Logic3 Soundstage 5.1 review

We audition a pseudo-surround system for those on a budget

TechRadar Verdict

A basic solution for beefing up TV audio, but there's no way this can be described as surround sound


  • +

    FM tuner

  • +

    Simple installation

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    Adds to fast-food beef to cheap TV speakers


  • -

    Unconvincing surround effect

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    No Dolby or DTS decoding

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    No OSD

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Logic3 made its fortune first from video game accessories, then iPod accessories, so a 5.1 cinema system may seem like something of a departure.

But with flatscreen sales continuing to soar, you can understand why Logic3 is keen to accessorize those as well.

The concept is now familiar. Soundstage 5.1 is designed to hang on the wall below your TV, reducing your speaker system to a single unit and delivering pseudo-surround, using fifteen drivers and some tricksy audio processing.

Yes, it does look a bit like the Yamaha YSP-800 'soundbar' doesn't it, but don't be fooled...

Sophisticated styling

The styling is slick, with a piano black finish and smooth corners, and it weighs a bracket-testing 18kg, so it feels like you're getting a lot for your money. The functionality is more basic than the Yamaha alternative, though, which goes some way to explaining the disparity in price.

There are four digital inputs and a pair of phono sockets for the TV itself. Select any one of these sources and it'll use SRS silicon to split the sound into a kind of multichannel. An FM tuner is built in.

It's certainly a practical alternative to anyone that can't fit, or isn't allowed, a full set of speakers. Just screw this to the wall flush with your TV - brackets, screws, etc are supplied - and you have a centralised sound system.

There's no onscreen display, but you really don't need one thanks to the easy-to-use remote. It'll make a reasonable fist of your music collection, too. Just feed one of the digital inputs with a CD deck and switch it into stereo.

The volume level and dispersion are definitely better than your TV could manage - but this isn't actually hi-fi. Bass is slow and shallow; basslines wallow instead of thump. There's enough treble detail, but the mid-range lacks expression.

Unconvincing surround

The trouble is, the Soundstage 5.1 isn't really home cinema either. The absence of a Dolby logo gives the game away. What you're hearing in '5.1' mode is simply a delay effect that attempts to place some audio behind you, and it doesn't work.

The pseudo-surround effect adds some depth to Blade Runner's atmospheric soundtrack, making the Vangelis musical score swell a little more, but it doesn't ever sound like there are speakers behind you.

In fact the SRS processing causes dialogue to sound synthetic and less natural than in stereo mode, so you may ultimately find yourself switching it off.

Budget audio

Will this make your telly sound better? Yes, probably - if you have a cheap telly. Is this home cinema? Hardly.

SoundScape 5.1 is built to a budget that precludes Dolby and DTS decoding and frankly, its surround processing is rubbish.

It might serve as a functional stereophonic TV upgrade, but there are better solutions available.

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