It's a first-world problem I know, but when you're matching one of the best soundbars to one of the best TVs you'll typically find that one is wider than the other. But a new pair of soundbars from PhaseTech solves that – and in the case of the new breed of giant TVs, should help make sure the breadth of the sound matches the width of the picture. (Via What Hi-Fi?)
The new PhaseTech VLS70-LCR and VLS100-LCR – the VLS stands for Variable Length Soundbar – are designed for TVs of 60 to 70 inches and TVs of 75 to 100 inches respectively, and you can adjust them to deliver the perfect match for your TV. The grille your soundbar comes with is pre-cut to match your specific model television (you inform the company of what you have before you buy), and then the speaker sections at each end of the soundbar can be slid left and right along their mounting rail to match the grille's size. Lock them in place, attach the grille and you're good to go.
Unlike most soundbars, these aren't standalone units with all their own processing and amplification – they're designed to act as the front, left and right speakers in a 5.1 to 7.2 surround system, connected to external amplification. They can simply be more compact than having three separate speaker units to achieve this, and this makes the sliding system extra useful – spacing the speakers out to the full width of the TV will help with the spatial positioning of sounds to follow what's on screen, as well as just keeping the audio of these three channels clearly separate.
VLS70-LCR and VLS100-LCR adjustable soundbars: key specifications
While the two different models are differently sized, they have the same specification: three passive speaker arrays with one in the center and one on either side. The arrays feature twin 3-inch ultra-long throw woofers, twin 3-inch bass radiators and a 3/4-inch silk/synthetic soft dome tweeter, and the enclosures are made from extruded aluminum. The firm says its Absolute Phase crossovers ensure that the speaker drivers are all in phase with one another and move in unison; both models are rated at 15 to 100W with impedance of 8 ohms and 90dB sensitivity.
Weight-wise you're looking at 22lbs for the smaller model and 24lbs for the larger, and wall mounts come in the package. Whichever one you go for, the soundbar is 2.875 inches deep, so it won't protrude too dramatically when wall-mounted, which is clearly the intention here. The standard color is black, but custom grille colors will be available to order too.
The VLS70-LCR and VLS100-LCR will both be available worldwide, and Sound & Vision says the price will be $1,875 (approx. £1,490 / AU$2,880) for the smaller model, and $2,125 (approx. £1,670 / AU$3,270) for the larger.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.