Bass settings to find the optimal balance, as bass can quite easily become overpowering. The understated black styling blends with our black TV perfectly theres a silver version too while the slender 60mm height and lack of front panel clutter ensure your eyes arent drawn away from the TV screen.Next, read our pick of the Best Soundbars and Soundbases. Sadly theres no Bluetooth apt-X for enhanced sound quality, unlike the Canton DM50. We also recommend having a thorough play with the sub level and H.
In terms of bass performance, the SC-HTE180 offers an improvement over its little brother, which we criticised for a lack of low-end oomph. It also displays the surprisingly involved setup menu. Its much easier than relying on flashing lights and icons, as some soundbases do. On that level the SC-HTE180 succeeds.
You can hear the tinkle of chains and the crunch of sandals on gravelly desert floors, although the Canton DM50 renders these effects with even greater clarity and refinement. The curved corners add elegance and the top panel sports a stylish brushed finish. Decent detail, depth and vocal clarity make songs sound easy on the ear, although if youre serious about music you might be better off checking out a proper hi-fi solution like the Q Acoustics Q-BT3. These include six fairly self-explanatory audio presets Standard, Stadium, Music, Cinema, News, Stereo and four subwoofer levels which incrementally increase bass intensity.
If you dont know what a speaker board is, its like a soundbar except that you put your TV on top of it, creating a tidy, space-saving audio solution. You may also like:ROUND-UP: Best SoundbarsROUND-UP: Best Surround Sound SystemsREVIEW: LG SoundPlate LAP340Panasonic SC-HTE180 Design and ConnectionsThe whole point of a soundbase is that it becomes part of the furniture, assimilating discreetly into its surroundings. Here, the larger cabinet delivers better depth and solidity when the scene demands it, but it lacks the agility and precision needed to make transients really hit home what you get is more of a nebulous rumble.Other companies call them soundbases, plinths or soundplates, but whatever the name they share a common goal to improve the notoriously naff sound quality from slim TVs.
The SC-HTE180 offers a generous selection of sockets on the back, chief among which are the HDMI input and ARC-compatible output.Panasonic SC-HTE180 OperationThe SC-HTE180 takes minutes to setup and is blissfully simple to use. The smart bit is Panasonics Music Streaming App, which provides a way of managing and controlling wireless playback, although were not sure what advantage this has over streaming via Bluetooth in the normal way.Panasonic also throws in its usual generous gamut of sound modes for you to play with.
Should I buy the Panasonic SC-HTE180Although the SC-HTE180 is an impressive proposition in many respects, its not the best-sounding speaker board for the money and for many, thats the bottom line. It achieves an impressive sense of scale for such a slender unit, thanks to the combination of loud volume, rich bass and wide effects dispersion. There are separate keys to access the Setup and Sound menus, with up, down and OK buttons for moving through them.But on the plus side, the Panasonic offers a more generous range of features, connections and sound modes, plus its stylish design will be a real winner in any living room and that might be reason enough for you to give it a whirl despite the quality of the competition.
0 with NFC for easy one-touch pairing with Android smartphones.The SC-HTE180 does a fine job with high frequencies too, pulling out enough detail to make scenes sound crisp and open.Panasonic SC-HTE180 FeaturesThe SC-HTE180 is equipped with two integrated downward-firing subwoofers and two 3.The front edge plays host to an LED display, which gives out vital information like volume levels and selected inputs.
VerdictThe SC-HTE180 is a stylish, easy-to-use soundbase with plentiful sockets and sound modes, but its pipped to the post on sound quality by its more polished rivals.As two-headed fire-breathing beasts wreak havoc in Perseus village, weighty explosions and roaring jets of fire fill the room, while the front speakers briskly disperse midrange and treble. Up against this polished performer which uses a three-way system with separate tweeters, midrange drivers and subs the Panasonic sounds comparatively compressed.The SC-HTE180 is Panasonics latest speaker board, a larger version of the SC-HTE80 launched last year.
Airflow is managed through two Aero Stream ports on the back of the unit. However, this effort from Panasonic boasts more features and connections than most rivals, and if audio performance improves on the SC-HTE80 then we could have a winner on our hands.Dolby Virtual Speaker attempts to recreate a surround effect while Panasonics own 3D Surround mode enhances its effects further by expanding the sound in every direction. Its easy to follow but a tad unresponsive, with a slight delay when you press a button.
So when we fired up Wrath of the Titans on Blu-ray, its epic action scenes sound suitably exciting, plus its big soundstage does justice to the giant monsters lumbering around the screen. As well as the sound modes listed on the previous page, the Sound menu features Dual Audio, Auto Gain Control and Low Volume Mode options.Stream music to the SC-HTE180 via Bluetooth and the results are enjoyable. It wont pass through 4K signals that talent is reserved for the top-end SC-HTB880 but it does handle 3D.
H-Bass boosts it even further. Firstly, the good stuff. All the speakers, amplifiers and processors you need are built into its flat slimline chassis, ruling out the need for space-hogging speakers and cluttersome cables.And like its little brother, the SC-HTE180 renders dialogue with terrific clarity, but with so many dialog settings on board were really not surprised.
Panasonic describes the SC-HTE180 as having Smart Networking but that basically means theres built in Bluetooth 3. You dont miss a single line, even when the Gods are dishing out their noisiest form of vengeance. The compact remote is destined to spend most of its life down the back of the sofa but its easy to use. On the right hand side is a small cluster of buttons controlling volume, input and power.
It makes the soundstage wider, fuller and more detailed, but turn it off and the sound is flat, narrow and quieter. The Setup menu offers dimmer, auto power, volume limitation, Bluetooth standby and Viera Link options.Panasonic SC-HTE180 PerformanceDespite using the same drivers and subwoofers as the smaller SC-HTE80, the SC-HTE180 delivers a more satisfying sound overall although it still falls short of the best soundbases. However, you do need to install it before using NFC.
On board decoding includes Dolby Digital and DTS. The rubber buttons are sensibly arranged and clearly labelled. Build quality is also impressive the bodywork is strong and sturdy, supporting TVs between 42 and 50in with no fuss up to 50kg in weight and it side-steps the overly plasticky feel that often blights Panasonic products. Both are activated by default unless you select the Stereo preset.
8 x 9cm cone drivers at the front. These allow you to send audio signals to the Panasonic while passing hi-def pictures through to your TV. Onboard amplification is quoted at 120W. The similarly-priced Canton DM50 offers better detail, bigger, punchier bass and a more polished sound overall.
Theres enough bite to make everything sound dynamic, but it never strains the ears, even at loud volumes.One thing worth noting here is that you must keep 3D Clear Mode Dialog activated at all times, especially when watching movies.But thats not to say its not well designed. The front LED display makes it easy to explore the sound settings and setup menu, spelling out options in large letters and scrolling to reveal longer sentences.
You also get four Dialog settings that enhance speech frequencies, while 3D Clear Mode Dialogue tries to make everything sound like its emerging from the screen. Theres also a USB port for service use only.The HDMI ports are joined by an optical digital audio input – the socket of choice if you want a simple single-cable connection to your TV – and analogue stereo RCA input. If you want to learn more about this post, just leave a comment.