Product review: Cambridge TVB2 soundbar

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After a fairly prodigious 12 months by anybody’s standards, Cambridge are back yet again with another impressive looking new offering for boosting your TV sound…

Not content with just releasing new kit in their traditional hi-fi strongholds, they’re also making notable efforts in a brand new category – soundbars. After dominating the industry’s press with their award-winning sound bases, the UK-based brand have conjured up their first ever soundbar, the TVB2, and are hoping that it can match the success of the rest of the family. Join us as we put it through its paces (*SPOILER ALERT* It’s really good!).

One thing Cambridge have absolutely nailed with all of their latest equipment is their approach to design. Smooth lines, clean, easy to read fascias, and above all, a fantastic attention to detail mean that the kit itself is guaranteed to turn heads. The TVB2 is no exception. At 88cm in length the TVB2 is just about the perfect size to fit with most stands, and its slim and shallow profile means it takes up far less space than similarly priced efforts from rivals like JBL and Yamaha.

With a grille that stretches from edge to edge and a large clear display, the Cambridge really does look every inch the classy product. The same goes for matching the subwoofer, which is tall and narrow but still manages to kick out plenty of power, and importantly, is wireless in its connectivity to the soundbar itself.

Stylish and discreet, the TVB2 will fit effortlessly into any living room.

Stylish and discreet, the TVB2 will fit effortlessly into any living room.

Speaking of connectivity, the Cambridge manages to pack a huge amount of sockets into such a diminutive cabinet. There are three HDMI inputs (yes, THREE) and one output, perfect for hooking up any of the latest games consoles, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes, as well as an optical input and a 3.5mm connection for older equipment and audio devices. It’ll come as no surprise that Bluetooth and NFC make an appearance too, so hooking up your phone or tablet wirelessly is a doddle.

Of course looking great but sounding average is no use to anybody, so Cambridge have made sure to work with the same materials that they use elsewhere in the range. The TVB2 packs in two of their Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units, giving a wonderfully balanced sound across the mid-range frequencies and up into the highest registers. These single speakers allow for a more even-handed approach that separate drivers and tweeters, and the same speakers are used in their much-praised ‘Aero‘ range. The subwoofer’s driver is a 6.5″ that again offers up plenty of punch.

So, build up out of the way, the Cambridge was wired in and ready to go. Their own CXU universal disc player was our first source of the day, and with excitement building for the release of the new James Bond flick, we returned to Daniel Craig’s second outing as 007, ‘Quantum of Solace‘. Cue: lots of crash, bangs and indeed wallops as the pursuit in the opening scene turns more spectacular by the second. The TVB2 made the Aston’s engine sound as impressive as it deserved, the subwoofer and soundbar contrasting its guttural roar nicely against the pings of the many, many bullets being fired.

The soundstage offered was nice and wide, although not as much as some of the pricier examples out there that sometimes tuck speakers into the side of the bar as well, but this wasn’t really to the TVB2‘s detriment – it wasn’t any less enjoyable for it.

Dialogue proved to benefit brilliantly from Cambridge’s BMR drivers, too. Craig’s voice was clear and full-sounding during the film’s chattier moments, and when we spent some time using the TVB2 for standard off-air TV broadcasts it was equally well balanced.

Switching to music via Bluetooth and TuneIn, the internet radio app, it was time to test the Cambridge’s rhythmic capabilities with DeepVibes Radio, a 24-hour a day shrine to all things Deep House. Broadcasting at 320kbps, the station is one of the best-sounding on the internet, and the TVB2 lapped it all up.

One of the trickiest things for a soundbar and sub combo to do is not sound isolated from each other when playing back music. If the bass sounds like it’s coming from somewhere else altogether then things start to fall apart quite quickly. Here, Cambridge’s musical background showed that this was never likely to have been on the cards. The much-fabled Pace, Rhythm and Timing favoured by fans of Naim’s products was here in abundance, too. Bass was deep yet punchy, the beat followed with impeccable aptitude, and much head-bobbing ensued. As we switched through genres the TVB2 remained unfazed, always giving the music the same balanced approach.

Awards season is now here and Cambridge must surely have one eye on adding another trophy to their ever expanding cabinet, and with the release of the TVB2, we’d be seriously shocked if they didn’t! Hugely recommended!

If you want to hear the TVB2 or any of our huge range of soundbars for yourself, call your local store or speak to our friendly Telesales team on 0333 900 0093. We can help you experience better TV sound today!

Author – Chris, Liverpool store


This article has 11 comments

  1. Excellent review!

    I am choosing between Qacoustics M4, Sonos Playbar and this. Which one would you recommend? It will be used for both music and TV/movies but mainly the later.

    Thank you


    • Hello Neven,
      Thanks for the message. All three are great soundbars, and all have their benefits. The Q Acoustics recently picked up the What Hi-Fi? Soundbar Product of the Year 2015, and the Sonos PLAYBAR picked up Best Multi-room System in its price range (ideal then for streaming music to it, and adding extra speakers around the home). Personally, I would recommend having a listen to all three yourself, to hear the subtle differences. All our stores have home-styled demonstration rooms where you can do just that.

      Many thanks,

  2. Sonos has the edge being the most simple solution. I am a big fan of WiFi connected devices. But, I am afraid the Q Aqoustics M4, as well as CA TVB2 sound better for less money.

    Thanks again


  3. How does this sound bar connect to the TV?

    • Hello Simon,
      The Cambridge TVB2 has 3 HDMI inputs and 1 out, so you can connect up all your source equipment (Freeview recorder/Sky or Vigrin box/Blu-ray player etc.) and then a single HDMI lead to the TV. You can also take sound from the TV using either a digital optical cable (the preferred choice) or a 3.5mm headphone-jack cable, depending on what connectivity your TV has.
      Many thanks,
      Richer Sounds

  4. Im currently looking at a soundbar between the sonos and denon heos. What would you recommend as i am not after a multi room system just a really good one for films. Do you have any reviews for the heos soundbar

    • Hello Darren,
      Thanks for your question. Both are great, and each have their unique benefits. For what you will be using it for, I would probably direct you to the HEOS by Denon. For movies, the HDMI inputs allow for greater connectivity, while Dialogue Enhancer improve the audibility on some movies soundtracks. The wireless subwoofer adds much needed bass to soundtracks, plus it has a great Virtual Surround feature, which a 32bit processor to replicate surround sound from the single speaker.

      We would always recommend giving your local store a call to book a side-by-side demonstration of both soundbars. Every store has a home-styled demo room for you to do just this.

      Thank you,
      Ian – Richer Sounds

  5. Thanks Ian

    Does the store in the city centre of Manchester have both the Sonos and Heos set up?


    • Hello Darren,
      Our stores usually keep demo stock of both in at any one time, so with a quick call they can book a convenient time for you, and will have both connected up for you when you pop down top the store.
      Many thanks,

  6. Ian,

    Just as a quick reference whats the one thats won What Hifi 2015 Q ACOUSTICS
    M4 how does this compare in sound quality against the HEOS.

    • Hello Darren,
      It doesn’t have the streaming features the HEOS offers, but it sounds like that won’t be an issue on this occasion. The advantage of the Q Acoustics’ is that it uses BMR drivers. These offer great sound dispersion, meaning no matter where you are sat in the room you will get the same great sound. It did actually win the What Hi-Fi? Award two years in a row, and justifiably so. On the downside it doesn’t have quite the surround sound experience of the HEOS.
      Many thanks,