BlitzWolf BW-SDB1 2.0 Channel Wireless Sound Bar Review
You just bought a brand new television and the sound quality isn't what you expected so what do you do? You get a sound bar of course! The problem with television speakers is that they simply get the job done. They often don't deliver the louder, fuller, and richer sound one desires especially for the movie watching experience.
Luckily, this is where the BlitzWolf BW-SDB1 sound bar comes to the rescue. For the past few weeks, I have been testing out this sound bar. I have an existing Sony TV and it comes with a smaller sound bar that has been used for experience. Whether you have an existing sound bar or not, today we will figure out if it is ultimately worth the money.
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35.4 x 23.4 x 1.7 inches
AC 100V - 200V, 50 - 60 Hz
Audio Input Sensitivity
40Hz - 20 KHz
6 Speakers, 2 Diaphragms
Let's start off with the box. The length of the speaker is 36 inches so the box is just slightly bigger than that. While the width is 3.4 inches, the actual box is a tad over than 5 inches. The reason is because the styrofoam rings are wrapped around the speaker inside the box. This way, it provides a bit of shock absorption against any drops or bumps. The cables and instructions manual are neatly stored in one end of the box.
Here is a quick look at the side view. I am not a fan of the labelling on the side view. It might be a bit difficult to see, but the icons lack consistency. The icons the range from features to connectivity to box contents. I personally do not like this. Either keep it as various methods of connectivity or box contents. I think having a mix of both could lead to a bit of confusion.
After opening up the box, you will find the speaker nicely wrapped. Then you have a little white box which houses the various cords. On both ends of the speaker, that is where the styrofoam ring will go in order to protect the speaker and align it in the box. I did not include the styrofoam in the picture because it was an unnecessary detail. All I can say is, the packaging is well protected and there isn't much to worry about during shipping.
Let's take a quick look at the cables they've included. Firstly, the power cable is a must to power on the sound bar. Admittedly, I did not actually measure the length of this cable, but I am confident that it will have no problem reaching your power strip placement.
The next cable is the RCA to 3.5mm audio cable. Along with this audio cable is the optical cable. Naturally, you should use the optical cable instead of the RCA whenever possible. Either the HDMI or optical will get the job done in delivering a much better sound. The optical cable supports up to 7.1 channels for high resolution audio. Whether you wish to use your own HDMI cable or one of the included cables, I'm glad BlitzWolf offers this flexibility.
I will outline the benefit of this further in-depth once we take a closer look at the remote. All I would like to say for now is that BlitzWolf has done the perfect job providing multiple connectivity options.
Sound Bar: Back
The array of ports on the back follows the same inputs as previously specified. One new addition what you'll notice here is the USB. The one additional connectivity options is Bluetooth. What's amazing about this feature is that this adds versatility to the sound bar.
While a sound bar is typically connected to the television, it is possible to use this as a standalone speaker thanks to the connectivity options. I am speaking of Bluetooth. When I tested this speaker initially, I used Bluetooth. This is very useful in my opinion. Say you have the speaker in the living room, you can change the source to optical/HDMI when you want to use it alongside your television. However, you can toggle it over to Bluetooth if you just want music playing in the background.
Sound Bar: Controls
The button controls are very straight forward and also a little confusing at times to be honest. The power button and the volume toggles are very straight forward. The "source" button switches between the various input modes. The problem I had the most with this its ability to figure out what input it is on. Unless you reference the little manual every time, it often becomes a trial and error process of keeping hitting the "source" button to figure out which connectivity mode it is on. Since I've been using Bluetooth quite a bit, I know that the blue light corresponds to that. Luckily for you, there is a remote handy to simplify this process.
Sound Bar: Logo
Continuing with our analysis of the sound bar areas, we move on to the logo. I personally don't like this marking where it is. It loses the sleek all black and symmetrical look of the sound bar. based of their graphics of the internal speaker placement, I do have a slight concern of whether this little metal trinket potentially blocks the sound. This concern is 99% unwarranted, but it's a personal asymmetrical frustration that I think majority of the readers will not share. I personally still think BlitzWolf could've re-located this logo on the back or keep it off completely.
Sound Bar: Base
Same on both sides, you have this rubber base to prevent the sound bar from sliding around not that it is likely for it to. So far, I have no complaints about this. The rubber base will slightly lose its effectiveness if you put it on a dusty surface so definitely be sure to wipe down the surface where you plan on putting this sound bar at.
Let's start off with what I dislike about this remote. It uses a button cell battery. I try to use rechargeable batteries when I can. Even if we don't consider rechargeable batteries, replacing an AAA or AA battery will be much easier and cheaper than a button cell. I can understand why BlitzWolf chose the button cell and that is to reduce the overall form factor of the remote. Nevertheless, the remote is a pretty low energy device so it will last a good while on one battery.
Here's what I do like about this remote. Each button is a dedicated input method. This makes switching between the connectivity options much easier than trying to cycle through them using the "source" button. I would recommend using the remote whenever possible to save yourself the trouble of trying to figure out navigating the sound bar.
As for the remote itself, the buttons are very tactile and isolated. This is typically a good sign as it means they are very responsive and they absolutely are. BlitzWolf definitely did not cheap out on the remote. I really hope BlitzWolf will use a more common battery for any upcoming sound bars.
This is probably the most difficult aspect to review. I'd like to draw to some aspects in my earlier review of the BlitzWolf BW-AS1 portable speaker. In that review, I mentioned that BlitzWolf upped the bass so it sounds a little bit unnatural. It can sound better for music playback, but not necessarily for audio.
Similar to that experience, the bass on the sound bar is stronger. Unlike the portable speaker, I believe this is a good thing. The bass is more beneficial to a movie watching experience especially if you're a fan of action films. In my opinion, the boosted bass makes movie soundtracks fuller and punchier. If you were to watch a movie like the Pirates of the Caribbean or any of the Fast and Furious franchise, the sound track would definitely sound amazing when you use the sound bar instead of your television's built-in speakers. However, not all movies are like this. If it has a lot of audio, the speaker would unnecessary add bass to voice audio. I personally dislike that effect, but this depends on personal preference.
Is this sound bar a worthy upgrade? I definitely think so. It's a cheap and simple solution to upgrading your television experience. If you tend to watch a lot of movies, then having this sound bar with this boosted bass will definitely benefit from the sound quality. While I don't have much experience with other sound bars other than my Sony, I really like the connectivity options especially since it is equipped with Bluetooth.
Over on maximum or near maximum volume, the speakers are able to hold up. There isn't any sign of distortion and the sound quality and integrity is maintained. For the price, this sound bar met my expectations and even performed better than expected. I typically expect distortion when cranking up the volume, but this definitely isn't the case.
To reiterate, my only dislike is probably the battery type for the remote. I can stand the boosted bass especially because it is used more for movie playback instead of audio. Overall, it is a worthy buy.