An affordable upgrade to any TV, the Blitzwolf soundbar sounds great has all the inputs you could ever need. You won't find better value.
The problem with flatscreen TVs is that they’re so thin there’s just nowhere left to put a decent speaker. They look great, but sound horrendous. That’s why you need a soundbar. But if you’ve blown your budget on the TV already, what are you to do? Blitzwolf has the answer. The BW-SDB1 is a $100 soundbar that adds a massive sound quality upgrade at a budget friendly price.
Let’s take a closer look, and at the end of this review we’ve got one to giveaway. We’ve also got an exclusive coupon code to get 30% off the retail price until 4th July!
What’s In The Box?
Inside you’ll find:
- The BW-SDB1 soundbar
- DC power adaptor
- TOSLink optical cable
- Stereo RCA to 3.5mm AUX cable
- Remote control
- Available on Amazon or Banggood.
The Blitzwolf BW-SDB1 is likely to be your first soundbar, so the inclusion of an optical cable is much appreciated. This is the most likely connection method you’ll use to connect it up to your TV, yet some soundbars don’t include one and it isn’t the sort of thing most people will have lying around. I have five boxes of cables in my office, and not one of them contains an optical cable.
The stereo RCA to 3.5mm AUX cable is far more common, but still useful as a generic fallback for your TV or other component that doesn’t have an optical port.
Design and Specifications
Size isn’t everything, but this thing is a rather satisfying 36 inches long. If you imagine the largest Bluetooth speaker you can, then lay 6 of them end to end, that’s about what this is. However, there is no battery inside the BW-SDB1: this is all speaker. The unit is 1.7 inches high, 3.4 inches deep, and weighs just under 4lbs.
A discreet Blitzwolf logo sits on one end, with most of the body covered in aluminium alloy black grills, or glossy black plastic. While it’s not the height of modern design, it’s supposed to discreetly sit beneath glossy plastic TVs–and that it does well. I’m not a fan of metal speaker grills in general though. If you handle it too much, things will inevitably get stuck in there.
As we all know: it’s how you use it that counts. You’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to things you can plug in. Around the back you’ll find a great collection of ports: USB, COAX, 3.5mm AUX, as well as TOSLink optical and HDMI ARC (input only). What is HDMI ARC? It’s a little addition to the HDMI standard that creates an Audio Return Channel. Essentially, you plug the HDMI ARC out from your TV into your soundbar. Some soundbars also offer HDMI ARC input and output, in which case your source input can go to your soundbar first, then to your TV. HDMI ARC supports stereo and compressed 5.1 surround, but not uncompressed 5.1 or 7.1, which is probably one of the reasons it’s not more widely known or used.
On top of that, Bluetooth 4.2 offers wireless connectivity to your mobile and other devices.
The included slimline black remote is simple, elegant, and gets the job done. It switches the power, adjusts volume volume, controls playback, and has individual buttons for every source input. An EQ button also cycles through the built-in equalizer settings: news, sports, movies, music, and flat.
On the device itself, controls are sparse. There’s a power button, volume controls, and a single source select button to cycle through.
You won’t need to power on or off the device when used as a standard soundbar though. When connected to a TV, it should do this automatically. There’s also an automatic shut off if no other input is detected.
How Does it Sound?
Rather good, actually.
60W total output is provided, from 6 full range drivers and 2 diaphragm tweeters. It can get loud; really loud, with little distortion. Understandably, the sound is concentrated at the front of the device, and that’s the only place you’ll get the correct stereo effect.
I did have some hissy audio at times over the Bluetooth connection, but I suspect that was the source material and cheap laptop rather than the speaker itself. Sadly, upgrading your speakers tends to expose bad quality audio that would otherwise be masked through the tinny laptop built-in speakers. Music from my iPhone sounded fantastic: reasonable bass and good dynamic range. I couldn’t whack it up to full volume, it was so loud. Movie watching and live TV was a significant upgrade over the TV output.
I also tried the soundbar out in a variety of situations, not just for the TV. A versatile device that can be used for other purposes adds a lot of value for me. Though the shape could be seen as awkward, it worked great as the sole audio source for a kid’s birthday party. Nestled neatly alongside a bouncy castle, it boomed out horrible kiddy pop for the whole garden. The long flat design also lends itself well to sliding under low bed frames, discreetly on top of cupboards or shelving, or anywhere that a traditional blocky speaker cabinet isn’t going to work. In short, outside of the intended soundbar use, it’s also a great mid-range option between a tiny Bluetooth speaker and something absurdly large. Just bear in mind you’ll want to be directly in front of it for the best audio.
The fact it has multiple inputs alleviates the usual adaptor dance. If you’re constantly moving things around and reconfiguring rooms to try out new gadgets, you’ll really appreciate not having to worry if you have the right cable or not. For those making their first ever soundbar purchase, the inclusion of a TOSLink cable to get it hooked up straight away is welcome.
Should You Buy the Blitzwolf SDB1?
The Blitzwolf soundbar isn’t going to rival a $500-$1000 surround sound setup for your home cinema, clearly. The bass output isn’t as good as a $200 Sonos One, either. But then, it’s half the price, with stereo sound and a range of connectivity options, in a neat soundbar package. It does sound a whole lot better than your TV speakers, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t do it justice either: it sounds really great, period.
For $100, it’s fantastic value and will be more than good enough for most people. However, if you do want thumping bass, you may want to save up for something with a separate subwoofer. A budget soundbar with separate subwoofer will cost around $200.
This is Blitzwolf’s first foray into big audio devices, and I’m impressed. I can’t wait to see where else they go from here.
30% Off Coupon Until 4th July!
We’re giving away a Blitzwolf BW-SDB1 to one lucky reader, but if you can’t wait, we’ve blagged a bargain for you. For a limited time, Blitzwolf have offered an exclusive coupon to grab the soundbar at 30% off the normal price on Amazon. Just use the coupon code 30GYJ7XC at checkout.