You get what you pay for...
What is the Sond Soundbar?Well it’s the first product we’ve reviewed from Sond Audio, for one, and it’s one of the new breed of soundbars designed to sit beneath your TV – some call it a sound base or even a sound-plinth. At the time of review (September 2014), the Sond Audio Soundbar was available exclusively through an online retailer for around £70.
Sond Audio Soundbar: DesignDespite its mostly plastic construction, the product feels reasonably well made and the sloping edges give it quite a contemporary appearance. The left and right speaker drivers are concealed by a cloth grille, to the front, and the underside has a number of plastic feet – eight, if you’re interested – which gives the downward-firing subwoofer some room to breathe.
Is it easy to set up?It couldn’t be a great deal simpler but there is one major caveat we have to bring up and it’s something which could cost Sond Audio quite a lot of sales. Whilst you could use this speaker placed in front of your TV, aesthetically we don’t think that would be pleasing and its 21.5cm depth is likely to mean it will be a squeeze on the typical AV cabinet.
It really should have been made bigger to accommodate a wider selection of TVs
But, and it’s quite a big but, the ‘safe area’ - where you could place a TV upon it, without it being at risk of toppling over is only something like 40cm width by 20cm depth, and that’s not a great deal of room to play with. We obviously have lots of TVs to play with and not one that we had in at the time of review would we consider the Sond Soundbar a suitably sturdy base for. So, the first thing to do, before even considering this product, is to take the tape measure to your TV's base stand.
Sond TV Soundbar – how do I connect?For most at least, when it comes to hooking up a television there’s only going to be one option available to you. There’s a 3.5mm jack next to the power input at the rear of the soundbar and your best bet is to use a RCA to 3.5mm cable to take audio from the TV to the speaker base. That’s assuming your TV has left and right stereo outputs, otherwise you’ll be looking at the Headphone output which is not ideal as the headphone stage on your average flat panel TV is no great shakes.
If you have a bang-up-to-date Smart TV, you might find it is able to connect to the Sond using Bluetooth. This is a very rare feature, however, with the likes of Samsung and LG preferring to use their own proprietary wireless technology. The Bluetooth capability is, therefore, far more useful for streaming audio from your phone, tablet or PC and there’s even a NFC tag on the top to speed up the pairing process.
At least it has Bluetooth and NFC
Is it easy to use?If you can’t get to grips with operating the Sond Soundbar, we’re surprsised you’ve managed to make it to our website to read this review. It really is incredibly simple. There’s an indicator light which shines blue when you’re listening to a Bluetooth source and green for the wired connection. You can switch inputs by either using the touch-sensitive button on top of the unit or with the corresponding button on the supplied ‘credit card’ style remote. The handset also has a pairing button, volume controls and transport keys which can be used to skip, play and pause tracks from your connected Bluetooth device. The remote is very small and consequently easy to misplace but it’s no worse than many we see in more expensive products.
Sond TV Bluetooth Soundbar Video Review
Sond Bluetooth Soundbar: Sound QualityThe absolute minimum you would expect from a product like this is that it at least improves on the sound your TVs’ speakers put out. The Sond Soundbar can tick that box – in most instances – but little more than that. We’ve definitely heard some TVs recently that eclipse it, although they’re right at the top sector of the market and therefore unlikely to be the target audience. Still, we would honestly expect more from a dedicated speaker package, although the quoted 30W RMS output was never going to get pulses racing.
It will likely go a little bit louder than your television without distorting but it most certainly does have quite a low performance ceiling where things will go awry. The subwoofer is the first to go and we were soon noticing loss of low-end detail and some slightly disturbing vibrations but the left and right drivers soon followed. There’s just not enough extra impact here to really warrant the outlay and although this is not an expensive item, we know there are some out there occupying a similar, albeit slightly higher, price bracket that do it better.
Probably worth 70 quid but no more
- It's cheap
- Probably better than your TV's speakers
- Design is quite nice
- Bluetooth/NFC connectivity
- It might well be too small for your TV
- It doesn't sound all that good
Sond TV Bluetooth Soundbar Review
Should I buy one?
Well, we would never say yes or no to any product. Our reviews are a guide and we also encourage readers to gather as much information and opinion on a product before deciding for themselves. We will say that if you are on a very limited budget and interested in an upgrade on your existing TV-only setup, you’re not likely to shed tears over its purchase and the design and Bluetooth convenience means it’s a reasonable wireless speaker, as well as a soundbar. You will first need to ensure you can seat your TV safely upon it, however, as it really is too small to fit many out there. We guess £70-ish is appropriate pricing but we’d probably be saving our pennies for something a little more impressive.
What else should I consider?
The good news is that you’re not short of choice here, although sub £100 products are pretty thin on the ground. You could certainly consider the Cambridge Audio Minx TV, the Samsung HW-H600 SoundStand or even LG’s all-in-one LAB540 Soundplate but there are new products coming out all the time so it’s worth keeping appraised of our evolving sound solutions buyers guide.
Value for Money7
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