We approach the LG NB4530A soundbar with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The LG’s feature count looks mightily impressive, but it’s just 35mm deep, and you do wonder if it’s possible to replace the poor sound of super-slim flatscreen TVs with good sound from such a super-slim soundbar.
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And sure enough, listening to this LG NB4530A we’re amazed at how something so slender (also note the soundbar’s chassis is only 75mm tall) can sound so good.
Given its waif-like dimensions, this soundbar manages to create a broad soundstage. Leaving out the 3D surround mode, which doesn’t quite deliver, the LG NB4530A still gives effects a decent reach over the horizontal and vertical. (We'd advise you spend more for the Yamaha YSP-5100 if you want the best surround sound we've heard from a soundbar.)
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During The Amazing Spiderman, as our hero does battle with The Lizard on Williamsburg Bridge, the action comes thick and fast – cars bump and crash without any brightness or harshness.
Crank up the volume and the LG soundbar handles things extremely well. It sounds a touch closed in and boxy, but still manages to deliver the punishing climax of the film with gusto.
The wireless subwoofer gels seamlessly with the soundbar – there’s no lag, and you’re not subject to unruly bass notes whether you are watching movies or listening to music wired through the system’s HDMI input or wirelessly over Bluetooth.
As is becoming the norm for such systems, you’re given all manner of additional sound modes to choose from. The natural mode delivers a smoother, artificially refined sound. Bass Blast, unsurprisingly, gives lower frequencies a boost although we found this overstates lows a little too much.
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There’s also a gaming setting, one for late night listening and another which claims to upsample MP3s when fed through it. In the end though, we settled for ‘Bypass’ which turns off all equalization, and in our opinion makes for the clearest, most balanced sound.
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The HDMI input is ARC – Audio Return Channel – enabled so you can feed the unit sound from a compatible TV’s HDMI input. The LG NB4530A is also equipped with an optical input, 3.5mm socket and a USB 2.0 connection, with the USB designed to play back music (WMA and MP3) from a pocket USB drive.
The bar can decode vanilla Dolby Digital and DTS – any high-definition formats fed through the LG’s HDMI input are simply downsampled, while it can also pass-through a 3D picture should you wish.
LG has even managed to squeeze in an LCD display large enough for the white-on-black characters to stand out well. Using the accompanying remote it’s easy to switch inputs, alter volume settings and experiment with the different sound modes as it’s all lit up for you to see what you’re doing.