LG CM3430WDAB Micro Hi-Fi System Review
Not entirely style over substance
Hi-Fi reviewSRP: £249.99
IntroductionThey may be a relative newcomer to the audio market but LG is going at the challenge with some relish, particularly when it comes to ‘lifestyle’ audio products. The LG CM3430WDAB also comes in black, with a product code of LG CM3430BDAB, so you can probably decipher which part of it improbably long model number is colour related.
The Korean’s certainly know all about cramming in feature upon feature, in whatever product they’re attempting and the CM3430 certainly delivers on that front, boasting AirPlay, Bluetooth, USB & CD playback plus radio via the DAB and FM tuners. Pricing is certainly competitive as well; even at the full recommended price of £249.99, it’s hardly expensive but it’s currently doing the internet rounds at closer to the £200 mark so let’s see how this neat little box stacks up as a package
Design & ConnectionsThe LG CM3430 looks almost like it came out of the Bose product catalogue with its white mesh grille but, whatever, it certainly has a contemporary appearance and a size such that it should slot in to most rooms with ease. There’s a nice curved lip at the base of the unit but don’t be stacking heavy objects on top as it will rock. Other notables on the facia include a VFD display and a slot loading CD mechanism which is nice and quiet in operation.
It's not a Bose!
ControlWe’re not sure about the included remote, in all honesty, the rubberised button inlay could do with more texture for the commands and it has the kind of tacky surface that dust and dirt clings too. It looks OK and co-ordinates with the main unit but something more simple and functional would have sufficed..
If you want to get ahead, get an App!
In this day and age you’re rarely tied down to the bundled controllers, however, and LG has an ‘app for that’ available for both Android and iOS users. We actually ended up using it over the provided handset and it affords all the same controls plus a clock and alarm feature. It worked flawlessly during testing and has a very nice interface that catalogues the locally stored content on your mobile device in a visually pleasing way.
FeaturesApple device users will be pleased to know the CM3430 plays nice with AirPlay but there’s an AirDirect reset button to the rear should it all go pear shaped. Non fruit fancying folk will have to ‘make do’ with Bluetooth and that couldn’t be any easier to set up, merely requiring you to initiate the pairing mode and then finding it on your phone or tablet to complete the connection.
We have to say that we frequently got interruptions over Bluetooth in conjunction with our Nexus 7 but AirPlay from our iPad 4 proved far more robust so LG needs to work on Bluetooth stability. Admittedly, we have a ridiculous amount of Bluetooth devices in-house but we’ve not experienced anything like the number of dropouts with the other units we've tested, as we have with this one.
The USB port is multi-purpose, allowing not only full iPad, iPod and iPhone integration, as well as acting as a conduit for ‘regular’ MP3 players, but also the option of recording to the connected USB device. We’d imagine many will find this useful for ripping their CD collections as they go – yes people still own physical discs!
Audio QualityWith only 40 watts of power available, you wouldn’t expect the LG CM3430 to be a room-filling audio device but it makes a reasonable job of it nonetheless. The radio tuners seem of decent quality, with good FM Stations in particular spilling out pleasingly. Despite being situated in a valley, DAB reception was OK but we’d really need to hook it up to something a bit more substantial than the supplied aerial and we’d still take the FM equivalent station, where available, any time.
As we mentioned above, Bluetooth implementation could be much better. It’s not so much the quality as the frequent dropouts that frustrate, although we have to say we’ve listened to similar devices where Bluetooth audio fidelity sounded more convincing. That’s possibly just as much down to the components inside as it is the Bluetooth technology employed but we ended up with our tablet plugged in to the jack at the rear. The designer looks of the CM3430 are somewhat spoiled by the sight of trailing wires, we have to say, but at least Apple device owners don’t necessarily have to worry about the issue. And you know what a fussy bunch they can be!
It's not going to fill a room but sound quality is above adequate.
As we would expect, it was with CDs where the LG CM3430 was allowed to be shown its best light. Reproduction was good and seemingly unaffected by the mechanics inside. The disc mechanism is satisfyingly quiet, even when sat within a foot or two. And that’s probably where you want to be for this particular device to get a real immersive audio experience. Output is modest throughout the frequency range and despite the presence of a couple of down-firing subwoofers, there’s not much in the way of impact. There’s nothing we could say that was ‘wrong’ with it but if you like to listen loud, then there are probably better alternatives, although the very low price for the number of features included has to be taken in to account.
- Packed with connectivity
- Loads of playback options
- Nice app
- Stylish looks
- Good price
- Bluetooth drops out a lot
- Sounds a bit flat
LG CM3430WDAB Micro Hi-Fi System ReviewLG’s CM3430WDAB is built stylishly in the mould of other successful lifestyle audio manufacturers product portfolios. The sweeping lines, to the front, and white mesh grille certainly denote its contemporary status and the wealth of connection options will keep most happy. There’s AirPlay, Bluetooth, USB and a streaming app as well as a 3.5mm jack on the back alongside a headphone out. You also get DAB and FM radio tuners and a slot to stick in your CD’s so there’s a lot here for your money.
The listening experience didn’t quite match up to the feature-set or design, however, it’s all just a bit flat and lifeless, although if you’re going to use it in an office, bedroom or kitchen it’s a more than adequate tool where the convenience features will really be felt and appreciated. At this kind of price-point we really shouldn’t expect audio to me much more than adequate and the LG CM3430 can certainly lay claim to satisfying that criteria. The Bluetooth reception is slightly less than satisfactory, however, but if it’s a good looking, feature-rich little package you’re after, for some casual listening, it certainly worthy of consideration - with costs taken into account.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £249.99
Ease of Use8
Value for Money7
Our Review Ethos
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