As modern screens get thinner and thinner, so do the size of their in-built speakers. It doesn’t take an engineer to figure out this surely can’t be a good thing for the sound quality…
We’re all looking for the compromise between getting the sound quality you crave and not having monumental boxes clogging up the living room. This is where Philips have tried to find that happy medium in the HTL2183.
Although the soundbar would appear large as it’s 950mm wide, it’s minimal height and depth allows it to hide away effortlessly. Being only 69mm high and 51mm deep it can slide in from of most modern TV’s without you having to rearrange your living room. Along with its sleek and modern design there’s also all the modern connections you’ve come to expect from any sound system. Included are digital optical, digital coaxial and an ARC (audio return channel) HDMI connections. Basically no matter what TV you have, connectivity will not be an issue. They’ve even added 3.5mm and RCA analogue inputs, so you can plug almost anything into this. Radio tuner? No problem. iPod classic? It’s got you covered. As if that wasn’t enough there’s also the standard Bluetooth connection for your smartphone or tablet. Oh and why not stick a USB audio input in there for good measure. Does it all.
So once you’ve connected pretty much every device in your house to it, how does it perform? Boasting 150 watts of power between the bar and accompanying passive wired subwoofer, its powerful and will fill most living spaces. Music via Bluetooth performs amicably and everything is where it should be. There’s no overbearing bass and vocals are clean and clear.
As we switch to a blu-ray film the speech is again the biggest plus point. The HTL2183 has a dedicated centre channel in addition to your standard stereo left and right. This centre channel brings the dialogue directly to the middle of the soundbar and creates more separation and detail, thus allowing the left and right channels to concentrate solely on the rest of the action. A nice little touch as speech is something that can get lost when there’s a load explosion on some Hollywood blockbusters. Talking of explosions, the passive subwoofer is my first grumble with the product as when you want that little more drive and to really feel the lower tones, it just holds back a little and doesn’t quite get to where an active powered subwoofer would. Still at this price it can’t be sniffed at.
Philips are also using Virtual Surround Sound. This tries to create a 5.1 system from just a soundbar and subwoofer. It does a decent enough job and it’s definitely an improvement over other soundbars at this price.
The Philips HTL2183 really does do a lot from a one box solution. Overall the sound is a massive improvement on any TV and it also has a nice price to match. With all the connections and flexibility it encompasses it’s never gonna leave you disappointed.
Author: Bradley, Plymouth store