The notoriously terrible sound quality of slim TVs and a growing intolerance for boxes and cables has created a big demand for ‘under-TV’ speakers like this one from LG. Described as a SoundPlate, the LAP340 sits discreetly below your TV and delivers 4.1-channel sound without adding any clutter to your living room. It works just like a soundbar, but takes up even less space because it shares the same footprint as your TV. LG’s model joins the likes of Bose, Maxell, Denon and Cambridge Audio in this burgeoning area of the market, but it’s one of the more expensive models. Let’s find out how it compares.
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Speakers of this type aren’t really designed to catch the eye, but the LAP340 is one of best-looking examples we’ve encountered. At just 35mm it’s remarkably slim, and all the way round it sports a winning combination of black and grey, with elegantly rounded corners.
There’s virtually nothing to see on the front panel, besides a tiny LED that flashes red, orange, green or white to indicate different modes and inputs.
The dappled top panel has a surface area of 700 x 320mm, which is large enough to support most TVs up to 55in or 38kg (provided its stand fits within the space). For that reason, build quality is absolutely superb – the bodywork has a heavy, rigid feel that’ll give you confidence when plonking a TV on top. Down the sides you’ll find airflow ports for the built-in subwoofers.
The connections are housed on the back, or we should say connection – there’s just one optical digital input to hook it up your TV.
On one hand, we like the simplicity of this – everything that you watch on the TV gets passed to the LG through this single cable – but on the other hand, we’d have liked a few more options at this price, particularly when the likes of the Maxell MXSP-SB3000 offers three HDMI inputs, two digital inputs, RCA and 3.5mm inputs at over £100 cheaper.
Also on the back area switch to turn the Auto Power mode on and off and a cluster of buttons to control volume, input and power.
The LAP340 makes up for its sparse socketry with built-in Bluetooth, making it easy to listen to songs stored on phones and laptops. But it’s not just music fans who benefit from wireless streaming – you can also beam audio from LG TVs equipped with Sound Sync (which could come in handy if your TV’s mounted on the wall) and adjust the LAP340’s volume using the TV’s remote.
In terms of audio tech, the LAP340 is a 4.1-channel system, boasting two 4¾in subwoofers and four 1in x 2¾in speakers with dual neodymium magnets, which LG claims have eight times the power of ordinary magnets. Prepping the audio signals is a high quality DAC.
LG has also thrown in a Cinema Sound mode, which is designed to boost bass and expand width when watching movies.