Get ready to give your TV sound a boost… but forget the pseudo-surround approach.
Soundbars are all the rage these days. With TVs getting thinner, there's simply less room to squeeze in decent sound and so more and more of us are investing in soundbars to pair with new TVs.
Arcam is hoping to capitalise on this trend with its new £800 Arcam Solo soundbar, offering traditional Arcam build quality and audio expertise, but losing the usual "Soviet-designed metal box in grey" look for something more curvacious, a little like a high-tech audio suppository. It'd make a decent pairing with something like this in fact.
We got ears-on with it at the launch and were blown away by the performance of the Solo when paired with its optional 300 watt, downward firing 10-inch subwoofer. Music had both precision and presence, while a notably noisy scene from Tom Cruise sci-fi vehicle Oblivion rendered explosions, gunfire and soundtrack wub-wub noises expertly, but with the dialogue still punching through rather than being buried alive under a heap of sound FX and sub-bass.
Without the sub, performance was still strong though, and we probably don't need to tell you this, not as bassy. There was still a decent degree of heft.
Premium materials and build quality have been incorporated to prevent and dispel resonance, which can colour and distort the sound of products like this. The Solo bar offers decoding of all current HD audio formats to help try to ensure that no sonic detail is lost, and it's also Apt-X Bluetooth compatible so you can play music from your mobile with ease.
The Solo soundbar features six drive units and 100 watts of power, with bass, mid-range and high-frequency drivers flanking the clear central display, the bass and mid-range receiving 40w and the high-frequency tweeter 10w. Arcam says the tweeters are angled out by 5 degrees "to create a greater dispersion into the room."
This is as far downt he path of psychoacoustic tricks as the box goes, mind: this is strictly stereo only. Arcam Managing Director Charlie Brennan told us, when not chugging Champers and regalign us with off-colour anecdotes about Fleet Street and near electrocutions, "You can try to build too much into these things and you end up wrecking the sound."
Pricing? It's £800 for the Solo and £500 for the Solo sub, which can be connected wirelessly or wired to the bar. We'd recommend the pair unless your front room is quite small. More info: HERE.