Archive for category Review
“We’d also like more subtlety when it comes to dynamics. Before the action sequence begins, the small horns and whispering leaves that set the mood struggle to truly convey any tension – leaving the scene relatively flat and lifeless.
While the sheer difference in volume is adequate (this soundbar moves from quiet to loud smoothly), the tiny changes in sonic intensity that make your hair on the back of your neck stand on end could do with some refinement.”
While LG’s spec stating that the set offers Dolby Atmos audio may be more fanciful than audible, the 65C8’s sound was above-average for a flat-panel TV. It can’t play particularly loud—when I tried, the audio was often accompanied by low bass breakup and, sometimes, an annoying buzz from the back panel. But I otherwise found the 65C8’s sound acceptable even with movies, though it is no substitute for a separate surround system or a first-rate soundbar.”
Having just used it, that word ‘settle’ doesn’t feel entirely fair when you consider the success of LG’s 2017 sets. And also when you consider that, once we get it up and running, we find the OLED55B8PLA one of the most pound-for-pound impressive TVs we’ve seen this year.
We head straight to Alex Garland’s excellent sci-fi thriller Annihilation on Netflix (it’s a film we strongly recommend) and the picture we are met with is as welcome as the greeting from an old friend.
The lush greens of ‘The Shimmer’ world and the more muted khaki tones of the army uniforms come through with familiar richness and refinement. The LG is not only a natural with tones but also in its handling of shading – its colour reproduction as grounded as the B8’s feet are to the stand on which it sits.
During the review period, I got comfortable using voice commands with Alexa to stream music from Tidal and Pandora to the Denon receiver or the HEOS speakers. It was a nice convenience to be able to dictate the music on the fly while cooking in the kitchen without having to grab the remote or my phone. And the full sound of the HEOS 5 was impressive for a speaker of its size. There were only two or three times when Alexa got confused, playing the wrong song or not playing a song at all. And it was great to have the two HEOS 1 speakers set up as a stereo pair in the bathroom to play music streamed from the HEOS app or directly from my phone while getting ready in the morning.
Streaming high-resolution music from my NAS was straightforward using the HEOS button on the Denon remote, too. The AKM DACs and amps built into the Denon did a more than adequate job resolving the 24bit/192kHz and DSD files I sent their way.
As I mentioned previously, the CR-1 confers a big advantage by splitting the frequency band with a true high-pass and a low-pass crossover. There’s very little overlap between the subwoofer and main speakers around the crossover point, eliminating the unpredictable result of having two different sources reproducing the same frequency band—the range of frequencies below the crossover point but above the lowest frequency the main speakers will reproduce. The combination of the high-pass and low-pass filter lets you decide, by listening, how much of the bass range is reproduced by the subwoofer and how much by the main speakers. If your main speakers have marginal bass quality below 100Hz, use a higher crossover frequency so that the main speakers never operate below 100Hz. Usually, a higher crossover frequency results in a more audible discontinuity at the crossover point. But the CR-1’s extensive controls provide seamless integration even at higher crossover frequencies.”
The Q8DN requires little tweaking in order to perform at its best. For HDR, it’s simply a case of turning off the ‘Eco’ settings and settling on the level of motion processing you’re happy with. We also switch on the ‘Game’ mode when playing games, as this reduces input lag and enables the ‘Game Motion Plus’ mode, resulting in smoother in-game action.”
In my case, DCAC set all my speakers to large, which always happens with my RBH system. I left the tower speakers set to large, and it was easy to manually change the size of the center and surrounds to small and select a crossover (it ranges from 40 to 200 Hz in 10-Hz increments). The distances looked about right. The only level setting that caught my eye was for the subwoofer, which was boosted 9 dB. I suspected that was going to be way too much bass, but I left it alone to start, just to see if the Sony receiver knew something I didn’t.”