Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sony SRS-LSR100 TV Speaker

WIRELESS HANDY TV SPEAKER I’d forgotten that I’d bought this some time ago in an Amazon Daily Deal or similar at half price, so decided to get it out and give it a whirl! It’s basically a remote control for your TV with built-in speaker.
The implications are obvious really, and it certainly helps me as I have a TV with a rubbish speaker with poor top-volume and tinny sound - though it might help those who are hard of hearing even more. The unit is in two parts. A base-unit which you plug into the mains/USB/microUSB by the TV and connect to your TV via the (supplied) optical digital cable or (also supplied) 3.5mm audio socket, and the main speaker/remote unit, which sits on the base to charge but can then be moved across the room or wherever you want it.

The advantage of this over a simple sound-bar is that the person who wants the enhanced sound can have it next to them, the sound is pretty isolated around the unit, and other people in the room can use the TV’s sound if it suits them. The person using it can also plug in an earpiece or set of headphones, with a splitter if they like for two people, making the sound really isolated from others.

The base-unit sends the audio signal via its own wireless network (not via, or dependent on a home Wifi/router) to the remote speaker and the sound can be heard via the remote unit. A simple idea, excellently executed in the usual Sony way.

The sound coming from the speaker is of excellent quality and can be turned up very loud via the dial in the top. The whole volume-dial is pressed in/out for on/off so if you have the TV volume down to 0% you can mute the sound with a press. You can use a couple of controls on the back to change the sound - there’s a ‘Voice Zoom’ button, which smartly isolates voices and enhances them over other sounds and an ‘Auto Volume’ one which adjusts the volume in relation to other sounds in the room.

I’ve got a very basic TV (made by Polaroid), but it’s pretty new, and the sound that comes out of the Sony speaker is not adjusted by the TV’s Sound controls. So if you turn up the bass, for example, nothing changes in the sound of the unit. You seem to get what you get from the Sony, though, as I say, the sound is pretty rich and well balanced. With a posher TV, this might change of course, so YMMV.

The battery is supposed to last 16 hours if you leave it off charge and continually use it, but it does have a 10 minute power-off when it detects no sound, so actually, that 16 hours can be spread over days. It seems to do well in this respect.

The base-unit and remote speaker are supposed to have line of sight of each other to maintain contact for transfer of sound, but actually I’ve tested it in another room and it seems to work still! I have had a bit of break-up a couple of times, but I think it was more to do with battery - as initially, I had plugged in the USB lead to the TV’s USB Socket for power, not realising that when the TV was off, it wasn’t charging. D’oh!

The units are made of tough plastic, like you’d expect to find a Sony radio made from. It feels solid, heavy and reassuring. There’s no way to get the battery out for the user, so I guess it does have a life expectancy. The buttons are solid, firm to press and volume-dial is a ‘floating’ one enabling the press in/out for on/off. The remote unit has a handle for carrying, which again is very well made, firm and solid and round the back is a big communication window, which should be pointed towards the base-unit, a separate microUSB socket under a rubber flap (along with the headphone socket) is present so you can charge the speaker unit independently of the base if you prefer (or it’s in use), a reset button and a remote setup button. It’s a unit made with the usual Sony style, design and class, feeling like a premium product.

Now to the bit that I can’t test! As you can see from the array of buttons, rockers and switches across the top, the device can also replace your TV’s remote control. However, I’m afraid that I can’t find a way to do that with my Polaroid TV. You’re supposed to put a code into the keypad to set it up but it seems that the codes only cover 12 main manufacturers’ TVs. So presumably unless you have one of them, it won’t work. I’ve tried every code from 01 to 99 and can’t get it connected, so I guess Sony want you to buy a posh TV, preferably a Sony model! I don’t think for my use this is a great loss anyway as it’s not what I need the unit to do.

I mentioned earlier that I got it for half price and I was trying to work out whether or not, now that I’ve got used to it being in constant use, if I’d now pay the £150 real price for it. I’m not sure. There are other solutions as I said earlier with sound-bars and Bluetooth ‘senders’ and even better sounding bluetooth speakers, but they’re not as well defined, present a bit of a fiddle, tend to be across the room, not next to the user who wants to isolate the sound and need working through. This is a done-deal, one job done well, sorted. So I guess it depends how much spare cash you have!

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