Feed the LG NB3730A with a movie and its sound quality is impressive. Its most obvious virtue is volume – you can turn it up nice and loud without distortion, and when doing so it easily fills the room.
The 300W amp and dynamic speaker drivers pack a real punch during The Dark Knight Rises’ action scenes, particularly when Bane hijacks the airplane in the opening sequence. The constant rumble of the aircraft and pulsating score sound deep and beefy, and when it all kicks off gunshots sound punchy and Bane punches the CIA officers with a taut, solid thump. The LG’s sound is much larger in scale than its slender frame would have you believe.
This continues throughout the movie – the rattle of an Uzi taking out the screens at the Gotham Stock Exchange is fast and fiery, while Batman and Bane square up on the street in a barrage of deep, gut-wrenching blows.
During these scenes, the subwoofer is key to the system’s success. It fuses tightly with the soundbar without overpowering it, resulting in a cohesive, balanced sound. It also lends subtle depth to Bane’s electronically-enhanced voice without making him any harder to understand than usual.
High-frequency resolution is also up to scratch, making every scene sound detailed and open, although it’s not quite as smooth or clinically detailed as the Samsung HW-F551 or Philips HTL9100 – LG’s sound is perhaps a little warmer and wilder, but what it lacks in insight it makes up for in raw enthusiasm.
The only real downside to the performance – one that can be applied to the majority of soundbars – is that it can’t match the immersion of a real 5.1 system. The 3D Surround Processor expands the soundstage a little but it’s not particularly enveloping, even during scenes with a lot of non-directional information. But that’s hardly a deal-breaker, as the NB3730A does a great job in every other department.
Music is also very enjoyable when played through the LG, particularly when using the apt-X Bluetooth connection. The connection with our iPod Nano 7G was consistent, while sound quality is crisp and well-balanced.
The NB3730A is well worth the money, provided you own a TV that supports Audio Return Channel – otherwise, the lack of HDMI inputs makes installation a little convoluted, and in that instance we’d recommend checking out the LG NB4530A instead.
But that aside the LG NB3730A is a superb sound system, offering Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and an impressive range of network streaming features – the inclusion of which is highly unusual in a straight-up speaker system. Where it really excels, however, is performance – movie soundtracks are reproduced with room-filling power, decent detail and a fast, dynamic character. Chuck in its discreet, stylish design and wireless sub and you have a soundbar that you should investigate pronto.
The lack of HDMI inputs aside, the LG NB3730A is a top soundbar, boasting excellent performance and an unexpected treasure trove of network features.
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