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Boston Acoustics Tvee Model 20 Review

Highs

  • Extremely easy to install and use
  • Solid Sound
  • Great bang for your buck

Rating

Our Score 8.5
User Score 0

Lows

  • Subwoofer is easily localized
  • Unnecessarily bright LED on sub
Boston Acoustics’ latest Tvee soundbar delivers a huge step up from built-in TV speakers without the expense and tangled wires of a surround setup.

Performance

Looking at the specs for the speakers inside the Tvee 20 soundbar, we found ourselves wondering how much better they would sound than our 37” LCD’s built in speakers. In theory, the controlled cabinet space and use of better quality drivers and more powerful amplifiers could make for better sound, but did Boston Acoustics put that much into the soundbar or does this system rely heavily on the subwoofer? To find out, we disengaged the subwoofer and ran a familiar CD from our LG Blu-Ray player through our display’s speakers and the Tvee 20. We learned that the Tvee 20 speakers did sound better than our display’s built-ins. The high frequencies were much cleaner and vocals had clarity to them that our LCD TV’s speakers could not match.

We then engaged the 6” subwoofer. At that point, the system really came alive. The sub filled in some critical lower midrange and bass frequencies to help create a room-filling sound that rivaled that of more expensive home-theater-in-a-box solutions that we’ve tested. We found that the subwoofer was punchy and able to produce bass quite low. Though not on par with larger, more powerful high-end subwoofers, the 6” TVee 20 sub sounded quite respectable when properly blended with the soundbar.

As our testing continued, we submitted the Tvee 20 to a wide range of source material that included music, movies, standard television and games. Musically, we felt that the TVee 20 sounded better than many high-end iPod speaker docks. It has a presence and authority that is difficult to fake without a subwoofer. Movies and games also benefitted greatly from use of the TVee 20. Sound effects were much more prominent and explosions had real impact. Television also sounded much better, but with TV broadcasts, we noticed that the quality of the broadcast had a lot to do with how good the TVee 20 ultimately sounded. There were some programs that we watched on Disney and Nickelodeon channels that were extremely aggressive in the high frequencies and the TVee 20 was sure to let us know it. When the signal is clean and balanced, the TVee 20 sounds clean and balanced, but minute changes in the sound quality of the TV program seemed to be exacerbated by the Tvee 20’s high frequency prowess.

Subwoofer placement also plays a role in how good the TVee 20’s over-all sound will be. Since the 6” subwoofer is tasked with so many midrange frequencies, it is very easy to locate. Typically, subwoofers only produce extremely low frequencies that our ears aren’t able to locate. We just hear the bass. When a speaker starts to play above about 100 Hz, we can start to hear where it is coming from. We didn’t take measurements, but there is no doubt that the 6” subwoofer in this system is working well above the 120hz mark and, in doing so, gives it’s location away very easily. Don’t expect to place the sub just anywhere in the room. We recommend that you keep it as close to the soundbar location as possible. When in close proximity, the blend between soundbar and subwoofer is much better and the sound more enjoyable.

Conclusion

The Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20 offers a significant upgrade to your TV’s sound in a very simple and extremely easy to use package. The bang-for-your-buck factor here is excellent. For $299 you don’t get surround sound, but you do get the advantage of superior speakers and a wireless subwoofer that really brings your TV experience alive.

Highs:

  • Extremely easy to install and use
  • Solid Sound
  • Great bang for your buck

Lows:

  • Subwoofer is easily localized
  • Unnecessarily bright LED on sub

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