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Nakamichi, (020) 8863 9117


If you thought integrated AV systems, where everything you need comes neatly packaged in one box, was confined to the budget and mid-range ends of the home cinema market, think again, here’s one costing five grand! Actually SoundSpace 10 from Nakamichi arrives in three huge boxes. They have to be big to contain two substantial sub-woofer/power amps, five bookshelf speakers, a VCR sized system unit and a 5-disc autochanger/control module, not to mention several kilometres of cable and interconnects.


SoundSpace 10 is a high-end DVD/CD system with an AM/FM tuner thrown in for good measure and it will connect to and take control of any other audio and video components you might have. There’s nothing to add for DVD playback – apart from the TV -- it has a full set of 5.1 decoders (Dolby Digital, PCM & dts) built-in. Replay options include 3-mode spatial sound, 2-step picture zoom, Chapter Digest (grabs and displays stills from the start of each chapter) plus lots and lots of audio and video adjustments to fiddle around with. It comes with two remote controls, the big one is a notebook PC sized box that works everything via a backlit LCD touch screen and a concealed keyboard, moreover it has learning functions, for controlling a range of other devices, including a couple of VCRs, laserdisc player, cassette deck, MD recorder and anything else that comes to hand. The other remote is a pocket-sized module covering just the main playback and volume control functions.


The upright autochanger module (free-standing or wall mountable) is the heart of the system, the front panel is motorised and opens to reveal a horizontal loading slot. Discs disappear into the machine’s innards, you get an occasional glimpse of them through a window in the front but the eye is inevitably drawn to the large subtly backlit LCD mode/status panel at the top. And very impressive it is too, unfortunately though some of the labels and indicators are quite small and hard to see unless you’re close too. That’s not necessarily a problem because the cables connecting it to the system unit are a good 4 metres long, so it can be positioned almost anywhere. Just connecting everything together takes a good hour, (let alone tucking the cables away, out of sight), but installation and set-up is a surprisingly straightforward task, thanks in part to having the main power amplifiers inside the two sub-woofers – it simplifies the speaker wiring  -- and the instruction book, which is a model of clarity.


DVD replay is good but not what you call spectacular, at least not £5k’s worth of spectacular, Nakamichi appears to have concentrated its fire on the sound side of things. The picture is reasonably sharp and well defined, colours are clean and it wasn’t fazed by any of our dodgy discs, but images can be a bit flat at times. Shadows and gloomy scenes yield less detail and bright colours are not as vibrant as they can be on some middle market and top-end players. Layer change is unusually slow too, a full 2 seconds on Godzilla, which seems like an eternity compared with some players, including several budget models, which do it in a fraction of a second.


The big advantage of a one-make system is that you know all of the components are designed to work together and that really comes across with SoundSpace 10. The big subs blend in seamlessly with the satellite speakers to create a smooth and immersive soundfield filled with sharply focused effects and crisp dialogue and an almost completely non-directional bass, that appears to be coming from nowhere, and everywhere all at once. The Dolby Digital decoder sharply defines the smallest sounds but it works just as well with more dynamic effects like the crack of gunfire or an explosion. You just have to wind the bass right up on action blockbusters and feel the sounds, sod the neighbours…


Okay, so it sounds great and picture quality is good, but is it worth five big ones? We reckon we could put together a system that works as well, if not a little better in some respects, for less, but it would involve a lot of hard work, it wouldn’t be as easy to us, and it certainly wouldn’t look half as smart. There’s no doubt you’re paying for the convenience of an integrated system, and the styling, but it also delivers the goods. It’s one of those – if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it kind of deals – five grand is a lot of money, but if you’ve got that kind of dosh and you want a top-class DVD system without the hassle it’s well worth a look…



Ergonomically the big box is a nightmare, especially the hidden keypad, which is a dark and unfriendly place, filled with lots of tiny buttons. The touch-sensitive screen is wonderful though; the only trouble is the backlight keeps going off, so you have to fumble around trying to make it come on again. It’s big and clumsy, but at least it won’t get lost down the back of the sofa, and because it’s programmable, you can ditch all of the other remotes, once you’ve figured out how to use it…







SCART             none

S-Video             9

RGB out                        no

Optical digital            yes

Coaxial digital            yes

5.1 decoder                   yes (Dolby Digital & dts)



Region 2 PAL/NTSC, Dolby Digital, PCM & dts decoders, component video output,  5-disc autochanger, 2-step picture zoom, chapter Digest, user-set picture controls, 3-mode spatial surround, AM/FM tuner with 30 station preset, sleep timer, multi-function learning remote, sub remote, 5 x SoundSpace 10 speakers,  twin active sub-woofer, power amplifiers 5 x 30w (front, centre & rear), 2 x 50w (sub-woofers)



AV performance, styling, system integration



Vast remote and nightmare cabling, price


Ease of use            4

Picture  4

Sound               5

Features            5

Overall  4




Price                 £5000

SCART none

S-Video 9

Digital out            coaxial, optical

Decoder            Dolby Digital, PCM & dts


Good Points

AV performance, styling, system integration


Bad points

Vast remote and nightmare cabling







Ó R. Maybury 2000, 1104




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Copyright (c) 2005 Rick Maybury Ltd.