So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Price, Good directional qualities of speakers, Easy to set up and use
- Sluggish and booming subwoofer, No digital audio connections
A good budget offering from LG that will suit those wanting a decent 5.1 DVD system at a good price.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
For those wanting to enter the world of home theatre with a 5.1 DVD system at a competitive price, the LH-550SB is certainly worth a look. The sound and directional qualities of the speakers are very good, but we did find they were often overshadowed by the booming and sluggish subwoofer.
Aesthetically the LH-550SB reflects its price tag, offering a fairly plain but by no means unattractive package. For this price, we can forgive LG for not decking out this system like some of their more expensive set-ups, such as the LH-W750TA. There are four identical surround speakers, a centre speaker and a subwoofer in this package all running through a DVD player. The DVD player is on the large side for a home theatre system, and it houses basic DVD functions and as well as a rather flimsy volume knob. The remote is well laid out: sifting through menus and DVD scenes is fairly intuitive.
Setting up this package couldn't have been easier, and we had it up and running within about five minutes. A nice length of speaker wire is provided to connect all components to the DVD player. Then it was simply a case of playing around with positioning the speakers. Unfortunately, there is no speaker auto calibration function included, but the distance and volume of each speaker can be adjusted manually.
The DVD player has decent connections for this price point. We feel the set of composite, S-video and component video ports are adequate and will cater to most entry level home theatre purchasers, although we would have liked at least one optical audio option. The DVD player also includes a radio with 50 presets which is a nice addition to cater further to those wanting a home stereo replacement.
Being a 5.1 system, the obvious first test was with a variety of movies. Action scenes showed the true colours of the LH-550SB's speakers, and they delivered very well in this area. The directional qualities were good, with bullets, footsteps and cars panning around the room as they were intended. Our gripe, however, came with the overpowering and booming subwoofer that became the centrepiece of most sequences. The bass was broad and undefined often making musical moments sound a lot deeper and less lively than they normally would. We turned the volume of the subwoofer down to the lowest setting on many of our tests to attempt to rectify this problem, but still felt the throaty and coarse bass-lines did not mesh well with sound from the bright and vibrant speakers.
Testing on music was a similar story - high and mid ranges sounded impressive but didn't gel well with the coarse subwoofer. In saying this, some types of music such as hip-hop and heavy metal were quite suited to this big, booming bass and we found it rather enjoyable giving the building foundations a shake to the sounds of Eminem.
The DVD player can play JPEGs, MP3s and DIVX movies, with the intuitive menu display lending itself well to all of these functions. Dolby Digital, Pro Logic I and II and DTS sound processing are also catered for.
The LH-T550SB is a competent 5.1 home theatre package that delivers well in most areas, and is set at a very competitive price point. The sound and directional qualities of the speakers are particularly impressive, but the subwoofer leaves a little to be desired.
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