Published on March 3rd, 2014 | by Greg0
Sherwood S-5 Soundbar And EXM-30 Speaker: Bluetooth And More
It’s the big night, the evening of the Academy Awards, when we finally figure out which movies will receive their Oscar statues. Which means that we’ve had a busy few weeks catching up on the films that were nominated, and while many of them are still available in theaters, there were quite a few that we could throw on at home or at office parties. And while we typically use projectors- review of our latest pal coming soon- there are plenty of staff and writers with LCD, LED, and even plasma televisions. We’ve been taking today’s pair of products on the road, touring several different listening environments.
The Sherwood S-5 Soundbar is precisely in the middle of the company’s lineup- we previously checked out their excellent, larger S-9 and they offer several other models as well with varying prices and feature sets. Soundbars have greatly improved over the past few years, and now are strongly recommended for anyone with a flat-panel TV. The difference can be astonishing, taking your average TV episode and making it far more present, putting a lot more reality into reality television. The S-5 includes two full-range drivers and two woofers for a total power output of 120W, enough to fill even a large living room.
With your TV, the speakers are tiny and forced to work around the screen itself usually. And while some soundbars are built for under-TV use, this one is low-profile enough to simply set up in front of the screen. But get this cool feature: some soundbars can block the lower part of your TV and the sensors there, which can make it impossible for your remote to work. But the S-5 includes an IR repeater which solves the problem! There is full Dolby Digital/DTS support, as well as a few simulated 3D presets that work well for different use cases, changing the sound to fit gaming or virtual surround sound for music listening. And you might wonder, why would I use my TV for music listening, and the reason is simple: because the Sherwood S-5 also includes Bluetooth wireless streaming audio support, an addition that we ended up using almost as much as video. Commercials won’t blow out your ears, thanks to loudness compensation technology. Available for around only $200, the Sherwood S-5 is a bargain, and a solid hitter for it’s size and price.
The Sherwood EXM30 is an indoor/outdoor speaker, part of their EXCAPE line. We checked out the somewhat similar EXM50 previously, and this model follows in the same tradition with a few changes- a sharper, classier look that’s more attractive and at least one feature removed (FM radio) that we missed. It was easy to connect to, and proved relatively durable in our tests. Rechargeable batteries lasted over 10 hours of play time, and it didn’t weigh much at thirteen ounces. However, the EXM30 didn’t really impress us with it’s audio quality or power, and wasn’t as easy to carry around or as fun as some other outdoor Bluetooth speakers that we’ve tried. At only $80 or so, it’s fairly priced.