Goodmans Aspect Soundbar Review
Not particularly good, whichever aspect you look at it from
What is the Goodmans Aspect?We should probably refresh on the manufacturer before we tackle the product as it’s been a long time since we’ve heard of the brand in a contemporary sense. They tell us they haven’t really been anywhere – having been formed in the UK in 1923 - but they are now refocusing their efforts in the home audio market, where clearly they sense there’s room for one more in the ‘lifestyle’ sector. So now to the ‘Aspect’. This is, on the face of it, a simple compact soundbar, designed to bolster the audio from your TV, but there’s a little twist included for your hundred pounds, or so - more on that below.
Who is it for?It’s one for those on a budget – the recommended price is around £99 (January 2015) – and perhaps those as interested in having an all-purpose wireless speaker, in addition to a conventional soundbar. It will also suit anyone who is style conscious and space restricted as the Aspect is a very bijou product.
DesignThe major USP of the Goodmans Aspect is in its ability to be arranged in two ways. Thanks to the inclusion of magnetic plates and orientation sensors the Aspect can be placed flat, in traditional soundbar style, or positioned on one end to act as a wireless speaker. We’re not sure on how many people actually will use – or indeed need – this facility but we will say the Aspect looks a lot better when placed horizontally.
To get down to brass tacks though, in soundbar mode the Aspect is 55cm wide (Goodmans say 50cm, but it isn’t) and when put on to the magnetic stand horizontally it's just over 9cm high. That’s a borderline height, in terms of the speaker obscuring any of the bottom of the screen, but most TVs more than a couple of years old shouldn’t have an issue. The supplied remote control isn’t bad at all and features easy to follow colour-coded buttons to correspond to the various inputs available. There’s also a button to dictate speaker orientation and discrete controls for Bass and Treble, in addition to the standard volume options.
ConnectionsThe Goodmans Aspect has a solid set of connectivity options but you don’t get an HDMI port, so you can’t make use of the Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature present in some soundbars. To be fair, there are no soundbars at this price-point that have ARC so it’s hardly a black mark against the Aspect. You do get two digital audio inputs, however, so provided your TV has a toslink (most likely) or coaxial audio output, you can hook it up that way. There’s also an ‘all-purpose’ 3.5mm jack input as well as discrete L/R stereo connections. Additionally, you have the option of streaming audio via aptX capable Bluetooth, so you can get pretty close to CD quality using the right apps or files. For a more in-depth look at soundbar connections, you can take a look at our guide.
No HDMI but plenty of other inputs
Goodmans Aspect Specification and FeaturesSolid details on what’s inside the Aspect are pretty hard to come by, in all honesty, but we’ve contacted Goodmans for some extra information and we’ll update this section when we have speaker, driver etc. details but it’s safe to say they will be on the modest side. The above mentioned Bluetooth compatibility includes support for pairing by NFC (Near Field Communication) so, provided your smartphone or Tablet supports it too, you will be able to pair by sampling tapping it against the NFC tag in top of the speaker.
Goodmans Aspect Sound QualityWell you can’t expect the earth for under a hundred pounds although we have heard some very decent wireless speakers costing approximately that but the Aspect doesn’t really match up to any of those. In fact this product seems to be fatally caught between two stools as it doesn’t really deliver as a soundbar, either. The reason for that is quite simple, it just doesn’t sound very good at all with music, TV or movies. Audio is thin, sometimes muffled even, and occasionally descends into a bit of a hissy mess with lots of interference masking the sound.
We gave the Aspect every opportunity to shine by supplying it with the best sources possible but it never hit the mark. Bearing in mind it is primarily marketed as a TV soundbar, our first port of call was to hook it up to the TV via the toslink optical input where, to be perfectly fair, it did perform slightly better than the in-built TV speakers but only just, and the TV in question was no great shakes in the sound department. Taking a direct connection from our Blu-ray player and things perked up slightly but the Aspect still managed to introduce some unwanted fizz.
While we could probably live with the Aspect for everyday TV viewing, we definitely couldn’t have it as our music player – background listening or not. All the issues noted above apply at least three-fold when you bang on some tunes. Even streaming FLAC (lossless) from TIDAL didn’t impress, with the Aspect doing it’s very best to make it sound like a regular 256kbps MP3. Obviously this isn’t a product aimed at the lossless crowd but it gives you some idea of the inadequacies of the Aspect.
The one redeeming quality is that it's pretty good with dialogue
If we’re looking for positives, we would say that dialogue sounds perfectly acceptable, so the likes of podcasts or talk radio work well on the Aspect and the same can be said for TV or movies that are spoken word heavy. But that’s probably all we can say, in terms of good news. Oh, and before we forget, it sounds even worse in the vertical orientation, where the already tenuous sense of stereo separation is completely lost.
- It looks quite nice
- aptX Bluetooth
- Not secure when vertical
- Poor sound
Goodmans Aspect Soundbar Review
Should I buy the Goodmans Aspect Soundbar?If you’ve read through the review and not just skipped to the conclusion – yes, we know some of you do that – then you shouldn’t really need us to answer that and, whichever way you place it, there's a flat, uninspiring sound that is sometimes worsened by the presence of a hissy interference. Even extremely high quality sources suffer and about the only positive point we can draw from the Aspect is that it deals with the spoken word quite well, so provided you’re listening to talk radio, a podcast or something with lots of chat then you won’t be too disappointed. For anything else we are really struggling to recommend this product.
What else could I consider?Strictly speaking, we can’t offer a direct alternative to the Aspect and its shape-shifting ways but there are plenty of budget soundbars that will do a better job. The Sony CT60BT, for instance, is infinitely more talented and can presently (January 2015) be picked up for the same price from online stockists. Something like the Cambridge Audio Minx TV would also fit the bill for just a few pounds more than the Goodmans but, really, there are just too many alternatives to list here, so why not take a look at some of our recent favourites for further inspiration.
Ease of Use8
Value for Money6
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply. Write your Goodmans Aspect review.