Bomaker Defies the $100 Price Point with their 2.1 Soundbar Subwoofer
- Product Name: Tapio V Soundbar and Subwoofer
- Manufacturer: Bomaker
- Review Date: March 03, 2021 08:00
- MSRP: $89 limited time sale price
- First Impression: Pretty Cool
- Power: 100 W
- Bluetooth Version: V5.0
- Speaker Driver: 2” x 4 (Soundbar), 4” x 1 (Subwoofer)
- Functional Jack: Optical, AUX, USB
- Soundbar Dimensions: (LxWxH) 31.7" x 2.48" x 2.36"
- Soundbar Weight: 3.15 lbs
- Subwoofer Dimensions: (LxWxH) 5.51" x 4.88" x 11.81"
- Subwoofer Weight: 4.17 lbs
Bomaker has been making home audio/visual equipment since 2015 and is starting to make a name for itself through the internet for the affordability of many of its products. The Tapio V follows in this tradition and is billed as a “slim but powerful” portable soundbar. The ease of setup, as well as the ability to break the bar down into two pieces for travel, does serve to enhance the portability factor. The addition of a battery option would do well to transform the system into a truly portable Bluetooth speaker/soundbar combination that would be extremely versatile, making it a very formidable competitor in the portable speaker market especially since they also offer a portable projector. I’ve setup audiophile quality backyard home theaters around pools and a few of them end up getting used MAYBE once a year. Although it wouldn’t sound as good, a portable soundbar and portable projector certainly would be easier.
The Tapio V comes cleanly double packaged inside standard corrugated cardboard. The soundbar itself comes packaged in two individually wrapped pieces, which can then be easily twist-locked in place together to form the larger single unit. The woofer sits below these pieces in the box and comes wired with the cable to connect to the soundbar.
I liked the simple look of this soundbar and the ease of set-up was a big plus. This is truly the type of product that can be taken out of the box and used immediately. I chose to use the optical cable to connect to my Samsung TV and Blu-ray player, although the option for Bluetooth connection does exist and is a nice bonus which also allows you to stream audio from your phone to the soundbar.
A 31” soundbar is not a product most audiophiles would consider for their home theater room, but with many people staying home today, what’s the harm in having better sound in the bedroom? I placed the soundbar in front of my TV on a wooden dresser and placed the subwoofer down below in the corner between the dresser and the wall.
There was one drawback during the installation. The tiny cable used to connect the two pieces of the soundbar did not sit flush on the back and seemed to be slightly too long, which caused a small bulge in the cable. I am sure I could have made it fit but I was annoyed by this design error none-the-less. This would also be a larger issue had I wanted to mount the soundbar on the wall and needed it to sit flush.
Included in the box are the screws and anchors for mounting. I like the four-way mounting plate on the back of the soundbar which gives you a bit more room for error and multiple options if you’re tight on space. Mounting should be no problem at all, even without an included wall template.
The soundbar and woofer both have a very simple and unobtrusive look, making them an unobtrusive addition to any living room or bedroom. The subwoofer feels slightly undersized but fits nicely in a corner. I’m not sure I would say it’s visually appealing, but it doesn’t jump out at you and say, “look at me!”
The Tapio V comes with four full-range drivers hidden within the soundbar and a separate subwoofer that Bomaker claims can put out 110 dB, which would be quite impressive for its size. I know frequent Audioholics readers are wondering why we don’t have James Larson type measurements at this point, but in the scope of this article, we wanted to see how good a $100 soundbar and sub could be without spending too much time on measurements best reserved for higher-end systems.
The entire system is diminutive enough to disappear into its surroundings. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Tapio V, but any sound would be an improvement over the sound you get from your TV alone. For connection setup, the Tapio V has 4 wired options including Optical, AUX, and USB. The soundbar is compatible with 4k&HD TVs, projectors, computers, tablets, and gaming systems and comes with the optical and digital cables included.
The Tapio V features 5 distinct equalizer modes (games, bass, music, movie, news), as well as a very user friendly LED display. The display is an especially useful feature as it makes selecting the different modes and tuning the listening experience a breeze. The included remote control has all of the usual buttons, as well as five individual buttons dedicated to each equalizer setting that allows the user to quickly switch between modes at the press of a button instead of having to cycle through all of the settings as seen in other models. The Bluetooth connectivity was very stable when connected to my Samsung Galaxy Note 10, and as advertised. I heard no hissing or sound delay when listening to both music and a podcast through the soundbar. The subwoofer itself is certainly on the small side (11.81 in tall), which leads to a lack of punch and rumble coming out of the unit. The bass was certainly present and pleasurable but lacked the wallop true audiophiles usually look for from their subwoofer.
Listening TestsStar Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
After the disappointing experience I had watching this one in theaters, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch my own Blu-Ray copy until the Tapio V gave me the perfect excuse to do so. Say what you want about the sequel trilogy, but you can’t deny the sound design and scores for these movies are always a treat for someone who enjoys the audio experience offered by science fiction films. From the odd intonation of Kylo Ren's masked voice to the whirring and crackling of the galaxy’s most famous weapon, all the way to the whispers of the late Carrie Fisher, the Tapio V held its own considering the vast sound demands of the space opera. The dialogue was very crisp, and could easily be deciphered amongst the background noises of spacecraft taking off and landing. Chewy’s growls and yelps came out crystal clear, and were surprisingly room-filling coming from such a modest set-up. I would be lying if I said I could feel the base during the gun blasts and ship explosions, but it was certainly much better than what my TV alone offered and that might be a good thing for a bedroom setup, as too much bass would make it difficult to relax and fall asleep or that's the excuse my wife would give me.
ESPN/Netflix Documentary “The Last Dance”
Being a child of the 80s meant this one was full of nostalgia for me, and all of the dialogue recorded on 90s equipment as well as all of the deep voices from these giant athletes meant it would be a great test for the Tapio 5. Of all the tests that I put the system through, this was the one where it shined the brightest. All of the larger-than-life personalities came through beautifully in the audio, and I was very excited to hear the bass pumping nicely as the 90s hip-hop played in the background. I switched between the “News” and “Movie” settings a few times and noticed (as expected) that the former seemed to put the dialogue front and center and eliminated the need for subtitles, while the latter provided a more robust listening experience by providing a greater stage for the music. I could make an argument for either setting based on your personal preference, but the ease of the preset options is what I liked.
When I watched “The Last Dance” using just my TV audio, I had to blast the sound to make out much of the talking on-court over the crowd noise, only to then be shouted at by MJ’s narration. This problem was completely solved using the Tapio V, as it prevented the court talk from being drowned out which allowed me to listen at a far more reasonable volume without losing any dialogue. This test solidified my opinion that the Tapio V would be a wonderful choice for improving the sound in your bedroom, as it is a great step up without being too overwhelming in the bass department and does not take up much dresser/wall/floor space.
Bluetooth Connection to Spotify Music
Like other Bluetooth devices, the Tapio V was very easy to pair and connected immediately. I heard no hissing at all and there was no sound delay. The soundbar filled the room with music and would be a great choice for a party. The first song that played was “Fortunate Son” by Creedance Clearwater Revival, and the drumbeats and guitar rhythm came through very nicely. The bassline was a little lost but as I listened closer I started to make it out a little bit more. Switching to the “Music” setting almost made this a non-issue. Bomaker does seem to know what they are doing when it comes to tuning the different equalizer settings, which is very nice if you are not an experienced audiophile but still appreciate good sound mixing. I was not blown away immediately, but the more songs that I listened to through the setup, the more I was impressed with the sound dynamics coming from such an affordable system right out of the box.
Are there some drawbacks to a $100 soundbar and subwoofer? Of course, but the Bomaker Tapio V is a great option for those looking to improve their sound quality on a very tight budget. The ease of setup, preset options, and great sound quality for the price make this an ideal choice for a bedroom or college dorm where you may not necessarily watch a ton of movies or need an immersive sound stage, but still want clearer dialogue than your factory TV speakers and the ability to listen at reasonable volumes without much loss. We would have liked to have had more bass, but again, you have to look at this through a $100 lens. The ability to turn this into a Blutooth speaker is a plus. If we looked at it strictly as a wireless speaker system it's not a bad deal at $100. Maybe next years model will come with an optional battery to make this a truly portable speaker/soundbar.
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