While the major CE brands are busy cramming everything but the kitchen sink into their soundbar offerings, the audio specialists continue to stick to the product’s raison d’etre – replacing the raspy, weedy sonics of your flatplanel’s in-built speakers with some high-quality stereo goodness.

This is definitely what Roth Audio’s Bar 1 is about – a stylish, slender soundbar and subwoofer combination that will make a real difference to a basic living room setup.

Pros

The soundbar’s built-in drivers (of which there are eight 1.5in midrangers and a pair of 0.75in tweeters, driven by 2 x 16W amplifiers) help craft a decent stereo soundstage, with crisp dialogue and sweet high-frequency effects.

The 6.5in subwoofer, which connects to the ‘bar wirelessly, adds suitable weight to proceedings. Its tall and slender design makes it easy to tuck away, too.

Roth Audio’s Fractal Expression (FX) post-processing can be called upon to artificially widen the soundstage and boost the phantom centre channel. There’s no virtual surround effect on offer, though.

Because the ‘bar is just 57mm deep, it can be wall-mounted without upsetting your décor.

Cons

Connectivity is limited to just stereo audio and a 3.5mm jack. This means the Roth will only be able to work its magic with your TV’s audio or two-channel from a source.

Raising the volume level too high brings in some unwanted noise pollution – sudden loud effects from bombastic action movies can sound distorted, and you’ll soon be reaching for the simplistic remote control to calm things down.


Roth Audio Bar 1
Price:
£250 Approx

Overall 4/5