Youll get used to it but wed have preferred a larger and more intuitive remote. If youre connecting a Blu-ray deck to the HDMI ports, bear in mind that the soundbar can pass through 3D but not 4K signals only the SC-HTB880 supports the latter. In a recess underneath the soundbar youll find an HDMI input and output, optical digital input and a port for the supplied IR blaster.Tonally the SC-HTB680 has a snappy midrange and crisp high frequencies, which allows for clear dialogue and detail, but that translates into harshness when you turn the volume beyond half way. Exclusively available from PC World and Currys, the SC-HTB680 boosts total power to 350W and ups the channel count to 3.
You could also consider the Canton DM50 or Tannoy BaseStation One, superb soundbases that offer vastly superior sound quality. It looks inoffensive enough but if you want to hide it away then the wireless connection makes it easy.Panasonic SC-HTB680 PerformanceWe werent enamoured of the SC-HTB480s performance, but the SC-HTB680 offers a slight improvement. In the latter instance, all the brackets you need are in the box.
Bass though, as its easy to overegg the pudding.Panasonic SC-HTB680 OperationWe hoped the step up in price from the SC-HTB480 would bring with it an upgraded remote, but sadly not you get the same small cheap zapper, which sits a little awkwardly in the hand.1-channel SC-HTB880.1, with dedicated left, right and centre channels plus a wireless subwoofer.
SEE ALSO: Best Surround Sound SystemsPanasonic SC-HTB680 Design and ConnectionsThe SC-HTB680 is attractive without going over the top.You can place the soundbar on a flat surface or tip it upright and mount it on the wall.VerdictA likeable soundbar in many ways, particularly in terms of design and features, but the SC-HTB680 is scuppered by a few sonic shortcomings. Similarly, the valve amp-equipped Samsung HW-H750s sound is more satisfying although it costs twice as much.
Bass to boost low frequencies, plus six sound presets Standard, Stadium, Music, Cinema, News and Stereo which turns off all other processing.Thats a massive advantage when playing Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray, a movie with no shortage of action scenes to test the Panasonics mettle. Whats left is a thin, spitty sound with practically no bass depth of its own the soundbar uses a single 65mm driver for each front channel, which suggests why the subwoofer isnt as seamlessly integrated as wed like. It’s designed to accompany 42in TVs.
Some of the same flaws are evident, but the added power and extra audio channel give the sound greater presence and focus. 3D Clear Mode Dialog makes everything sound more open.Panasonic says the on-board amplifier delivers 350W of power 70W per channel for the left, right and centre and 140W for the subwoofer.Finally, a free Panasonic Music Streaming App for Android and iOS devices lets you stream music from the device or others on your network to the soundbar via Bluetooth.
Another of Panasonics modes, 3D Clear Mode Dialogue, makes speech sound like its emanating from the TV screen. As Thor and Loki battle Algrim on Svartalfheim, punches and kicks boast terrific weight and theres a solid thump when Algrim hurls a rock at Thor.Dolby Virtual Speaker aims to generate a surround sound effect, which works in tandem with Panasonics own 3D surround technology to add extra width and height to the sound. The sub lends depth to drums and basslines but lacks the agility to stay truly in the pocket.
Next, read our Best Soundbars Roundup.Integration could be a little tighter and it lacks the subtlety of superior subs when conveying varying levels of intensity, but on the whole it does a stand-up job. Its mission is to boost the sound quality of your TV without the complications and clutter that come with traditional 5.That also leaves music sounding artificial, with vocals, instruments and high frequencies lacking the velvety hi-fi quality of the pricier Paradigm Soundscape or even the Wharfedale Vista 100.
Button organisation is haphazard too, particularly the up and down menu control keys at the bottom. The orientation of the recess makes it fairly tricky to access the sockets, especially if your cables are on the thick side. The Sound menu is where you can tinker with the sound modes, or activate Auto Gain Control to prevent big spikes in loudness and Low Volume Mode which boosts dialogue for low-level listening.SEE ALSO: Best TVs RoundupPanasonic hasnt skimped on connections.
At one end of the soundbar is a row of touch-sensitive controls an upgrade from the HTB480’s hard buttons, while the front display panel gives handy information like selected inputs and setup menus.1-channel sound, USB music playback, a prettier design and better overall sound quality.The SC-HTB680 is the middle man in Panasonics latest soundbar range, positioned one step up from the 2. The accompanying subwoofer is a large black box with a tacky plastic base.
As a result, some of Thors battles make for an uncomfortable listen.Should I buy the Panasonic SC-HTB680The SC-HTB680 gets a lot of things right, offering the sort of sonic thrills and spills you simply dont get from a flatscreen TV, but to be honest you can buy better soundbars for the money. It uses the same Delta Form design as the SC-HTB480, with a slanted top panel and low-profile shape that wont obstruct the screen when placed in front of the TV.The LG NB4540, for example, offers 4.
1 separates. However, when placed on a flat surface it faces upwards and cant be seen from the sofa, forcing you to get off your backside to see what it says. Setup lets you dim the LED display although thats not really a problem if you cant see it and change auto power, volume limit and Bluetooth options.The Virtual Speaker and 3D processing dont really achieve the claimed surround effect, although they do expand the width and height slightly.
The black speaker mesh and brushed silver trim is a winning combination, but most pleasing of all is the soundbars solid build quality.Panasonic SC-HTB680 FeaturesBluetooth is the highlight of the feature list, providing an easy way of streaming music, while NFC allows you to pair compatible devices simply by tapping them on the logo. But to be fair its a million times better than listening to music through your TV. Later, as Malekith unleashes the Aether in Greenwich of all places the sub is a constant presence, rumbling and pulsing as buildings and spaceships explode.
Theres a four-level dialogue booster, four subwoofer settings and H.The Setup and Sound buttons let you toggle through the menu categories on the LED panel. To better illustrate what were talking about, try turning off the subwoofer which we wouldnt suggest under normal circumstances. Theres on-board decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS but not Dolby True HD or DTS HD Master Audio although the soundbar will take a multichannel linear PCM signal thats been decoded by a Blu-ray deck.
The subwoofer is the main difference, lending a solid foundation to rowdy action scenes while raising the sense of scale and drama. Most importantly, its sound blows any flatscreen TV out of the water with its greater depth and dynamism. Be judicious with the subwoofer settings and H.1-channel SC-HTB480 but one below the range-topping 5.
The HDMI output is ARC compatible, which means you can pass sound from a compatible TV to the soundbar over a single cable. That is the news today. Have a great day!