Let's face it, those flat panel TVs can provide great picture quality, yet, the sound from these slim TVs is somewhat lacking. Without a complete stereo system or surround setup there's an important element subtracted from your TV shows and movies: immersive audio. Space can be at a premium for apartment dwellers, and soundbars such as the TVee 10 from Boston Acoustics offer a way to extract a fuller audio response and provide a simple way to interface with existing remotes.
Design: While rectangular speaker bars are pretty unassuming, this one goes a bit further to be as unobtrusive as possible - while still providing improved sound. As for its footprint - only 2.5 inches deep (pictured below) while just slightly longer than 31 inches. It sits low (only 3 inches tall) and snugly hugged my media console. Dual 2x5 inch drivers face forward and provide the two sound modes; TV/movie mode, and music mode.
The Slim profile of the TVee 10 allows it to easily fit below your existing flat panel TV. It can also be mounted to a wall via the mounting bracket holes on rear. The rear input section has a recessed inlet (for power and audio inputs) so flush mounting to the wall is possible.
The included remote provides input, volume, mute, and sound settings (music/movies audio setting). The movie setting is optimized through Boston Acoustic's DOVS or digitally optimized virtual surround. As a cool and smart feature, Boston Acoustic has provided the ability for the TVee 10 to learn your existing TV remote and thus further reduce remote control clutter.
I often find myself struggling to do the same functions on a soundbar unit as I can perform with the remote. The TVee 10 is so simply engineered that the remote and soundbar controls are identical and super easy to use. On the soundbar itself resides touch sensitive controls for all the same settings found on the remote. Lightly pressing the volume up key triggers the volume lights to blink - indicating changing values. Power, Sound Mode, and Mute can also be controlled with a light fingertip touch.
Inputs: The TVee 10 Provides a digital optical input for receiving audio signals from most TVs and cable boxes. This optical input accepts Dolby 5.1 signals and translates them into a virtual surround emulation. 2 additional inputs are available as auxillary 1 and 2 on a mini 1/8 inch stereo jack. These additional inputs can be used to plug a smartphone or iPod into the soundbar for amplification. Boston Acoustic also provides the cables you'll need to integrate the TVee10 into your existing system. To further improve TV compatibility, the Boston Acoustic soundbar provides a 3 level, selectable Trim (pictured above) for the analog 1/8 inch inputs. This allows for the proper level matching when using a TVs RCA outputs. For instance, if the sound is distorted using the Aux inputs, then set the Trim switch to a lower number/setting.
Listening: I used three sources to evaluate this soundbar; my TV of course, a Roku Box, and my iPod. The TV was connected via the provided optical cable. My Roku Box and iPod were connected with the 1/8 inch mini stereo plug.
The first thing I checked for was dialogue. So many soundbars provide rich and deep sound without checking for balance. The Boston Acoustic scores well here, as I found it to never be too boomy and drown out the voices. The human voice became richer, but still maintained clear enough distinction from SFX and music.
For Film and TV the sound was fuller and provided a glimpse of SFX and music that would never be translated on dinky little built-in TV speakers. Watching some classic Star Wars action allowed me to engage the full effect of the virtual surround. Hearing the lasers fly past me in a simulated environment was ok, but most importantly the sound was never muddy or unclear. As dialogue ensued during fight scenes, the voices were tight and clearly centered.
The music was certainly fuller with greater extension. Watching the Oscars last night provided some full orchestral accompaniments that really shined with the help of this little soundbar. Stereo imaging is not nearly as wide as one would get from separate speakers, but a sense of left, center, and right was there.
Plugging My iPod into the Auxiliary input was certainly worthwhile. I always desire true stereo separation, but the TVee 10 provided a clear sound that was even and easily filled a small room. I was impressed that the bass was tight but not overly bloated. Acting as a room filling music speaker is a great addition to this already great performing TV soundbar.
While many options exist for upgrading your TV audio sound, soundbars have become the popular method for size and simplicity. The Boston Acoustic TVee 10 maintains a user-friendly design while achieving a clean sound that is equally welcome for TV/Movies, and music.
Pros: Slim Profile, Wall mountable, clear balanced sound, Aux inputs, learns your existing TV remote, included cables for easy setup
Cons: no wireless audio streaming
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Vahan Baladouni)