The Gateway KAS-203 home-theater-in-a-box was an exercise in poor design.
I gave it a 5 rating, the lowest CNET score I've ever "awarded" any product I've reviewed. I'll get to the best HTIBs in the next Audiophiliac.
I liked the Euro style receiver/DVD player and the powered subwoofer, but as soon as I heard the KAS-203 it sounded so bad I thought it was broken. A second KAS-203 sounded identical to the first one, so I concluded the first KAS-203 was representative of what people were buying in stores.
On paper at least Gateway's KAS series home theater systems stood out in a field crowded with chintzy, plastic designs. The KAS speaker package featured a bevy of interesting ideas and a subwoofer designed by Hsu Research, a high-value company known for its exemplary subs. The receiver/DVD player boasted the build quality and looks of a serious component, but slipshod engineering and substandard quality control resulted in the most poorly executed $699 HTIB ever.
The sound of the four 5.75 inch tall sats were bolstered by a large center speaker, 16.75 inches wide, 9 deep, and 5.25 high. Rounding out the system was a 17 inch tall, 100 watt powered subwoofer. The entire sub/sat system came in a black ash finish, definitely a step up from the standard sliver plastic HTIB fare. … Read more