Cambridge Audio updates a critically acclaimed home cinema favourite.
After revamping its TV sound bases (the popular TV2 and TV5), Cambridge Audio has now turned its attention towards revamping its debut soundbar. The original TVB2 received glowing reviews from the likes of What Hi-Fi? and AV Forums, making it one of the more popular products for people looking for an improvement to their TV’s stock sound. Other than the addition of a gloss finish to the top of the wireless subwoofer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is exactly the same product as before. The TVB2 V2 retains the sleek and discrete styling of the original with a height of only 74.5mm, meaning it’s very unlikely to obscure the bottom of your TV image. With the depth being smaller still at 450mm, it doesn’t matter whether you wall mount it with the included bracket or place it on a stand, it’ll not stick out like a sore thumb in your living room. The wireless subwoofer connects up automatically after being plugged into a power outlet and synchronises easily with the bar providing it’s kept within a 10m range.
The recessed connections on the back of the unit are all parallel with the bar and contains three HDMI inputs, one Audio Return Channel-enabled HDMI output (all 2.0 spec and ready to take 4K, HDR, HDCP 2.2 signals), a digital optical input and a 3.5mm analogue jack connection just in case. Bluetooth 4.0 is also both included for connecting mobile devices and you’ll find simple buttons to the side of the bar for toggling volume, inputs and power, as well as an NFC connection point on the other side. A HDMI and an optical cable are included in the box, so it really is a plug-and-play solution for your home AV setup.
The nifty remote allows you to also switch between EQ modes as well as control the volume of the subwoofer. ‘Music Mode’ is the standard setting but the choice is yours, with ‘TV Mode’ giving a solid all around performance and ‘Movie Mode’ giving listeners plenty of bang for their buck for deep bass and big scale. Anybody particularly hard of hearing will find ‘Voice Mode’ dampens down bass and accentuates the mid-range in order to bring greater prominence to dialogue but it will sound a little shrill and empty of depth for normal listening.
We used a 4K Blu-ray of The Incredible Spiderman 2 and immediately skipped through the chapters so we can check out the fight scene Electro and Spidey facing off. The TVB2 V2 makes an impression right from the off in Movie Mode with the sizzle and rip of electricity zipping along the screen and into the room. There’s a surprising amount of width to the soundstage which you wouldn’t normally expect from a stereo-based speaker driver system but that’s one of the benefits of Cambridge’s Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) technology. Instead of a traditional conical speaker driver, the flat nature of BMRs means a wide dispersal of sound. The subwoofer is slimmer than the traditional cube shape you see on most active subwoofers but still gives enough weight to the sound to fill medium sized rooms.
A quick switch to Bluetooth and a flick into ‘Music Mode’ has Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” blasting out and it’s surprising how much you can turn the volume up before it’s brash on the ears. The synchronised bass and synth line is full-bodied but retains enough attack to keep the rhythm driving along, all the while not losing the subtle little trills and inflections of MJ’s vocals.
Some other soundbars may be a little warmer and fuller in the mid-range, but won’t match the Cambridge in bass weight due to the TVB2 V2 having adjustable control over its subwoofer. The chances are that if you’re looking for something that is going to make the most out of explosions in games or films without spending more than the price of your TV, the TVB2 V2 should be on your watchlist. If you’re just after better separation of dialogue there are cheaper options, but why miss out on the extra features, scale and customisation that the Cambridge TVB2 V2 offers?
Call or pop in to your local Richer Sounds and ask about listening to the TVB2 V2 and see if it ticks the boxes for you.
Author: Steve, Bristol store