Saturday, 29 August 2015 15:40

LG Musicflow - you can have music wherever you go (review)

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LG have a range of Musicflow speakers that can become part of the Musicflow sound bar system or simply used for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth streaming around the home.

iTWire has reviewed the Musicflow sound bars HS7 and HS9 here and concluded that these are excellent and easier to use alternatives to traditional AV amplifiers and speakers.

The Musicflow speakers comprise:

R1  – a Wi-Fi bridge repeater to boost low Wi-Fi signals. You would only use the R1 in the case of low Wi-Fi signals where you place it inside the edge of the ‘good’ Wi-Fi signal strength ‘map’ and it retransmits effectively doubling the distance from the router.

 

H3 - $249, 30W woofer and 10W tweeter, mono

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H4 - $279 portable, 4 hour, battery, speaker, 2 x 10W, stereo with 3.5mm audio in

 

H5 - $399, 2 x 20W, stereo

 

 

 

 

H7 - $549, 2 x 35W, stereo

All speakers share the same basic operations and the main difference is the speaker output in Watt RMS.

 

 

 

Connectivity

Ethernet LAN (except H4), Wi-Fi Dual Band, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC (Android only). Bluetooth will stream audio from a Bluetooth smart device.

All require a 240V power connection. The H4 has a 6-hour rechargeable battery.

App

Musicflow app for iOS or Android required for stand-alone or multi-speaker use. The app can also group speakers to control them as one. If they are not grouped, separate music plays on each speaker.

Musicflow is a competent app for music streaming or playing your own content. It has the ability to set up playlists, curate collections and even play different styles of music. It has settings for sound type (effects) etc.

You can also connect to a media server DLNA device (Mac, PC, NAS etc.) using Music Flow PC software or Mac OS Nero MediaHome 4 essentials.

It can also set alarms to wake to music.

You can also use two speakers and pair them for stereo.

Controls

A wheel button controls volume and the centre is for on/off. The units power down after 20 minutes without use.

Wi-Fi connection can be by push button (if the router supports it) or via the app.

Quality

These are essentially wireless, amplified speakers. They play .mp3, .wma, .flac, .m4a, .aac, .ogg, and .wav audio files. The amplifier has a sample frequency of 48 to 192 kHz and a Bit rate up to 320 kbps. In other words, they will all play almost all audio files at reasonable quality.

All have 10% Total Harmonic Distortion meaning that at full volume the sound is distorted yet for 90% of typical use this is not evident.

Let’s just say that they compare favourably with sound from Ultimate Ears, Samsung, Klipsch, Braven, Bose and many more.

Looks

Looks – attractiveness – is in the eye of the beholder. These share the same design cues – somewhat silver grey with a rectangular aspect (except the H3 – it is more a small bookshelf speaker). They will fit into most modern décor.

Would I buy?

The bottom line is that these are no better or worse than the tsunami of good Bluetooth speakers so if that is all you want – something to stream from your smartphone – then you have a very wide choice.

If however you want to set up a whole of home Wi-Fi/LAN/Bluetooth setup to stream music and use the sound bars as well then there is nothing to compare. The product is easy to set up (and LG has lots of help and videos on the web site) and will do much more than you could ever expect from the Android or iOS app. I particularly like the networkability so I can also use a PC, Mac or DLNA sever as well for my own audio content.

So yes. I would use a pair of H3 (bookshelf) as rear speakers with the HS7 or HS9 sound bars, the H4 portable is fine for the kitchen or on the move, and the H5 and H7 (larger) for mid to large size bedrooms or studies.

LG – Life’s Good. Oh and go to the major retailers like Hardly Normal, JBs, Good Guys and Appliances Online to bag some deals. The later has the range at some amazing prices and includes free delivery but I am sure the brick and mortar stores will match prices!


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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