Excerpt: Why shouldn’t respectability and innovation be on speaking terms? In loudspeakers, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Much of the recent audio innovation in home theater has come in products that are designed to complement flat-panel TVs. These products are morphing before our eyes—into soundbars, on-walls, and ever-smaller satellites. They are also moving beyond the standard five-speakers-and-sub configuration in their deployment of surround’s 5.1-channel array.
Excerpt: The soundbar concept has been with us a good few years now, pioneered by Polk and Yamaha in particular, but becoming more widespread as people realise that they like the idea of surround sound, but not the sometimes impractical requirements of five, six, seven or more speaker boxes stuffing every corner of the lounge with drivers. And the cables, don’t start. Of course you can hide speakers and cable in walls, subwoofers in corners.
Excerpt: A home cinema soundbar from a company that manages to make iPod docks look stylish, sound great and cost less than a fortune sounds like a great idea. See the B&W Panorama in the flesh, as it were, and it looks a great idea for those with flatscreens sized 40in and above. Peek at the price, however, and wonder if this is such a good idea after all. The stainless-steel cabinet is lustrous and agreeably swoopy.
Pros: Purposeful looks, quality of construction, startling low frequency presence – no need for a subwoofer, loud, dynamic sound
Cons: Unexpected holes in spec, given the price, bass can plod, midrange is coloured, doesn', t really surround
Conclusion: Eines ist sicher: Wer einen schicken Flachbildschirm sein Eigen nennt und Heimkino-Feeling sucht, dessen technische Umsetzung aber bitte so unauffällig wie möglich und nur so aufwendig wie nötig sein soll, der ist mit B&Ws Panorama bestens bedient. Für ordentlichen Heimkinospaß braucht man wirklich nicht mehr – aber auch nicht weniger.