|Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20 Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Monday, 26 April 2010|
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At my home we're fighting clutter, which means taking a hard look at the stuff my wife and I have accumulated over our 40-plus years each and giving away what we no longer use. And that's quite a lot. There's something freeing about clearing out space and opening a room to feng shui it or you never knew. I also like the idea of passing something on that will be appreciated and used actively by others.
My collection of media is largely audio-related, but I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated room to house yards of records, compact discs and vintage and newer audio gear. The living room, however, is another matter. It's cozy and smallish, with enough room for a TV stand and side speakers at most. There's too much furniture and two dogs to make a 5.1 or bigger system feasible, so a virtual surround soundbar system is a good compromise. Such a setup offers an improved sound experience for movies, yet doesn't send webs of wires across the space.
The 6-inch down-firing subwoofer can be moved with ease, and its placement is limited only by the proximity of a power outlet. Boston Acoustics recommends keeping the sub within 15 feet of the soundbar, near a corner and on the same side of the room of the soundbar, which makes sense, particularly since the two speakers must work together to generate some simile of surround sound. The two make an easy-to-connect and use 2.1 system. Like so many home theater products, the Model 20 comes in black only.
The 20 offers quick setup, with just one pair of line-level inputs and a power cord. Boston supplies the RCA cables, which can be connected directly to a TV's line-level outputs. You can then use your TV's existing remote to control the Model 20, using the soundbar's Learning Function. In a couple steps, the soundbar integrates with the remote providing control over volume and muting. Once powered up, the soundbar and subwoofer automatically establish a wireless connection.
For perspective, it's important to remember that the Model 20 is not a surround unit; rather, think of it as an upgrade to an existing two-channel system – i.e., the crappy speakers built in to your existing TV set – with the added sonic boom of a subwoofer.
The Model 20 impressed me most playing back sports and movies with big soundtracks. 2010's NCAA men's basketball tournament was one for the ages, eventually pinning little-known Butler against perennial powerhouse Duke. That final game was just one piece of a remarkable puzzle, and I enjoyed the event even more as the sounds of collegiate hoops ran through my living room. The Model 20 brought out the bounce in the ball, the squeak of sneakers on wood and the between-play antics of numerous bands blasting horns and pounding drums to support their respective teams. The soundbar provides the sizzle while the sub gives it a beating heart. It's lively and immediate but falls short of re-creating the holographic-like sound images of a true surround setup. That's not a criticism, just an expected shortcoming of the design.