To test the LG BH9520TW’s mettle we ran Clash of the Titans’s DTS HD Master Audio track, and were highly impressed by its sound quality. Not completely blown away perhaps, but in the world of all-in-one systems this is definitely one of the better examples. Our range of regular test discs reveals the LG as a fast, powerful and engaging performer, with nicely judged levels of bass and treble, clear dialogue and a generally clean and undistorted sound.
Skipping to the Kraken attack in chapter 15, the action is delivered on a large scale with big imposing effects and crisp detail raining down around the soundstage. The LG moves effects around quickly across its expansive soundstage and to its credit there’s a consistent tone as effects move from speaker to speaker.
We also revelled in the levels of drive and attack on offer. This means that sudden effects like buildings and boats being smashed to pieces sound satisfyingly forceful and demand your attention. And as the 1100W rating suggests, there’s a decent level of grunt here too – as the Kraken rips the city to pieces, he booms and thumps fill the room, and when the beast lets out an almighty roar you can feel it rumbling right through your chest.
In terms of dialogue it can sound a little boxy, although it neatly picks out the little echoes and whispers that surround Hades’s distorted voice during his exchange with Zeus, and it does a good job at nailing the depth and gravitas of all the deities’ voices.
Next we tried out the 3D Sound mode, bringing those upward-facing speakers into play, and what it provides is a richer and more fulsome sound with a convincing sense of height. The soundstage feels more open and spacious than in the ‘Bypass’ setting, which in turn adds extra excitement.
The sound is also reasonably crisp, making the hissing seawater and swishing of flying creatures really stand out amid the carnage of a noisy action scene. It draws out subtle stuff like the delicate crunching as the Kraken turns to stone, or the top end fizz of the orchestra’s brass section.
At times though it teeters on the brink of brightness, with high frequencies sounding just a touch too shrill, especially at loud volumes. It’s not consistently a problem, but the occasional chink of a sword and the odd screech doesn’t sound quite as comfortable as it would on a more assured speaker package.
The other thing that stops us getting too carried away is the LG BH9520TW passive subwoofer’s one-note bass performance. There’s no real variation or agility to its bass tones and could do with going a bit deeper and integrating more tightly with the satellites. Sure it makes it presence felt with reasonable punch and power, but do an A/B comparison with a decent powered subwoofer and you’ll soon hear what it’s missing.
There are absolutely no complaints about the LG’s picture quality – it’s capable of sending dazzlingly sharp pictures to your TV, backed up by bold yet natural colours, smooth tonal blends and terrific shadow detailing. 3D playback is an entrancing experience thanks to the system’s faultless handling of the complex full 1080p signals. We couldn’t discern any glitches or artefacts at all.
The LG BH9520TW Blu-ray surround system is a top drawer home cinema system, right up there with the Panasonic SC-BTT590s and Samsung HT-E6750Ws of this world. Not only does it boast a killer feature list, but also a slick operating system and offers superb performance – pretty much all you could ask for from a one-box cinema system. There are flaws in the sound and £700 is hardly peanuts, but we really can’t see any major reason why you wouldn’t consider it money well spent.