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Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars
Fatten up your fat telly audio
Unlike many other soundbar solutions in this roundup, Philips plays the design card well here. A 2.1 step-up from the all-in-one HTL5120, the main bar comprises two detachable left/right enclosures, each boasting dual woofers and a detail enhancing Mylar tweeter. When slotted together, it’s long and slim. Connections include an HDMI loopthrough with ARC support, digital optical input and a stereo analogue minijack. In addition to aptX Bluetooth, there’s also NFC pairing for those with compatible mobile devices.
Unsurprisingly, the heavy sonic lifting is delegated to the wireless sub, which sports a side-firing 8-inch driver. The overall power output is rated at 320W, with 220W assigned to the subwoofer. For movie playback there’s a faux surround mode amongst the DSP, although most users will probably opt for a straight stereo presentation. Overall, a nicely turned out 2.1 package for the money. If you want to go the whole hog and have wireless satellite speakers, the Philips Fidelio HTL9100 is definitely worth checking out but at around £600 it's quite a different beast.
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Build quality may not be a strong point, but what the inexpensive Roth Bar 3 2.1 system lacks in cosmetic finesse it more than makes up for in rowdy volume. Power output claims to be a somewhat modest 2 x 40W, with the wireless subwoofer handling 60W, but together they go fiercely loud.
In terms of sonic balance, the sub actually does most of the work, so make sure you position it close to the soundbar for the best soundstage. Inputs comprise digital optical audio and minijack stereo. While Bluetooth streaming is supported, the bar lacks aptX. There’s no pretence here to great hi-fi, this Roth is principally for catching up with The Flash and Arrow, and sneaking in a quick sesh on Destiny. It’s a simple, loud, exciting listen.
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