- Author John Steward
- Published June 10, 2014
Bring samba home: how to reproduce the stadium’s sound
It doesn’t matter where you go this summer – you won’t be able to escape the football. Not until England get knocked out, anyway.
And even though you’ll doubtless be watching our inexorable slide into last-16 defeat against Bosnia and Herzegovina from behind your fingers, you’ll still want the best possible experience for your eyes and ears.
An ideal way to treat your eyes is to invest in an ULTRA HD 4K display. But what about sound? Here are some ideas for great audio, wherever you are…
With all your friends
An all-singing, all-dancing surround-sound rig is just the ticket here. If you’re after convenience, consider a home-cinema-in-a-box system like the 9.1-channel LG BH9540TW. This has upward-firing drivers in each of the surround speakers for an even more immersive appearance; wireless rear units; an amplifier/Blu-ray player unit (which also gives you access to plenty of smart content); and a wireless subwoofer.
If you want to get even more serious, you could go for a full-on separates system – with a dedicated AV receiver, high-end speaker cables, and up to 11 channels of audio. It’ll take a while to set up and configure, but the results will be satisfyingly neighbour-bothering.
Whatever you go for, make sure you put the speakers as equidistant from your seating position as possible – and avoid turning the subwoofer up too high. It might give you mega bass, yes, but it will also muddy the sound if it’s rumbling away the whole time. You should only hear it during the explosive moments.
In a smaller room
The smaller the telly, the smaller its speakers – and the smaller its sound. Easily remedied, though: just hook up a soundbar or soundplate. A soundbar sits in front of your TV (or underneath it if you choose to mount it all on the wall) and instantly gives you far more oomph than your set’s internal speakers can. They usually come with subwoofers too, for even more power. Some, using a bit of tech wizardry, can create a decent faux-surround sound effect too.
Soundplates sit directly underneath your television, acting as a plinth as well as a speaker. This solves the problem of a soundbar perhaps fouling the bottom of the screen (or, at the very least, its infra-red remote control receiver). They act in much the same way as soundbars to boost your TV’s audio – and some even come with built-in Blu-ray players and internet access.
Not all matches are played at a civilized hour. If you find yourself wanting to watch the second half from the comfort of a duvet or pillow fort, but you don’t want to use the wee speakers on your bedroom TV, consider hooking it up to a speaker dock.
Most of these have a 3.5mm jack input, which can take a feed from your set’s headphone output, while some more expensive ones have optical inputs for even better quality.
Obviously it would have to be placed beside your TV rather than underneath it, but it’s better than nothing – and, don’t forget, you can use it to play music from your portable device or computer too.
In the garden
We’re assuming here you won’t unreel a massive extension cable and cart your whole living-room system outside, but will instead be sitting around with a tablet or laptop.
Assuming you don’t want to wear headphones (see below), you’ll want something battery-powered and durable. The LG NP6630 is a good example – it’ll keep going under its own power for up to eight hours; can accept a wireless Bluetooth stream; and also has a 3.5mm input for non-wireless sources.
On the train
Coming back from work and desperate to catch the game? Chances are you’ll see a lot of people watching live football on their smartphones or tablets. There will be two types: the mouth-breathing barbarians who use their devices’ tinny speakers aloud in the carriage, and you – the civilised, handsome go-getter with headphones.
If you want to be discreet, try a pair of earbuds such as the What Hi-Fi Sound and Vision Award-winning SoundMagic E10s (above), or go all out and cocoon yourself in the action with some Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling cans.
LG picked up a significant gong last year: Best Audio-Visual brand at the 2013 Which? Awards. For more information on LG’s line up, please visit www.lg.com/uk