A generic monitor not specifically designed for photography isn’t going to deliver the colour quality we seek. Processing images on the BenQ SW271 gives the user a stunningly vivid colour range.
Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar
This cheap Sharp sound bar packs a surprising punch.
- Cheap as chips, decent sound quality, simple and unobtrusive styling, versatile remote
- Sound is a bit muddy at low volumes, no subwoofer line out
For a budget speaker system, Sharp’s HT-SB200 sound bar performs well. Its small speakers reproduce surprisingly large amounts of mid-bass and it complements the in-built speakers of Sharp’s LCD televisions well.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The Sharp HT-SB200 is a stereo sound bar that will give a boost in sound quality and volume to any slimline LCD or plasma television. It functions seamlessly with Sharp’s recent LCD television range and provides good quality sound and bass extension for a low price.
Unpacking the Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar from its box, you get the impression the company has left something out. This sound bar is much smaller than competing home theatre speaker systems like the Altec Lansing PT8051 and the Philips HTIB6100, weighing only 1.75kg.
It’s 80cm wide, and at just 6.5cm high and 7cm deep it does not look out of place near a television. Unless you team it up with the super-thin Sony Bravia KDL40ZX1, the Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar will be a similar depth to your wall-mounted LCD or plasma screen. Sharp provides a wall-mounting bracket in the sales package, so mounting is not an issue.
The system uses a DC power brick which is quite large and cumbersome, but the included remote is a small, credit-card-style one. The remote only has a small number of buttons and it is easy to operate. A volume control and independent subwoofer level buttons are the most prominent controls, and other features such as source and equaliser switching can be accessed. The remote also offers limited control over a compatible Sharp LCD television — we had no issues using it to alter volume, source and channels with a Sharp LC-37D53X.
The Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar has two separate inputs: an analog RCA input for connecting to your television and a 3.5mm jack for connecting an MP3 player or similar device. Switching between these is simple, although equaliser and volume settings are not unique to each input. If you inadvertently switch from listening to some quiet MP3s to loud television ads, you may be in for a shock.
When it comes to sound quality, the Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar performs well given its budget price tag. The system offers individual bass and treble controls. In addition to the six-setting bass tuning, the system’s subwoofer level is also able to be altered — we’re not sure why, since the bass tuning performs a similar role. Surround-sound effects — Standard, Cinema, Sport and News — also have different bass and treble presets.
Treble response from the six integrated speakers is strong and crisp, with fine detail noticeable in our test music tracks. Mid-range was also surprisingly strong — given the small speakers inside the sound bar — though at times it did seem a bit bloated and muddy. There’s only a small amount of true bass extension with the system and sadly there is no subwoofer line level output to connect a dedicated unit for more powerful bass.
At lower volumes the system’s sound is slightly uneven, with mid-bass notes being too prominent and overpowering treble. At maximum power bass drops off and treble becomes harsh, but we doubt you'll listen much at this level. At normal and loud listening volumes though, the Sharp HT-SB200 sound bar performs well.
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