I do enjoy my 47″ LCD TV, but the sound quality never seemed to equal that of the picture. I realize that it’s difficult to get any fidelity out of a couple of puny speakers, however, the alternative of getting a surround sound system was more than I wanted or needed, not to mention having to run wires all over the TV room. I’d been looking at a sound bar for a while and picked the LG 300W Sound Bar System hoping it was the solution to my problems.
I’m not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, so any device that could provide a clearer sound while at the same time was easy to install and setup was attractive. The specs and features of the LG sound bar seemed more than sufficient to meet my needs.
• 300 Watts
• 2.1 Channels
• Wireless Sub-woofer
• Bluetooth Music Streaming
• 3D Surround Processor
• Optical Inputs (2)
• USB Host
• 42” Class TV Matching
Here’s what you get in the package. It even comes with the batteries for the remote and an optical cable.
Setup was a breeze. I set the bar in front of the TV, plugged it and the sub-woofer into house power and turned it on. Included with the package is a wall mount bracket and a template to position the sound bar on a wall if you prefer. The wireless connection between the bar and the sub-woofer was automatic. There are no controls on the sub-woofer and it can be placed anywhere in the room as long as it is in range of the sound bar signal. The sound bar length is set for a 42″ flat screen, so it may look a little short on the 47 incher. We think it looks fine and fits in with the TV.
I then plugged in the optical cable from the TV, another optical cable I purchased from a media player I have, and then lastly I connected my IS9181 Internet radio to the portable input jack.
All the inputs can be selected by either the remote or by touch buttons on the sound bar. When I unpacked the LG sound bar, the first thing my wife said was “not another remote!” Luckily the LG remote controls my TV set , so we’ve been able to eliminate that remote. Another very nice feature is that the sound bar senses if there is data on the optical input and will turn itself on and off when the TV is turned on and off. This feature can be enabled or disabled via the LG remote.
There is one final input on the side of the sound bar. The USB jack makes it possible to plug in a thumb-drive loaded with music in .wma or .mp3 format. We loaded ours up with Christmas music and segmented it into folders of vocals or instrumentals. The folders can be selected using the remote. MP3 files will display song information on the sound bar display. I also plugged in a portable hard drive and was able to access and play the tunes from the drive.
When listening to an audio source the LG sound bar has several preset equalizer effects that can be selected. We found the clear voice setting to be particularly helpful, especially when playing movies. Many times we’d watch a movie and ask each other, what did he/she say. We attributed this to our getting old, but with the LG sound bar we can now understand the dialog in movies and on TV shows. The other sound effects can be used to enhance your audio source and you can bypass the equalization completely, if you wish. There’s even a 3D effect mode which seems to fill the room with sound.
The LG sound bar is Bluetooth-capable and will stream music from your Bluetooth device. I use it to stream music and podcasts from my iPod Touch. This is as simple as selecting the Bluetooth input using the remote and turning Bluetooth on in your iPod and then selecting the LG to pair with. Now that I have the sound bar, I can get rid of the collection of iPod speakers I have lying around the house.
Here’s a device I wish I’d received a long time ago. It’s amazing how different the audio sounds compared to the built-in speakers. We can now understand dialog without having to replay a scene on movies. Yes, there are cheaper sound bars available, but you get what you pay for. The ability to connect via Bluetooth, multiple inputs, wireless sub-woofer and enhanced sound quality as compared to flat screen speakers is well worth the price. Also, now I have multiple audio sources playing through the sound bar in the room where I spend most of my time. The LG sound bar is a competitive entry that would be a smart purchase.