The LG NB3530A finds itself in an unfortunate position. The last two LG soundbars we’ve seen earned five-star ratings.
One of them, the Award-winning NB4530A, is the big brother to today’s candidate. No pressure…
The glossy black casework is a good start. And while some manufacturers prefer to hide the drivers behind cloth or metal grilles, LG has chosen to flaunt its assets.
Put it next to more subdued rivals such as the Boston Acoustics TVee 26 and the LG looks positively striking.
It also benefits from a slim body, thanks to its partnering wireless subwoofer, and this allows for flexibility in positioning.
We found it low enough not to obstruct our TV’s infrared receiver, so there may be no need for wall-mounting or spare shelves.
And set-up is easy. As long as you have the soundbar and subwoofer plugged in within a reasonable distance, they will pair up automatically.
There’s a line of touch controls on the face of the main unit. These sit above a small display, used for basic information such as the selected input.
It’s basic, but appreciated nonetheless. Below this is a USB port for playing MP3 and WMA files from memory sticks.
A peek at the back shows a basic three inputs: one 3.5mm and two digital optical. That’s all the hard wiring you’ll get.
Wirelessly, there’s Bluetooth and Sound Sync – a feature that lets you beam sound from an LG TV.
We’re happy with the remote control. This is a big deal considering the number of soundbars shipping with flimsy credit-card jobs.
Here you get a proper handset. Aside from volume controls, you can also mess with woofer levels and lip synchronisation. Lovely.
And the LG NB3530A is a very good soundbar, although not quite at the top of the class.
There’s good integration between bar and sub, and you never feel as if you’re listing to two distinct entities.
The sense of scale is decent and the sound pumped out is easily bigger than that of the average flat screen.
The unit’s greatest strength lies in its direct presentation. This is an agile performer, keeping up with rapid Sherlock rants as well as with John Frusciante’s riffs. It makes for an engaging listen.
Downsides: it’s a little thinner than we’d like and the bass feels a touch tubby. Watch anything with gunshots and there’s not as much impact as there might be.
It’s not a big issue, however – there’s decent weight to the midrange, and speech is solid.
There’s a good offering of sound-effect modes too: ‘Bass Boost’, ‘Clear Voice’, ‘Game’, ‘Night’, ‘Upscaler’, ‘Loudness’, ‘Natural’ and ‘3D Surround’. It’s worth playing around, but we don’t feel they add much.
The LG NB3530A does the job, and does it well. It looks great, sounds very good and there are some nice features.
There are strong rivals, however, and this LG can’t quite stand out from the pack.