Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 Soundbar and Wireless Sub First Look
- Product Name: TVEE Model 30
- Manufacturer: Boston Acoustics
- Review Date: January 10, 2011 02:00
- MSRP: $599.99
- First Impression: Mildly Interesting
- Slim soundbar that can be mounted on a wall above or below a TV or rest on any surface
- Wireless subwoofer that is shaped to fit behind a couch or under a bed (works vertically or horizontally)
- System features a “one-wire” analog or optical digital hookup, surround sound, and a dedicated Stereo Mode for enhanced music performance
- DSP control switch maximizes the performance of the soundbar based on placement
- 1 optical Dolby Digital
- 1 pair RCA stereo
- 1 pair 3.5mm miniplug stereo inputs
- “Learning Function” learns a user’s existing remote to control the system
- Three 3 1⁄2 " FCCM mid-bass drivers
- Three 3⁄4 -inch dome tweeters
- Sub features 7" FCCM subwoofer in a tuned enclosure
If you have a second (or third or fourth) display in your home, you're usually relegated to using the speakers on the display. For an audioholic, that's about as offensive as you can get. Going from your main system to the kids room is like going from a concert hall with a full orchestra to a recording that's been compressed at 128kbps... twice... on earbuds. The problem is that installing full systems in multiple rooms can be cost prohibitive. Not to mention that installing surround speakers usually requires cutting into walls or, at the very least, running wires across a room. This may be worth it in the master bedroom (you know, where you'll be), but in a playroom, this is overkill. You just want something that doesn't cause you the cringe as you walk past the open door.
Boston Acoustics is looking to do better than that with their new TVee Model 30 Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer System. This is a complete solution that not only is cost effective (at an MSRP of $600) but doesn't require a receiver. The TVee Model 30 (like the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20 we looked at last year) provides both a virtual surround or a dedicated stereo experience. The sub is designed to be placed vertically or horizontally so that you can shove it out of the way (which we would normally dissuade but in this case, it is probably going to happen anyhow).
You can connect your sources to the TVee Model 30 via a digital optical, RCA, or 3.5mm connection. This is a huge advancement over the TVee Model 20 which only had RCA inputs. It should allow you to connect more than one device though we're not sure how switching will take place. In addition, it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from your smartphone or other Bluetooth devices. In connectivity alone, the Model 30 is light years beyond the 20.
With advancements usually comes higher prices. That's certainly the case here. The Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 retails for double the Model 20. We've got more connectivity, but what else do you get? Well, to start with, the drivers have been updated from using Boston's "HHRT" (Hyberbolic High Rigidity Transducer) and instead is going with the "FCCM" (Fiber Ceramic Copolymer Material) which is the same as their Reflection Series line. there are three, 3.5" drivers and three .75" dome tweeters. The Model 20 only had two drivers while the Model 30 has six. This should create a significantly more realistic (and much more extended on the top end) listening experience. The TVee Model 30 is also a bit larger as it is recommended for 40" displays rather than the Model 20 which was recommended for 32". The Model 30's sub has an inch larger driver (7" over 6") than the Model 20.
The Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 has keyhole mounts for wall mounting though it also includes rubber feet for cabinet/shelf mounting. In such cases there is a DSP control switch to "maximize the performance" of the bar. This usually equates to cutting the bass output a bit knowing that the placement will otherwise create bass bloat.
One feature that should help sell the TVee Model 30 is the learning feature. We've seen this before from Boston products and it is pretty cool. Basically, instead of having to teach your remote the codes for the Model 30, the Model 30 learns the commands from your remote. So when you press the button to power on the TV, you power on the Model 30 at the same time. The volume is the same way. This really simplifies things for users that may be working with older, non-learning remotes.
Is the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 for you? Well, we acknowledge that surroundbars have their place. When you are looking for something to make your secondary TV sound better, the Model 30 will certainly work for you. We like that they've included more connections with this model and the Bluetooth streaming is a nice addition. Being able to switch between stereo and virtual surround is a nice touch, though we imagine we'd want to stick with stereo while our kids would want the virtual surround. The subwoofer has a lot of versatility with placement because it can be oriented vertically or horizontally (which, honestly, so can many subs if you really want to - but at least Boston is giving you permission) and wirelessly. Allowing any remote to control the TVee Model 30 will definitely increase usability. The biggest problem we see is the doubling in price. Going from a $300 solution to $600 is a big jump. While we can see where the money went, we're not sure consumers will understand. One of the complaints about the Model 20 was that the surround wasn't very convincing. If the new drivers do a better job of virtual surround, Boston could have a winner on their hands.
For more information, please visit www.bostonacoustics.com.