Samsung HW-C450 2.1 soundbar
Clarity of purpose
It's easy to set up – effectively plug and play, with the sub finding the main unit in a few seconds and remaining connected ever after. As for the sound, the C450 delivers quality and clarity that belies its middling price. Speech clarity, in particular, was impressive, along with the overall soundstage proving convincingly broad. Bass from the slightly flimsy sub isn't of the first water and feels a little light, without the necessary grunt you'd expect from better systems. What there is though is respectably tight and focused, without resorting to needless boom.
The wireless sub minimises the set-up spaghetti
There's onboard decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS sound and it'll go fairly loud in a smallish to mid-sized room, with 45 watts on offer from the main unit and 20 watts from the sub. The various sound modes didn't seem to make a great deal of difference, besides reducing bass at various levels, so I ended up leaving the modes off, even when playing music, which it tended to deliver competently, but without any wow factor.
The Samsung HW-C450 offers a pretty good sound upgrade from basic TV and delivers a clear, coherent soundstage that does a reasonable job of opening out film soundtracks. It's slim and reasonably discreet too, especially with that wireless subwoofer. At least one HDMI connection would have welcome however, or even a standard RCA analogue connection. There are cheaper soundbars, but the sound quality justifies the price, so long as you're not expecting to connect too many devices. ®
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