Soundbars/Soundbases

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Adrian Justins  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments

The majority of TV screens are sold on the basis of their picture quality and how thin they are, so until somebody manages to make slim speakers with as much sonic clout as the traditionally lumpy woofers and tweeters, there’s a need for devices such as this one.

Mark Craven  |  May 29, 2013  |  0 comments

Towards the end of 2012, data analyst GfK released its figures for the consumer electronics soundbar market in the UK. The numbers were extraordinary. Sales had rocketed by 172 per cent in a year, with value up by 120 per cent. Eight out of ten of those sold were supplied with a matching subwoofer, around half offered some form of multimedia hookup (a built-in dock or wireless streaming) and 70 per cent retailed between £100 and £300. The reason is simple - slimline designer TVs have become renowned for their less-than-brilliant sonic prowess.

Steve May  |  Nov 21, 2019  |  0 comments
Panasonic’s SC-HTB900 is a cracking 3.1 audio system, says Steve May, but should you expect more given its Dolby Atmos integration?
Adrian Justins  |  Jul 11, 2014  |  0 comments

With a footprint of 46 x 28cm the Panasonic SC-HTE80 looks (colour differences aside) like a slightly shrunken version of the Canton DM 50, with largely unadorned surfaces and a dot matrix display hidden behind the cheese-grater grille across the front. Build quality is similar, too, but its smaller capacity can only withstand a maximum 30kg.

Steve May  |  May 17, 2017  |  0 comments

Is the time right to downsize that soundbar? Well, with set-top boxes, games consoles, Blu-ray players and jumbo bags of Maltesers all vying for space beneath your flatscreen, real estate is increasingly precious, so if you can shrink without impacting sound quality, going nano clearly makes a lot of sense.

Steve May  |  Aug 13, 2021  |  0 comments
hcc_recommendedPhilips' transforming Fidelio soundbar offers old-school home cinema thrills, says Steve May

The Philips Fidelio B97 soundbar drops deeper than James Cameron chasing the Titanic. You might think the fancy detachable speaker modules that double as wireless rears would be the star of this high-end soundbar, but it's actually the subwoofer in this twin set that's the pearl. It delivers profound, subterranean bass, the kind that slams you in the chest. Even The Rock would stagger under the weight of its output.

Mark Craven  |  Oct 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Philips has always been a company known for its innovative ethos. And that still remains, despite the CE aspects of the brand now being split between two separate entities (TP Vision for TVs, Woox Innovations for audio, recently acquired by Gibson). The former still advocates Ambilight technologies and potent processing, while the latter has been attacking the domestic audio market with some neat ideas, under the Fidelio umbrella. 

Mark Craven  |  Oct 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3Superb sound tuning means Philips' FB1 one-box audio solution puts in a performance that makes its price tag look like a steal. And the feature set ain't bad either, says Mark Craven

Call me easily impressed, but it was within minutes of getting Philips' Fidelio FB1 soundbar up and running that I'd decided I was smitten. Not by its audio performance – at least, not at that point – but by the illuminated ring light that surrounds its two upfiring Dolby Atmos drivers. This light doesn't have to be on all the time (that could get annoying) but it's a clever, bonus design effect that I like.

Danny Phillips  |  Aug 21, 2013  |  0 comments

Soundbars are currently home cinema’s hero products and the HTL5120 is a fine example of the genre. The design is more luxurious than the price tag suggests, with silky black cloth, brushed silver panels and curvy gloss-black ports at both ends. It can be installed on the wall or tabletop, with an orientation sensor switching the sound to suit its position.

Danny Phillips  |  Apr 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Most soundbars are focused on sound quality, but Pioneer's SBX-N500 is a little more ambitious. Yes, it packs 140W of muscle for beefing up movies, but it’s also blessed with the sort of multimedia and networking talents that put some full-sized systems to shame, let alone soundbars.

Mark Craven  |  Nov 16, 2018  |  0 comments
Polk Audio is the latest brand to add wireless rear speakers to a soundbar/subwoofer system, therefore offering a 5.1 solution to those not interested in the more traditional approach based around a separate amplifier, 5.1 speaker package and oodles of speaker cable.

The system in question is the Magnifi MAX SR, available for around £600. It's the expanded version of Polk's 3.1-channel Magnifi MAX, itself a more serious proposition than the compact Magnifi Mini.

Danny Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2017  |  0 comments

Q Acoustics’ motorway-themed soundbar range continues with the M3, a slimmer and more affordable follow-up to the M4 (reviewed here and winner of our Soundbar of the Year award) and is actually still on sale three years later.

Adrian Justins  |  Aug 03, 2014  |  0 comments
Aesthetic flair was clearly not near the top of the priority list when Q Acoustics set about imagining its new Media 4 soundbar. Put bluntly, it is as attractive as Boris Johnson in a leotard, and at over 10cm high (including the feet) and 14cm deep, there’s no chance of simply sticking it in front of a contemporary screen slouching low on its stand. 
Danny Phillips  |  Mar 19, 2012  |  0 comments

While the major CE brands are busy cramming everything but the kitchen sink into their soundbar offerings, the audio specialists continue to stick to the product’s raison d’etre – replacing the raspy, weedy sonics of your flatplanel’s in-built speakers with some high-quality stereo goodness.

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