Panasonic SC-HTE80 - Operation, Performance and Verdict

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Panasonic SC-HTE80 – Operation

Panasonic SC-HTE80Using the SC-HTE80 is a cakewalk thanks to the clear front panel display. The large lettering helps you identify sound modes and menu options instantly, which is much better than the blinking lights used by other sound bases. 

Hit the Sound button and you can toggle through the various sound modes using the up and down keys. Press setup and you can dim the front display or access Viera Link and Bluetooth settings. Any options longer than the display width scroll after a few seconds.

The remote’s tiny dimensions make it a little awkward to hold, but the simple button layout and clear labelling keep confusion at bay.

Panasonic SC-HTE80 – Performance

The Panasonic SC-HTE80 offers a crisp, precise sound, reproducing the fine detail of movies and TV shows with impressive clarity. This distinct emphasis on treble makes everything feel light and spacious.

The applause ringing out around the Sochi ice rink at the Winter Olympics shimmers and sparkles, while the hiss of snowboards on the slopes fizzes clearly from the speakers.

And when playing Pacific Rim on Blu-ray (piped to the Panasonic via HDMI), the busy Hong Kong streets are alive with fine details like hissing rain, honking horns and faint background chatter.

We’re also impressed by the Panasonic’s speech clarity. We never struggled to hear the movie’s dialogue, even during the frenetic battle sequences. This is also great news when watching speech-heavy TV shows. 

Activate Clear-mode Dialog and TV voices snap into sharper focus, but the sound becomes hard and narrow, making it unsuitable for music and movie use. As for sound modes, we used Standard for everything.

Sadly, the Panasonic’s bass performance lets the side down. Despite the presence of twin subs, it lacks the depth and punch in the low frequencies needed to make Pacific Rim’s epic battle scenes really sing.

You can sense the subs doing their best with the incessant collisions and explosions, but they don’t have the required weight and authority – particularly when compared with Cambridge Audio’s Minx TV, which uses BMR drivers to muster huge waves of bass. You can play around with the subwoofer’s four settings, but we couldn’t find a satisfying balance. 
However, the Panasonic’s deft, detailed sound lends itself well to music playback. Hi-hats and percussion are clean and crisp, and vocals sound clear. The restrained bass works well here, adding solidity without overpowering.
Panasonic SC-HTE80

Should I buy the Panasonic SC-HTE80?

The Panasonic SC-HTE80 is a stylish, compact ‘speakerboard’ with a decent range of features and connections, but its underwhelming bass output means your money might be better spent elsewhere. It certainly sounds bigger and louder than any flat TV, but movies lack the punch you get from the Cambridge Audio Minx TV or Maxell MXSP-SB3000.

However, outstanding high-frequency reproduction means the sound is beautifully clear and detailed, which is ideal for TV shows and music playback. We’re also fans of the Panasonic’s front display, which makes operation a breeze, while its wide range of sound settings provides plenty of audio flexibility.

Verdict

The SC-HTE80 is a slick, stylish speakerboard at a fair price, but sound quality lacks the depth and punch of its rivals.

Next, read our round-up of the best soundbars

Score in detail

  • Performance 7
  • Features 8
  • Value 8
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Design 8

Features

3D Ready Yes
Number of Speakers 4
Supported Channels 2.1
DVD Player No
Blu-ray player No
Audio Processing Six EQ presets
Dolby Digital Yes
DTS Yes
Dolby Pro Logic II Yes
Dolby TrueHD No
DTS Master Audio HD No

Connectors

HDMI Input 1
HDMI Output 1
S/PDIF Optical In 1
Stereo Line In 1
iPod Dock No
Power (Watt) 120W

Physical Specifications

Height (Millimeter) 60mm
Width (Millimeter) 460mm
Depth (Millimeter) 280mm
Weight (Gram) 3.2kg
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