Eight... spatial soundbars

Sonic boom

OrbitSound T12

RH Numbers

The T12 is a 60cm soundbar with a passive, wired subwoofer that’s designed to act both as a sound dock for an iPod as well as a soundbar for your TV. It employs a system called airSound that aims to create a stereo image with a less focused sweet spot, so it can be enjoyed at more points around a room.The iPod dock sits at the top, while around the back you’ll find a pair of stereo phono connectors, a mini jack line-in as well as both digital coax and optical connectors. There’s also a composite video output, so you can route video from an iPod or iPhone to your TV.

The sense of stereo width created by the main sound bar is impressive and it does this without washing out the clarity of the centre channel. However, although the subwoofer bashes out deep bass, unfortunately it can also be quite unruly and sometimes overpowers the main system speakers and as a consequence, slightly muddies overall sound quality.

OrbitSound T12

Reg Rating 65%
Price £300
More Info OrbitSound

Panasonic SC-HTB520

RH Numbers
RH Editor's Choice

Panasonic’s HTB520 twins a soundbar that houses three drivers with a wireless subwoofer to offer a full 240W of sound. On the rear you’ll find a HDMI input and output so you can daisy chain the soundbar between, say, a Blu-ray player and your TV, or alternatively you can hook it up using the digital optical connector. The system has a built-in decoder for DTS and Dolby Digital, and uses Dolby’s virtual technology to try to emulate surround sound. It does produce a much wider soundstage than you get from standard TV speakers, although it never quite creates a convincing rear channel experience.

The Clear Mode setting also helps dialogue to stand out from background effects without making it sound out of place in the mix and the subwoofer packs a powerful punch. All in all, this is a quality soundbar that’s pretty easy to use, doesn’t take up too much room in front of your TV and delivers an exciting and crystal clear soundstage.

Panasonic SC-HTB520

Reg Rating 90%
Price £330
More Info Panasonic

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