What most people are looking for when they upgrade to a soundbar is sound quality that’s powerful, dynamic and detailed enough to put their TV’s speakers to shame, and the HW-D570 certainly fulfils that brief. With Return of the Jedi on Blu-ray, the two-way driver array produces a vigorous sound. The rebels’ attack on the Death Star is a cavalcade of feisty cannon blasts, screaming spacecraft and hearty explosions.
Throughout the movie, dialogue is clear and open despite the lack of a dedicated centre channel, and Darth Vader’s voice booms with the requisite depth and authority. The subwoofer does a reasonable job of controlling low-frequency effects, although it could do with more punch and power – we had to crank up the level to make it heard. Another positive is that the stereo soundstage boasts decent width and openness.
However, it’s a shame to hear the sound getting a little sharp and strident when the action hots up. Yes it’s dynamic and gratifying at first, but prolonged listening can get a little fatiguing at higher volumes. Certain effects sound too bright, like the roar of the Millennium Falcon, crackle of clashing lightsabers and blasting Scout Walkers. It’s not unlistenable, but does prevent its performance reaching the levels of the best soundbars on the market. The problem doesn’t seem to affect music playback quite as intensely, with a nice tone and more sympathetic balance to the sound.
The HW-D570 is by no means the best soundbar on the market, but there’s much to like. First up, its brushed silver styling is stunning, bringing a bit of bling to your living room, while the inclusion of two HDMI inputs and two digital audio inputs gives it an advantage over many rival soundbars. Throw in a wireless subwoofer, wireless iPod dock, touch sensitive controls and an array of DSP modes and the HW-D570 looks like a decent proposition on paper.
Sadly, the strident edge to its sound doesn’t quite cut the mustard, there’s no USB media playback and the lack of HD audio decoding is a minor grumble. But if you want a stylish sound upgrade that won’t impact on your living space it might be worth investigating.