But has Mark Levinson’s influence had a positive effect on the system’s sound quality? Well, yes and no. Asking a high-end audio expert like Mark Levinson to get world-beating sound quality out of a low-price home cinema system is like asking Roger Federer to win Wimbledon with a wooden racket - it’s not going to happen. But there’s no denying that the HT503TH is impressive for the money, and is definitely a cut above some similarly-priced systems we’ve tested.
It’s clear from the outset that the unit packs plenty of power, demonstrated by its effortlessly loud and muscular rendition of Episode II’s opening scenes. The bomb explosion during the attack on Senator Amidala’s spacecraft is full-blooded, making us jump from our seats with child-like excitement, and unlike many systems you don’t have to turn the volume up very loud for it to have an impact - we rarely raised it above the halfway point.
The front, centre and surround channels are cleanly separated and the rear effects are smoothly steered, but all four speakers do sound a touch boxy, which prevents dialogue and other key effects from sounding as clean and strident as we hoped.
Also, the subwoofer seems unable to cope with the 150W being fed into it. It pounds away during busy action scenes with all the control of an alcoholic on a rollercoaster, producing flabby, undisciplined bass that had us reaching for its volume control. But these quibbles aside, you can’t really complain for the money, particularly when where’s so much other good stuff to keep you entertained.
With the HT503TH, LG has once again demonstrated its ability to produce an affordable home cinema system that looks great, boasts loads of features and performs reasonably well. It can’t entirely disguise its budget nature, even with someone of Mark Levinson’s calibre wielding the pliers, but it’s good enough to make your £200 feel like money well spent.