A soundbar is the ideal speaker for those who have limited space, do not want cables in sight and are looking for a sleek and stylish speaker. But, what if you are looking for high quality and prefer not to have the speaker in sight? Spectral has the solution in the form of the Spectral BRA2, a soundbar that can be used in various stylish AV furniture.
What is the Spectral BRA2?
The Spectral BRA2 is a soundbar, but then a ‘naked’ version. The speaker is everything that you can expect from a soundbar but then made for integration into a piece of furniture. Spectral offers the possibility to place the BRA2 in the furniture of six series, including the Brick, Cocoon and Scala models.
The soundbar itself was made by Canton, one of the most prominent loudspeaker manufacturers. The speaker is equipped with 300 watts of power, a built-in subwoofer so that you do not have to lose a big cupboard in the room, 2.1-channel virtual surround sound and bluetooth for streaming music. In addition, this model comes with three HDMI inputs (4K supported), an HDMI ARC output, an optical input, a digital coaxial input, and an analogue cinch input. The speaker supports Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM 24 bit / 96khz audio. You control the soundbar with the included simple remote control. You can also use the remote control of your TV to operate the system. If you want to control all the equipment including the soundbar via an app, there is the optionally available Spectral Smart Control for IOS and Android.
The price of the BRA2 is 1,599 euros. This is still without furniture, but you have so many different options and options that you can make it as crazy as you want in terms of price. The most sold model Scala 1.65m wide incl. BRA2 soundbar costs you for example 3.798,00 euro.
The design of the BRA2 itself is actually not important. After all, the speaker is processed in a piece of furniture of your choice. The speaker is only visible when the cover of the furniture is opened, but you do this only when there are other equipment or other items in the furniture. But, even if the speaker is visible, it is a nice-looking audio component. The speaker comes with six visible drivers on the front and a black housing. The display is at the front and shines through the dust of the furniture so that the operation is simple.
You can have the BRA2 integrated in no fewer than six furniture series from Spectral; the Ameno, Brick, Cocoon, Disc, Scala and Twenty. Every piece of furniture has its own integration. For example, the BRA2 in the Cocoon furniture can be found behind a fabric flap and in the Brick series the soundbar is incorporated in the base of the furniture. With every choice it is important to mention that the speaker is specially tuned to this furniture and will therefore also offer the optimal audio quality.
We can not light every piece of furniture, certainly not because with a lot of furniture you can also choose from different materials, finishes and combinations. In this review we have at least used the Cocoon furniture. This furniture can also be bought in different combinations, but we have the version with a middle section with fabric cover (behind which the soundbar is located) and two white elements on the side, with a glass white lid. These sides have a glass plate that separates the top half of the bottom half and gives you room for equipment, DVDs or whatever you want to store. Of course, adjustments can also be made here; that way you can choose a drawer instead of a valve. The part in which the soundbar is placed has a special mounting frame, so that there is a small space on the sides of the soundbar for CDs and DVDs, and you can place your media player and media box above the soundbar. A neat and simple solution to eliminate all your equipment. It is really an all-in-one installation, and especially when you also have a TV stand on the cupboard so that your TV corner really becomes one and completely furnished.
The quality of the furniture is as we are used to from Spectral; high-end and complete to your own wishes. We indicated it before; Spectral is the Apple of the av furniture and you can see that in everything. In the connections, the materials, the mechanisms, the durability and even the support. The Spectral furniture is of extremely good and high quality. They are not cheap furniture but you can also see that on every element of the furniture, from the used material and the concealed connections to the mechanism of the valve and the personal installation. The way you open the lid of the closet and push it shut you will never find an IKEA cabinet, it just feels a bit smoother and more luxurious. Also the legs that are adjustable and of high quality, the glass panels that are scratch resistant, the subtle mirror over the top and the seamless finish are all parts that contribute to a premium look and feel, a premium product. And we are not even talking about the fact that many of the parts are assembled or manufactured manually.
In addition to the BRA2, Spectral also has other soundbars in the range. All these models can be processed in company furniture. The SCA3 is a slightly smaller soundbar with no hdmi connections, suitable for up to seven furniture series. The VRA2 is the top model, consists of a left and right speaker with multiple drivers and a wider design. However, this soundbar is only suitable for the Ameno, Scala and Twenty model line.
Most soundbars are very easy to use and this premium BRA2 from Spectral also shows that installation and use are a piece of cake. The soundbar is built by Spectral in the av-furniture (actually placed) so you do not have to worry about it. However, the further installation will not cause any problems, especially since the required cables are included and everything speaks for itself. The BRA2 comes with two HDMI cables, a digital optical cable, a digital coaxial cable and an analog cable. In short, everything you need to start immediately.
A simple remote control is also included with which the soundbar can be fully operated. This remote control has buttons to select the input, choose the audio mode to adjust the bass and treble, change the volume and establish the Bluetooth connection. Conveniently, the BRA2 has an IR learning function so that the infrared signal of, for example, the remote control of your TV can be understood. This way you can use the remote control of your TV to control the BRA2.
Other useful features of the BRA2 are the ability to adjust the lipsync when audio and video are not synchronized, activate Dolby Dyanmic Range Compression when the volume changes are large or you have the audio on at night, and an EQ function with which you can influence the audio output on the basis of the placement of the speaker. The BRA2 has a built-in subwoofer but if you still want to connect an external subwoofer, you can do this via the SUB OUT connection. In the manual, all these functions are described briefly, but once you know how to find them they also speak for themselves. You do not have to adjust or adjust much, however; the soundbar does what it has to do, actually directly from the box (or in the furniture).
Perhaps the most important part of this review is the audio quality. When you buy a soundbar, certainly a high-end model like the BRA2, you still have high expectations. It may be one slim speaker, but there must be a sound, tight and wide sound.
Fortunately, the BRA2 does not disappoint on any level. You can see and hear that this speaker is made for the combination with the Spectral furniture and that the placement in the furniture has no influence on the performance. In every area the speaker shows its best side and you benefit in the room of a filling and tight sound.
In stereo mode, despite the narrow setup, you get a good separation between left and right. The room is immediately filled well with sound, wider than the soundbar itself is. Singing sounds warm and tight, and subtle details in music are clearly audible. It is a very clean and at the same time accurate reproduction of both classical music and pop music. Certainly in the latter, the bass is of great importance and despite the fact that there is no external subwoofer, the BRA2 succeeds with paints for this part. The low tones are very rich, deep and accurate, something that normally can only be achieved with an external sub.
When we switch on the surround mode, the audio field is just broadened and you also get the idea that the audio direction (and even partly beside) the user is placed. It is not really surround (it still carries the name virtual surround), but we can call it a nice virtual surround experience. Surround effects from, for example, Transformers 4 are strikingly close to the listening position, which makes you feel more drawn into the film. Combine these rich effects with clearly intelligible dialogues and a lively audio score, and you have an above average good system for watching your favorite movies. The BRA2 seems to have no problem at all, with any content whatsoever, and this is a great all-rounder.
All in all, it must be said that the Spectral BRA2 is a very good soundbar, both in stereo and in surround mode. The speaker knows how to create a wide and lively audio image, for both music and film. The fact that the speaker can be concealed in one of the stylish Spectral furniture adds to that experience because you have nothing in sight and everything is and remains simple to operate. You even have enough space for your other devices and DVD collection. In short, a high-quality soundbar in a premium quality AV furniture. If you have the budget, this is one of the most chic and best-sounding solutions for both the eye and the ear.