What is the LG LAB540?
The LG LAB540 SoundPlate is designed for those people dissatisfied with the speakers built into their TV but either don’t want the clutter of a traditional solution or simply don’t have the room.
LG LAB540 Design & Connections
The active subwoofer unit is also quite large but its narrow design means it doesn’t have a particularly massive footprint. The tale of the tape reveals measurements of 296 x 332 x 296mm (WxHxD) and, of course, it will need its own power supply in order for it to work.
LG LAB540 SetUp & Operation
LG LAB540 Features
There aren’t many soundbar products that can offer 4K scaling but this one can. In reality we found it a redundant feature when tested with a Samsung HU7500 and Panasonic AX802 as the scaling on both TVs was at least as good but it’s there if you want it. Naturally there’s a control app for mobile devices available, too. Both iOS and Android are supported and it’s decent enough, offering a full remote replacement over WiFi and an interesting Private Sound mode where you can listen to audio using headphones connected to your tablet or smartphone. Most of the testing was done using a Nexus 7 (Android) and we found both features on the flaky side. The Private Listening mode, in particular, was unresponsive at times and kept cutting out. The WiFi remote app could also be sluggish to respond, although things were better with the iOS version here but there is undoubtedly some work to do.
LG LAB540 Video Playback
There are rarely player issues with Blu-ray playback, whether 2D or 3D, and the LG LAB540 does an excellent job in handling the demands of HD with flawless reproduction of every test disc we tried. We encountered no compatibility issues with recently released titles and, provided you stick to the Standard picture mode (enabled by default), there is no unwanted tampering with the signal. There is a User mode, too, which gives further control over Contrast, Brightness, Colour and Sharpness but this won’t need to be touched unless you’re embarking on an advanced calibration of your setup.
LG LAB540 Video Review
LG LAB540 Audio Quality
Even with correct positioning, the crossover levels sometimes don’t feel quite right and you are able to localise the position of the sub in the room too easily, as the likes of very deep voices can be audible though it. It doesn’t happen all that often but it can take you out of ‘the moment’ when it does and we feel LG needs to slightly retune. It is mitigated in the Cinema Surround mode which works really well with multichannel audio but that may not be to your taste – nor suit your room – so the natural tendencies of the sub need taming somewhat.
It’s with movie soundtracks where the SoundPlate 540 is at its best and it features both its own Dolby and DTS 5.1 decoding capabilities to ensure the mix down to 4.1 is handled in the best possible fashion. And it works very well indeed, managing to project a wide soundfield yet still retaining dialogue well anchored to the screen. Provided you can place - and subsequently set the subwoofer - successfully to its environment, it will reward you with enough output to fill an averagely sized living room and give some floor-shaking moments in to the bargain. As we’ve hopefully stressed sufficiently, placement is all with this subwoofer so be prepared to experiment.
- Chic design
- Good connectivity
- Great Smart Features
- Flawless Disc Playback
- There's a very nice sound to be had
- Subwoofer needs extremely careful placement
- Mobile app is no great shakes
LG SoundPlate (LAB540) All-in-One System Review
The SoundPlate 540 has some on-screen menus for setup purposes but, for day to day duties, its perfectly possible to operate the audio side of the equation by relying on the combination of remote control and display panel. Of course there’s a mobile control app as well but it needs some work to be as slick as it should be. In terms of other Smart features, the LAB540 is well blessed and it has a great selection of streaming services on offer as well as a generous selection of games and lifestyle apps available to download. There’s also a very capable media player onboard able to handle almost anything you ask of it, so this is one very smart soundbar.
As we’ve come to expect from LG, video performance was excellent. Whether it was DVD or Blu-ray – both 2D and 3D – we really couldn’t fault the LAB 540 here so it was just a question of whether it was up to the task sonically to complete the package. It took us some time to find the ideal position for the subwoofer and it can be overly boomy and predominant when hemmed in by walls or furniture but once we’d settled on a good location, the results were excellent with both music and movies.
The LG SoundPlate is a very interesting product that combines just about every facet of home entertainment, you could wish for, into an incredibly tidy and convenient package. It may take you some time to get it setup correctly for your room but once you have, it’s a success on all fronts and if you’re looking for a ‘lifestyle’ product but not willing to sacrifice too much in terms of performance, this is one well worth checking out.
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.