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Audio Video reviews the VISO Five

March 19, 2009

Magazine: Audio Video Magazine South Africa

Reviewer: Justin Beachcroft-Shaw


Let me get it out of the way right now and say I think this is a very sexy machine. I'm not used to saying that about NAD. Usually they're more Martha Stewart than Monica Bellucci type-looking products for me, but they've surprised me with this VISO FIVE. It still looks like NAD's classic "Form follows function" design, but nip-tucked in just the right places to make me want to buy it a drink.

Right, with that out of the way, let me tell you what it is.The VISO FIVE is a CD/DVD surround sound receiver. A real multi-talented hybrid that lives up to the performance you'd expect from NAD's acclaimed, full-size separate components in a single unit.

Add a monitor and some speakers and presto!, you have the home entertainment system of now. One machine that replaces three! In my experience with "Hybrids" of this nature, most offer a range of conveniences while taking some away by being over-specialised for specific scenarios.This comes without speakers, which might initially seem like a hassle, but it gives you the benefit of finding some that suit your needs.

Driven by a 5 x 60 watt FTC AV receiver, with an array of smart listening modes, it packs enough punch and technology to roll with the big dogs while remaining compact enough to sit nicely in even the smallest of listening and viewing environments.

Picture from the DVD player is outstanding, featuring HDMI 1.3a with 1080p resolution. Combined with an easy-to-use onscreen setup menu and a broad range of video capabilities like Multi-Angle, Multi-Subtitle, Zoom, Repeat and Frame, it's all the DVD player you'll need for your contemporary viewing wants and needs. Even connected via S-Video or dual RCA jacks, the quality is crisp, clear and bright.

Connected to my four Hi-Fi speakers, sound reproduction was something to write home about. I love loud! But I also love clear and accurate sound, which the VISO FIVE delivers in spades. It comes with a host of distinct listening modes tailored for different types of recordings and programme material, and is backed by NAD's "Music First" design philosophy, making it musically transparent enough for even the serious Audiophile.

At the heart of these modes is the aptly named E.A.R.S. (Enhanced Ambient Recovery System), which routes the ambient content encrypted in most natural acoustic recordings to the appropriate main, centre and surround speakers without using artificially generated effects employing an incredibly advanced high-speed DSP processing engine which synchronises all digital circuits to eliminate timing errors which would otherwise compromise sonics. In plain English, the sound quality is quite amazing.

the VISO FIVE is one of the neatest and most powerful home entertainment solutions that I've had the pleasure of testing.

In true Hybrid nature, the unit boasts an assortment of inputs for an array of digital and analogue devices, including an MP dock data port for your iPod or other digital music player, which can be controlled either through the system or straight from the iPod. It also comes with an RS-232 connection for Windows compatible PCs, allowing remote control of the VISO FIVE through NAD's propriety PC software and other compatible external controllers. It also means you can easily manage software updates for the machine.

The built-in tuner comes with most of the bells and whistles you'd expect from a stand-alone component, which solidifies the VISO FIVE's nature of being versatile without compromising performance quality.

The remote is a minimalist's dream come true. Upgradable and "teachable", it can be programmed to control up to eight different devices, eliminating the clutter and stress of searching through remotes to get everything done.

In short, the VISO FIVE is one of the neatest and most powerful home entertainment solutions that I've had the pleasure of testing.

Its versatility is matched only by its unwavering commitment to excellent sound and video playback, while its size and good looks make it the perfect choice for those with limited space or even those with bigger spaces looking for a tidy alternative to component based systems without sacrificing quality.

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