Published on November 4th, 2012 | by Greg0
Proficient MaxTV MT2: Big Sound, Small Package
The phrase “sound bar” has a mixed reputation. But it’s not a dirty word or a slur- in fact, though the category might not seem sexy, it’s improved remarkably over the past few years. Though still constrained by the laws of physics- booming sound usually requires bigger space- new materials and technologies continue to allow improvements. Just like your headphones and earbuds have gotten better and less expensive, so have sound bars, all-in-one solutions that make home theater-quality sound simple and easy.
The Proficient MaxTV MT2 is the latest and greatest model from an audio company that specializes in some pretty high-end audiophile-grade equipment. This cabinet combines two subwoofers, two tweeters and four mid-ranges in a package that is, remarkably, only four inches high. Wide enough to accomadate most televisions without looking too overwhelming or being dwarfed, it’s perfect for modern flat panel TVs. Many folks buy a nice television and rely on the built-in speakers, which always sound anemic. The difference is amazing, and well worth the price- we definitely recommend saving a bit of money or opting for a smaller screen- and putting some of the savings towards the audio. Your ears will thank you.
Setup is simple, since pretty much any TV has a few output options, and the MaxTV MT2 accepts either digital or analog connections. We placed it under our Samsung 40-inch LCD and tested it with a variety of sources, including Blu-Ray movies via a PS3, recent games like Dishonored, and television as well. We used optical connections, but RCA and coax are also available. The remote is small and credit-card sized, and there aren’t a lot of extraneous options- but you can adjust treble and bass settings as well as turn the simulated surround on or off. We generally left it on- it helps boost the mids without any noticeable distortion- but on some music we turned it off for a more natural, warmer tone. There aren’t any other modes- we didn’t miss them though.
If you don’t have room for multiple speakers, or don’t want to snake cables around and worry about placement, sound bars are definitely the way to go. Explosions sound impressive- we were blown away while watching the 007 flick Quantum of Solace, and were also satisfied with DTS and Dolby sound tests like those on Pixar films such as Ratatouille that we use to check out the soundstage. We had to sit a bit back from the unit to get the full effect- close up and you won’t feel the surround; gamers especially might miss the pinpoint accuracy that comes with a true 5.1 system. But in a larger room, the unit has enough power to fill it and make plenty of beautiful noise, 80 watts in total.
More than Proficient, the MaxTV MT2 is an expert when it comes to impressive sound in a tiny package. We loved some of the design touches, like the magnetic removable speaker grills. And the inclusion of Bluetooth is a pretty great addition- you can connect your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and play Pandora or your music collection from your mobile device, wirelessly. As with most newer Bluetooth systems, pairing takes only a moment, and range is decent- but your results will definitely depend a bit on music bitrates; Spotify streaming sounded pretty flat and lifeless. At $600 and available now, primarily online, we wouldn’t buy it simply for that capability but it’s a tasty cherry on the top of the best sound bar we’ve seen. Save yourself some A/V hassles this holiday season, and get a small, slick unit that is perfect for the bedroom or apartment.