Philips, now in the audio part of Gibson Innovations, announced several new audio products at the beginning of this year, including a new SoundStage loudspeaker. This speaker can be placed under a TV and linked with various sources. An ideal solution for those with limited space or the wish of few speakers. In this review we look at the Philips SoundStage HTL5130B.
Introduction soundbar and speaker base
The soundbar , an elongated speaker that improves the audio quality of the TV, we know by now. Since 2013, however, we see a new product group appear with speakers that are deeper and on which a TV can be placed. These speakers are often equipped with a built-in woofer, for which the larger size allows space. However, the naming is difficult because we see different terms passing by; Speaker Base, Sound Base, Sound Stand, Sound Plate, etc. However, they are all based on the same principle; improve the sound quality of your TV, which you put on top of it.
Philips SoundStage HTL5130B – specifications
The Philips HTL5130 is a 3.1-channel Soundstage speaker with a separate channel for the center speaker and a built-in subwoofer. This model features WaveFlector technology that creates a wide sound field through reflections (see video below). This speaker is also suitable for bluetooth streaming with nfc so you can quickly connect nfc-compatible devices.
Furthermore, the HTL5130B is equipped with a power of 150 watts, an HDMI port with ARC support, an optical and digital coaxial connection for digital sources, an aux input for analogue sources, a mini jack connection, and a USB 2.0 port to which a USB stick (only for MP3 and WMA files) can be connected. The SoundStage comes with a compact remote control with which all functions can be controlled. So you can choose the input, adjust the bass and treble and choose the sound mode.
The speaker has a size of 713 x 75 x 325 millimeters and weighs 4.5 kilograms. According to Philips, every TV should be able to stand up to 55-inches on the speaker. There is little special about design; you have to deal with a rectangular and flat speaker that has a gray grille on the front. An LED display with brief information is hidden behind the grille.
Pay attention; the transparent top with blue lighting, which you see on the photos in this article, is not on the consumer model. The speaker we have is a demo version.
Philips SoundStage HTL5130B installation
The installation of the SoundStage HTL5130B is a piece of cake; plug the plug into the stopcontent, connect the components and you can get started. The TV is through the HDMI ARC port (audio from TV comes back immediately) and if you want to connect a Blu-ray player or a game console, this can be done via the other digital or analog connections. The USB port is also available on the side but only supports MP3 and MWA files.
Of course, Bluetooth is also present so that you can pair your smartphone or tablet and stream music, for example from Spotify, to the speaker. Linking is quick and easy; press the Bluetooth button on the remote control, turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet and connect both devices from the Bluetooth settings on your mobile device. This works fine and then you can easily stream music to a distance of about 7-8 meters.
The Philips HTL5130B is easy to install, but take into account the dimensions of the speaker in relation to the cabinet on which your TV stands. It is also wise to take the dimensions of the foot in advance from your TV, because the eye wants something too. But once installed and connected, the HTL5130B is immediately ready for use. No hassle with difficult settings, as is evident from the very simple manual and the minimal remote control.
Philips SoundStage HTL5130B – use
With an all-in-one system like this, it is almost impossible for the use to be very simple. The manual is concise and quite simply lists all the options that you have. A compact remote control is also included with which all functions can be operated, which are indicated by a LED display behind the grille at the front.
Philips SoundStage HTL5130B – quality
What it is all about is of course the quality of the sound that is delivered. The Philips HTL5130B uses WaveFlector technology for a “surround experience” and a wide sound reproduction. This applies at all times, also with music. To attach a conclusion to this immediately; the speaker actually knows how to create a very wide sound field and convinces with it even during movies. But we still do not want to call it ‘surround sound’. It remains a sound field that stays in the front of the room and only with optimal acoustics of the room the reflections of the audio can go further into the room. Unfortunately, and at the same time logically, the sound is never behind the listening position. But, it has to be said that Philips with this speaker shows that you can put a convinced wide sound field without many speakers.
Just like a soundbar, you need to know what you get at a SoundStage, or whatever the manufacturer calls it. After all, it is not a 5.1-channel home cinema system and it will never sound like there are speakers in the back of the room. Yes, the surround sound is virtual and actually means that a wider sound field is created through the acoustics in the room.
In general, the reproduction of audio for films is above average, with a reasonable range, a dynamic display and sufficient power. Especially the low tones know, despite the small woofer, to convince. No, you do not vibrate from the bank but there is enough low to convincingly put down an action scene. Dialogs are clear and clear, which is also due to the design of the speaker. The HTL5130B also does not disappoint in the field of music reproduction, via a connected source or Bluetooth. A reasonable amount of space is created between left and right. It is not as convincing as two large speakers that are a meter to the left and right of your TV but looking at other audio systems, the Philips manages to provide a fairly good stereo effect. The HTL5130B provides a dynamic sound with convincing sounds that appear natural and fresh, but it must be said that the sound becomes a lot more distorted and tougher when you look at the speaker obliquely. Even with quite a bit of volume, the speaker stands firm without being overdriven. A good living room can also be filled with music. Even if you stream music to the system via Bluetooth, the quality of the source material remains largely intact and the SoundStage is a nice audio system for both the party night and the romantic dinner.
Philips SoundStage HTL5130B – conclusion
If we add everything together, only one judgment is actually possible; for a little less than 300 euros you get a full speaker, however, who knows how to keep up with all sources and even persuades them in the low. There are sufficient connection possibilities and the operation and installation is childishly simple. The SoundStage is not a surround system but offers a significantly better view than the built-in speakers of your TV and is therefore particularly suitable for those who do not want bells and whistles, no speakers in the living room want to have and just fun and good search for sound.