- 100 watts per channel (wpc) x 2 (left/right front), 33 wpc x 3 (center, left/right surround)
- Dolby Pro Logic surround decoding, 5.1-channel analog inputs
- 3-CD changer
- Dual auto-reverse cassette deck
- Karaoke functionality
Packing five speakers and a total of 299 watts, the Aiwa NSX-MT920 has about the most power and flexibility of any compact shelf system, making it a superb addition to any small or midsized living space. This Dolby Pro Logic-decoding surround system is ideal for start-up home-theater systems, letting you enjoy four-channel Dolby Surround (left, center, right, and rear) from VHS tapes, DVD, and television broadcasts. The system also accepts decoded 5.1-channel analog signals from multichannel formats such as Dolby Digital and DTS, though you must use a surround-decoding DVD player (or other external decoder) to appreciate this. A dedicated subwoofer output completes the picture, letting you integrate a powered, bass-chuffing speaker of your choice for even greater impact from action movies and multichannel music mixes.
In the home stereo department, the NSX-MT920 features a three-CD changer, a dual auto-reverse cassette deck, an AM/FM tuner, a coaxial digital input and output, and a cool karaoke function that will make you the life of any party.
Setup is quite simple, with clear instructions; we were up and running in about 10 minutes. Though somewhat bulkier than most compact systems, the NSX-MT920 uses that mass to its benefit--the sound is nothing short of impressive.
The system delivers a whopping 100 watts to each of the front left and right speakers, making for more power than you might ever need (depending on your space). The bass is deep and satisfying. The equalizer comes with five preconfigured settings, and you can also create and save up to four customized settings of your preference. Then there's always that subwoofer output, should the system's own Super T-Bass circuit not rock the house to your liking.
The system not only booms, but looks great, too--the silver and black styling meshes nicely with most decors. In standard sleep mode, we found the multicolor display somewhat gaudy--and it might keep you awake if it's visible from your bed. Thankfully, you can turn the display off to show only the time. In addition, the system includes a slot-machine-like game that you can play at any time, whether the system is on or off (but we think it's fixed, as we never managed to win).
The karaoke feature, while probably a draw for only select users, is pretty cool. It almost eliminates the vocal portions of any song so you can play the star using either of the two microphone inputs on the system's front panel. You can also mix in your own basic beats and croon to those, too--the system supplies a variety of percussion-driven rhythms.
Our only gripe is the very limited warranty (90 days for parts and labor), though Aiwa will supply new or rebuilt parts up to one year from the purchase date. But if you're in the market for an inexpensive yet powerful compact system with surround-sound capabilities, the Aiwa NSX-MT920 certainly delivers the most bang for your buck.
- Terrific, powerful sound for a small system
- Easy to set up
- Fun karaoke features
- Somewhat weak rear speakers
- Limited warranty