The greatest soundbars obtain an nearly good steadiness of aesthetics and efficiency. They eradicate the visible eyesore of audio system, amplifiers, and wires whereas delivering sonic performances which might be vastly superior to any trendy TV’s sub-par audio. Relatively few attain that aim, leaving you to decide on between an industrial design that can look enticing beneath your TV, and the kind of audio presentation that can get your pulse pounding.
Definitive Technology, a venerable identify in high-end residence theater and audiophile circles, comes very near balancing these scales with its Studio Slim system, consisting of a svelte soundbar in a gorgeous enclosure paried with a thundering wi-fi subwoofer and supplied at value that gained’t take your breath away.
It’s not a wise speaker in and of itself, however you may management it utilizing Google Assistant, and it additionally helps Google’s Chromecast audio-streaming expertise in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best soundbars, the place you’ll discover critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must take into account when procuring.
Slim industrial design
The Studio Slim’s kind issue is worthy of its identify. At roughly 1.81 inches tall, 3.25 inches deep, and 43.39 inches huge, you will need to see the Studio Slim in individual to understand its minimalist dimensions. Even in such a trim footprint, there’s nothing low cost within the Studio Slim’s materials or construct high quality—all the pieces about this speaker says high-end audio.
Where most soundbars are designed as boring rectangular bins (the new Sonos Arc being a notable exception), the Studio Slim favors a trapezoidal design with outer edges that angle inward, giving the visible phantasm that the Studio Slim is even smaller than it’s. An attractive, charcoal-gray, brushed-aluminum panel graces the highest of its enclosure, and its entrance grill is woven from acoustically clear speaker material. The Studio Slim’s wi-fi subwoofer, in the meantime,encompasses a textured veneer that endows it with a little bit of aptitude—though you’ll possible tuck this element away in a nook of the room.
You can mount the Studio Slim on a wall thanks to 2 keyhole mounting factors on the unit’s bottom, however you gained’t discover a mounting template within the field. Should you want to place the Studio Slim soundbar on a shelf or cupboard, skinny rubber ft on its backside will stop any scratching or marring of surfaces.
LEDs mild up behind the grille let the soundbar’s quantity, DSP setting, heart channel and bass steadiness, and lively enter. Unfortunately, you’ll have to memorize what the lights and flashes imply. But Definitive Technology does a great job of defining the visible cues in its in any other case Spartan person handbook, and having 10 LED segments to point quantity degree made it straightforward for me to find out if the speaker was placing out 30, 50, or 70 p.c of its most output.
Slim with out compromise
The Studio Slim is a 3.1-channel soundbar, that means it’s geared up with true left, heart, and proper channels, plus a channel for low-frequency results. Three 1-inch aluminum dome tweeters are used for the discreet left, proper, and heart channels. You’ll usually expertise superior dialog efficiency with a discrete heart channel versus sound bars that blend heart multichannel info into two stereo channels. The tweeters are complemented by 4 1 x 3-inch oval midrange drivers.
These drivers are powered by a 70-watt amplifier that carried out cleanly in my listening assessments, with no overt hints of pressure or distortion. The Studio Slim’s major drivers aren’t massive sufficient to dig deep, so Definitive Technology depends on an included wi-fi subwoofer for low-end help. The roughly 14 x 12.5 x 12.5-inch (HxWxD) subwoofer comes pre-paired with the soundbar. All I wanted to do was plug within the soundbar after which plug within the subwoofer and I used to be in enterprise.
The sub sports activities an 8-inch down-firing driver inside an enclosure with 4 thick rubber ft that do a great job of absorbing any vibrations the subwoofer may produce. Any subwoofer’s efficiency—each how deep it performs and the way cleanly—can be instantly associated to its placement in your room. Generally talking, you’ll get the strongest and deepest bass efficiency in case you put the sub in a nook (however you may not essentially get the cleanest bass efficiency that method). Given that the included subwoofer is wi-fi and never very heavy, I recommend giving the subwoofer crawl placement method a try.
The Studio Slim comes with three inputs: One HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), one Toslink digital optical, and a USB interface. Those three inputs ought to be sufficient for many shoppers’ setups. There aren’t any analog choices. The overwhelming majority of TVs launched previously 5 years include both or each HDMI ARC and Toslink connections.
To join the Studio Slim, you’ll use both an HDMI cable or a Toslink optical cable out of your TV. Both HDMI and Toslink optical cables are included within the field. To use an HDMI connection, you will need to have a TV that helps HDMI ARC.
Note that even when your TV has HDMI ARC, it in all probability got here from the manufacturing facility with that characteristic turned off by default. So, you’ll have to allow HDMI CEC and ARC for this to work. In case you’re questioning, the soundbar does not help video passthrough (which isn’t in any respect uncommon). You subsequently can’t join your leisure supply (a Blu-ray participant or a videogame console, as an illustration) to the soundbar after which run one other connection from the soundbar to the TV.
A stable distant management
The Studio Slim’s distant management is properly designed and laid out. While it’s not backlit, the buttons are intuitive and simple to work by contact while you’re in low-light conditions. Being an infrared gadget, the distant depends on line of sight. That stated, I used to be capable of management the soundbar with the distant at as a lot as a 45-degree angle to the speaker. You may additionally be capable to use your TV’s distant to manage the Studio Slim’s quantity (extra on that in a bit), and you may undoubtedly do it with the Google Home app on a smartphone or pill.
The distant means that you can allow one among three DSP modes: Movie, Music, and Night. Movie mode guarantees to ship a bigger soundstage and extra punch; music is a extra impartial EQ; and Night mode will scale back the soundbar’s quantity and dynamics, so that you’ll be much less prone to wake the nighbors or your important different.
The overwhelming majority of soundbar remotes aren’t programmable, and soundbars usually repspond to discrete IR codes particular to every producer. Definitive Technology has performed one thing extremely good with the Studio Slim: The soundbar is pre-configured to reply to quantity and mute instructions from widespread TV remotes from Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, and different main manufacturers. I used to be capable of management the Studio Slim’s quantity with the distant controls from a Panasonic ZT60 Plasma and a Vizio P-Series Quantum TV, nevertheless it didn’t work with an older Samsung Plasma TV distant.
Seamless Google integration
The Studio Slim is supplied with an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, however there’s no choice for hardwired ethernet. The first step in establishing this soundbar is to attach it to your Wi-Fi community utilizing the Google Home app. So there’s no confusion, Definitive Technology places a “Google Home required” sticker on the again panel, for many who don’t wish to learn person manuals.
Once you’ve performed that, you may combine the Studio Slim right into a Chromecast multi-room audio ecosystem and management it with Google Assistant through your cellular gadget or a separate good speaker.
For me, setup and configuration had been easy: I powered up the Studio Slim, launched the Google Home app on my iPhone, and was able to go in simply minutes. Google Home immediately prompted me to arrange the Definitive Technology Studio Slim and assign it to my residence and to a room. Like most app-based sound bars, I needed to undergo a firmware replace earlier than I may begin utilizing it. I efficiently built-in the Studio Slim with a Cambridge Audio YoYo speaker and CXNv2 community participant by creating speaker teams and concurrently steaming audio to every.
The Studio Slim depends on Google Home’s built-in music companies, akin to Pandora, Google Play, Spotify, and Deezer. Tidal shouldn’t be listed as one of many music companies within the Google Home app, nevertheless it is listed as supported on the Studio Slim’s field. To use Tidal, it’s worthwhile to launch the Tidal app and choose the Studio Slim as a Chromecast-enabled speaker. I had no issues integrating the Studio Slim with Tidal throughout my testing interval.
While you’ll actually get one of the best audio efficiency through Chromecast over Wi-Fi, you do have the choice of Bluetooth streaming. Just take word that Bluetooth will work solely after the studio system has been arrange with the Google Home app.
I ought to word that the Studio Slim doesn’t help streaming ecosystems past Chromecast. Definitive Technology’s father or mother firm is Sound United, which additionally owns Denon, Marantz, and Classé, amongst different main audio manufacturers. My important residence theater is centered round Denon’s exceptional X8500H receiver, which options HEOS and AirPlay, so I used to be disaapointed to find that I couldn’t combine the Studio Slim into my HEOS.
Performance far past its footprint
I arrange the Studio Slim in my household room, the place it took the place of one other far bigger soundbar and not using a subwoofer. I used Tidal streamed through Chromecast for music, and my leisure sources had been cable TV and an AppleTV 4K. I used a Toslink optical to supply audio from my TV to the Studio Slim.
I discovered instantly that I shouldn’t choose the Studio Slim’s efficiency by its footprint. This child performs properly past its dimension. I used to be instantly taken by the Studio Slim’s presence and dynamics. In truth, the preliminary notes I wrote had been, “punchy and dynamic.” This slimline soundbar system delivered superbly clear and clear dialog it doesn’t matter what the supply materials—together with numerous cable TV content material. Movies, recreation reveals, information programming, you identify it, there wasn’t something that this speaker didn’t ace.
The Studio Slim did an impressive job rendering a deep and enormous soundstage in the course of the opening scenes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Ford Vs. Ferrari. No method was I anticipating this soundbar to dig in deep with such very good dynamics. As with all soundbar-and-subwoofer combos, there’s a transparent increase within the higher bass that aids the system with its chest-pounding supply. Manufacturers carry out this trick because it provides the illusiion of deep bass. When I performed materials with legitimately deep bass notes, nonetheless, Definitive’s setup simply couldn’t ship. Physics remains to be physics, in any case.
On the flip facet, the Studio Slim tends to sound skinny when it’s in Movie DSP mode. If that bothers you, change to the Music DSP mode to get a hotter and extra impartial presentation.
But you probably have any doubts about this soundbar’s aptitude for peak efficiency, drop in Tron Legacy and quick foward to the scene had been Flynn drops into the Grid because the Recognizer bursts onto the scene. Yes, the eight-inch subwoofer isn’t anyplace close to able to delivering the authoritative, subterranean bass contained within the scene, nevertheless it actually carried out properly throughout the frequency vary it may ship.
The included distant allowed me to extend the middle channel quantity, noticeably lifting dialog if I wanted it. This made speech extra pronounced and separated from the remainder of the soundtrack, however the inevitable downside is that it threw the general audio steadiness off kilter. So, the choice is there, however you may not want it. I performed the speaker for somebody with a listening to impairment and who requires listening to aids, and he stated he had no downside by any means understanding dialog with the Studio Slim at its default setting.
Definitive Technology’s Studio Slim soundbar is a distinct segment product designed particularly for many who desire a soundbar with a small footprint, however who don’t wish to sacrifice premium audio efficiency to get it.
And with built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant help, you’ll be capable to combine the Studio Slim right into a whole-home leisure answer with Google-friendly audio system in different rooms throughout your own home. It’s an important answer.