As we all know, movies and music should ideally be enjoyed in the living room with a proper surround sound system. There is nothing like the feeling of having the movie unfold on the screen while sound fills the room around you. However, for many of us, having speakers placed throughout the living room is just impractical.
The best way to solve the problem of replacing measly TV speakers without having to install speakers and lay wires around your living room is to opt for a sound bar. While they do not provide the depth of a full surround sound system, a good sound bar can come incredibly close, while taking up a fraction of the space.
Today, we are looking a sound bar from Boston Acoustics called the TVee Model 30. This is one of the higher models in their product line, so my expectations were very high. Is it easy to use? How is the sound quality? Does it rival a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system? Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these questions and more.
Best of all, we are giving one away to a lucky reader. Read on to the end to find out how to enter the contest!
Introducing the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30
Boston Acoustics is a company that specializes in making audio products. The company makes a number of sound bars at varying price points and the TVee Model 30 is considered an upper-middle range product, with an MSRP of $699. However, at the time of writing, Amazon is currently offering it for about $350.
A key difference between the TVee Model 30 and many other sound bars on the market is the fact that it’s a 3.1 system. This means that in addition to left and right audio channels, it also supports a dedicated center channel.
The Tvee Model 30 packs 300 watts of peak power, delivered by the three 3.5-inch Fiber Ceramic Copolymer Material (FCCM) mid-bass drivers and three 0.75-inch tweeters. The dedicated tweeters allow the soundbar to make the most of high notes. It also has a 7-inch FCCM subwoofer, which is not the biggest around, but offers plenty of deep bass for both movies and music.
- 300 watts peak power
- 3 x 3.5-inch FCCM woofers (mid-bass drivers)
- 3 x 0.75-inch tweeters
- 7″ wireless FCCM subwoofer
- Inputs: 1 x optical audio, 1 x RCA audio, 1 x 3.5mm jack
- Sound bar dimensions: 146 x 966 x 80 mm
- Subwoofer dimensions: 364 x 160 x 395 mm
The sound bar market is very competitive, with companies like Samsung, Sony, Vizio, Sonos, and plenty others, offering products at a similar price point. One of the sound bars I considered was Samsung’s HW-F550 sound bar ($449). However, the Samsung HW-F550 only supports 2.1 audio channels, while the TVee Model 30 comes with a dedicated center channel. At around the same price point, the $299 Sony HT-CT550W sports 400W of power with pretty much the same gear, but again, it only supports 2.1 audio. There are plenty of options out there, so for the TVee Model 30 to stand out, it has to be good.
The first thing I noticed about when the TVee Model 30 was delivered was its massive box. Upon opening it, I realized that much of the space was wasted, but everything I needed to get the sound bar up and running was in the box.
The sound bar and subwoofer were both wrapped up securely. The metal grate for the sound bar was contained in a separate piece of cardboard, as were all the cables. Speaking of cables, the TVee Model 30 was shipped with an optical and standard RCA cable for hooking the sound bar to the television, which means you don’t have to buy any additional cables to enjoy the sound bar.
The instructions included were easy to follow, and with their help, I was able to hook to device to my TV in just a couple of minutes, which was nice, because one of the main benefits of a sound bar, compared to a full 5.1 system, is the ease of use.
The sound bar itself is 146 mm tall, 966 mms wide and 80 mm deep. The subwoofer is 364 by 160 by 395 mm. The wireless subwoofer was small enough to be wedged between my couch and end table, where it is out of the way. The sound bar is big enough to not look out of place with my 55-inch TV, and should look great as long as you own a 42-inch TV or larger.
Both the sound bar and subwoofer are fairly heavy, and feel very well-built. Of course, this is not a product you are going to be moving around a whole lot, so durability should not be much of an issue. If something does go wrong, Boston Acoustics offers a one-year warranty to fall back on.
Setting It Up
Hooking the sound bar to my TV was incredibly easy. I simply plugged the power cable into the sound bar and subwoofer, set the wireless channel on each of them to the same channel, connected one end of the optical audio cable to my TV and the other end to the sound bar; and it was good to go. Between taking everything out from the box and hooking everything up, the process took no more than ten minutes, which certainly made me happy.
From there, I linked the sound bar to my remote. The TVee Model 30 does not include a dedicated remote, and as such, it makes it easy to use it with any standard TV remote. It is able to learn the signal from your existing remote controller and use that to control the volume, input and any other buttons you wish to route to the sound bar itself. It comes with a giant instructional sheet dedicated to teaching you this process, and it took about ten seconds to get going.
The last piece of the puzzle was connecting my iPhone to the soundbar using Bluetooth. Again, this process was quick and easy.
Notice a theme here? That’s right, “easy” is a term used over and over, and with good reason. Boston Acoustics went out of their way to ensure that the setup process is as simple as possible.
How Does It Sound?
Since I have a PC hooked up to my living room TV, the first thing I did was jump onto YouTube and load up a video with a lot of bass. I ended up going with “First of the Year (Equinox)” by Skrillex. It has some serious bass notes, and it made for a good way to hear just how much the subwoofer pounds. I must say, I was impressed. While the bass is powerful, it never distorted, even at a volume loud enough to make my neighbors bang on the wall with annoyance.
From there, I booted up my Xbox, launched HBO Go, and watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones. Boy, was I impressed. Right from the iconic Game of Thrones theme song, I knew the TVee Model 30 was going to make watching the show a much more enjoyable experience. It adds a great deal of depth that TV speakers just cannot match.
One gripe with this particular model arises from Bluetooth connectivity. The receiver is behind the metal mesh, and because of that, the connection range is abysmal. I do not have a big living room, and as soon as I walked to the doorway, which is about eight feet from the sound bar, the music cut out. Of course, it’s easy enough to leave my iPhone close to the soundbar, but it’s still quite annoying. Generally, Bluetooth offers a range of about 15 feet, so this is definitely below average.
Range aside, music sounds great, even over Bluetooth, as long as you stay close enough to the sound bar itself. If your device does not have Bluetooth, you can also use the 3.5 mm jack to plug your device in and listen to music.
Living with the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30
I’ve had the Model 30 hooked up to my TV for about two weeks now, and I must say that I love it. It works with every device hooked up to my TV without me having to switch inputs or do any extra work. I simply turn my TV on, switch to whatever input I want to watch, and enjoy infinitely better sound than my TV speakers could ever dream.
I’ve grown so accustomed to using the Model 30 that I almost forget it is there at all. It looks great on my TV stand, and as long as you have a dark stand, it will blend right in without being overpowering.
The subwoofer offers a great amount of bass, even after using it for a while. It has a knob for adjusting the bass level, so if you have nearby neighbors, you can lower the bass without having to sacrifice overall volume. This means you will have reach for the subwoofer if you wish to adjust the bass level, but for most users, this is not something you will be tweaking much. I’ve locked mine in about 3/4 of the way up, as it gives me the punch I want from my music and movies without being overpowering.
Should you buy it?
I would definitely recommend the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 to anyone looking for crisper, clearer, and more powerful sound. Of course, a true surround system will trump any sound bar — but for anyone looking to save money, effort, and space, the TVee Model 30 delivers the best sound I’ve heard in a sound bar, and I demoed quite a few at my local retailer.
The only real complaint I have is the aforementioned weak Bluetooth range. Aside from that, this is almost a perfect product in every detail from the sound quality to the look of the device itself.
How do I win the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30?
We have a new giveaway procedure in place, which will hopefully make participating much easier. You may enter using your Facebook credentials (which will require you to sign into Facebook) or by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning!
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 14th. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.