LG continues to expand its range of HD-ready home cinema equipment with the attractively styled Champagne Flute 5.1 surround setup. Impressively you'll find a supplied amplifier/DVD player that upscales to 1080p and includes a built in FM radio and support for playback of encoded media formats such as DivX and MP3, either when burnt to DVD or attached using a USB flashdrive.
As you might have guessed from the name, the headline feature of this system is surely the design. You'll find that each of the two front and two rear 100W speakers are styled in the shape of champagne flute glasses.
The end result, especially when combined with the heavy-set bases and solid stainless steel supports, is a fantastic looking system that would add a dramatic yet extremely classy finish to any home cinema system. The 100W centre speaker and 200W sub don't have quite the same appeal, but co-ordinate well nonetheless.
Setting things up is pretty straightforward, you'll find LG's typical range of surround effects, audio modes and configuration tools easily accessible from the remote. Using these enhancements, which can simulate a 10.1 environment from a 5.1 signal, a 5.1 environment from a stereo signal or adjust to compensate for weak bass and enhance specific parts of the sound image, you'll find it pretty easy to achieve some dramatic results very quickly.
This is a good job, since LG hasn't made individual adjustments to speakers any more accessible than it has been in previous models in the range, you'll still have to navigate through a range of sub-menus to fine-tune, which is a tad frustrating.
Thankfully we're not overly concerned by this because the performance, both of the speakers and the DVD player, is extremely impressive. Audio is well balanced, with clean and distinct mid-range and high tones and a sub that contributes beautifully without being overbearing. Upscaled standard definition discs when viewed through the optimum HDMI connection look great, we genuinely got the impression we were watching a full HD disc and since we were testing through a 50" plasma this was no mean feat.
When you combine this sort of performance with the high-end aesthetics you might expect to have to pay through the nose for such a setup, but thankfully LG has kept it priced pretty reasonably and you can pick up a Champagne Flute setup for under £500. Although we had some minor issues with configuration that may put off the more discerning listener, the accessibility of the audio modes go some way towards remedying this and do offer the added advantage of making them very easy to use.
If you like the design of LG's Champagne Flutes (and who wouldn’t?) you can rest assured that the performance of the speakers and the upscaling player is equally impressive. This is an extremely stylish 5.1 solution and despite a few minor niggles should be considered highly recommended.