pics driving a Hitachi projector via HDMI were remarkably free of noise, with superb contrast range and colour fidelity.

Premium DVD system

This system is expensive - but if your aspirations stop at 2.1 then you'll find it hard to better.