Perhaps you’ve already read the lengthy article devoted to the topic of Soundbars from a while ago: from a generally speaking perspective and also focusing on two specifc models: B&W Panorama 2 and Focal Dimension. Now we‘d like to introduce an exciting alternative into this category, which also sounds very convincing and features diverse tweaking possibilities: The Monitor Audio ASB–2 Soundbar.
An overview of the Monitor Audio ASB-2
On the issue of placement, the ASB-2 has a remedy on hand in case a TV stand is not in the picture. The supplied silicone mat ensures stability and a certain decoupling of the support surface. Moreover, there is, in spite of the impressive weight, the possibility to mount the ASB-2 on the wall. A corresponding device is available as an option.
Service Modes of the ASB-2
Also quite remarkable is the function entitled “3D” behind the next button. Because even though the speaker set-up suggests a more traditional stereo playback, the ASB-2 is is enabled by the internal DSP is quite capable something like surround sound. To distinguish, basically there are two processing variants, the access depending on the input signal. A fitting stereo signal is naturally reproduced unedited with deactivated 3D function. Activating the DSP stereo stage is artificially widened. From a 5.1 signal can be heard mixed signal when switched 3D function only one of four channels (Centre, Left, Right, Subwoofer). Are the internal working actively algorithms, so here the stereo stage will also be widened. Moreover, now the two surround channels, the centre and the subwoofer channel are treated as virtual channels and mixed thereto. You can also separately regulate the volume.
These and other tonal adjustments – strength of the surround effect, three-band EQ to process the overall sound, etc. – are displayed via the rudimentary though clearly structured screen menu. Monitor Audio has really many opportunities created the sound to shape the spatial conditions and personal preferences and the other menu items are proof that here someone has given some thought. So the ASB-2 during periods of inactivity switches in to the stand-by mode. How long the time frame should be and whether the Soundbar HDMI signals even in stand-by mode, can be adjusted with a few steps. Another example is the dimming or completely switched off LED on the front that could well distract from the action on the screen in particular in dark surroundings.
The sound can convince on its own, and even without the ASB-2’s external subwoofer. Movie soundtracks sound rich and full, the typical sound effects with good bass fill the space without being uncontrolled. In terms of speech intelligibility there is nothing to complain about, higher frequencies are represented overall precisely and vividly. According to the Hifi background of Monitor Audio, there is room to move with the streaming functions and listen to music through the ASB–2. In this case, the internal DSP, however, should remain rather disabled while in movie soundtracks, the recommendation is exactly the opposite.
As for any other Soundbar, it is also true for the Monitor Audio ASB–2, that it can even replace a complex multi-channel set-up completely or a high-quality stereo system. In this context, what we are able to make from Soundbars is demonstrated with the ASB–2 but in such a way that is currently above and beyond. Looking for the right Soundbar for the flat screen TV at home, the ASB–2 should be considered. Come and give it a test drive in the showroom!
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