We can’t help pointing out the mundane appearance of the Boston Acoustics TVee 26. It’s a black box with another black box as a companion.
Take the package home and it might look as if your living room is being censored.
Still, this approach will suit those looking for something understated. After all, you may not always want your kit to catch your attention.
The TVee 26 is smaller than the average soundbar – no wider than a 40in TV. And a height of 8cm means it’s unlikely to block off a set’s infrared receiver.
That small stature, though, means it has to use an external subwoofer to boost bass.
While most soundbar subwoofers we’ve seen are tall, slim and rectangular, Boston Acoustics has gone for the upturned-bucket approach. We’re not convinced it’s any less discreet.
It is wireless, however, which makes it easier to position (or hide).
The bottom-right of the soundbar’s front panel has a handful of touch controls. Around the back are two 3.5mm analogue inputs and one digital optical input. But that’s your lot: no HDMI and no Bluetooth.
At this point we notice there’s another reason for the soundbar’s small size: the mains block is external.
We’re not so keen on adding another brick to the back of our system. Other luxuries include a card-type remote control that would fit in a Christmas cracker.
So it’s a humdrum design, but does the sound balance things out a bit? To a degree, yes it does.
Once the soundbar and subwoofer shake hands wirelessly (it’s automatic), there’s a good level of integration.
Unless you specifically listen out for it, you’re unlikely to hear two components working separately.
The sound is smaller than with many of the others in this test, but that’s to be expected given the size of the bar. It’s certainly no match for the room-filling sound of the Philips or JBL here.
That said, it sounds wider than most flat-screen TVs we’ve heard – and is capable of getting much louder without distorting.
The virtual surround mode is decent: it spreads the sound out well without trading off too much subtlety.
Elsewhere, it’s a fairly balanced presentation with no part of the frequency range hogging your attention. We’re happy with the midrange: it’s clear and solid, and voices are handled nicely. Bass is deep and fairly articulate.
The top end demonstrates a trace of hardness, however, which doesn’t quite disappear over a weekend of running in. We could also do with slightly stronger dynamics.
Explosions in Man Of Steel (of which there are many) don’t quite grab your attention as much as they should. It’s fine for less exaggerated shows, however.
Watch Jeremy Kyle and there’s plenty of bite to all the bickering therein.
The TVee 26 is a mixed bag, then, sounding better than it looks.
It’s not a room-shaking experience, but if you want something to support normal TV-viewing, this will do nicely.