Posted 20 hours ago

Panasonic SC-HTB8 2.0 Channel Soundbar with Bluetooth(R)

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The days when an audio product could just go about its business of making a noise are numbered and, as such, the HTE80 has a number of additional lifestyle enhancing features on board.

There's quite a lot of DSP (Digital Sound Processing) options to play with, in fact, although most of the Sound Modes aren't wildly different from one another. There's an emphasis on the low notes in the Cinema mode and the Stadium option is loud and echoey but there's not much to distinguish between Standard, Music and Stereo but we mostly favoured Music, for all disciplines with its slightly brighter timbre which seemed to reveal just that bit more detail.There are two in-built down-firing subwoofers that whilst they couldn't exactly be classed as room shakers, they certainly do bring a welcome touch of impact. We have found, with other competing products, that the subs could be too dominant and even cause unwanted vibrations and rattles, so we think Panasonic has been wise to err on the side of caution and has produced something quite restrained but very well integrated with the rest of the system. The elegant, compact HTB688 is a perfect match for your TV. HDMI CEC compatibility provides easy operation. And the 3.1-Channel High-Quality Sound System with wireless subwoofer optimizes theater sound.

Unobtrusiveness is the key quality when it comes to the sound plinth and Panasonic has succeeded with the HT80 speaker board. That is to say it's a fairly plain box which is slimline and compact at only 6cm in height, and thus won't raise your TV to uncomfortable altitudes. Panasonic includes quite a lot of processing options and features aboard the HTE80 and most of them actually work quite well, so you'll need to experiment to see what suits you best. Whichever you choose, the audio performance will generally be on the warm side with excellent clarity of both vocals and dialogue and very nice sense of detail.

The compact HTB208 fits elegantly underneath your TV. The sound reproduced by the speaker is clear & powerful and will add enhanced realism to the pictures on your television.

In the Audio/Visual world it doesn't really get much easier than hooking up a sound plate (yes, we do keep calling it different names - blame the manufacturers) but it's probably a smoother experience if your TV does have ARC functionality via one of its HDMI inputs, as it will allow you to use your TVs remote to control the volume. During testing we hooked up the SC-HT80 to a Toshiba L4353 we were reviewing and found operation faultless over ARC, although we can't 100% vouch this will be the case for all TVs as we've seen some shoddy implementations. What we can say is that there's certainly nothing wrong in the way Panasonic is implementing ARC so it will be your TV to blame if things are going pear-shaped. The matching dual subwoofers won't exactly shake the rafters but they never lose control either and always remain well integrated with the rest of the frequencies delivered. In actual fact, we think Panasonic has showed admirable restraint with their implementation as, given where the unit will likely be placed, it will cut down on unwanted reverberations and rattle. Naturally Panasonic provides a control app for both Android and iOS which is more successful on Apple devices, as the former version seems to crash a lot. When it is working as it should, Music Stream allows you to access music on any DLNA servers on your network as well as audio stored locally on your mobile device.

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