We were recently sent a sound system to review, and I won't lie that my husband's eyes lit up when he saw the delivery. As a result, I've asked him to write the review as he is more technical in these matters than I am!
The boxes in the hallway were the first clue that something interesting was afoot. Arriving in four separate packages, the largest being easily 4 foot long, the LG MusicFlow system that we had been invited to review was difficult to miss!
The set consisted of five separate components, designed to work together to give a fully immersive sound system:
- two speakers with touch sensitive adjustment dials on the top, a very light stroke of the dial and the volume adjusted up or down quickly;
- a sound bar and subwoofer (comes in the same package);
- and a hub to coordinate the audio.
They also came with an additional feature that was unexpected: wireless audio.
The hub looks innoculous enough, however after using it for a while it becomes obvious what a remarkably clever little device LG have come up with. It plugs directly into your home's WiFi router, and can be managed through the MusicFlow app that LG make available through individual device's app stores. Once switched on, it creates its own wireless network that the individual speakers can connect to (each has a "connect" button on it to initate the connection) and share audio.
The audio itself can come from a number of different sources. The mobile app supports playing local audio or streaming through online services such as Napster or Spotify, whilst the sound bar supports a wide range of inputs including HDMI (with an accompanying HDMI output allowing it to pass-through video from Bluray players or Sky+ boxes). The sound of four seemingly-unconnected speakers in three different rooms playing the same perfectly-synchronised audio was music to my ears.
There are a few downsides, unfortunately. The setup took quite a while due to all the different instruction leaflets supplied; an overarching document describing how to set up the system as a whole would have definitely been an advantage given that I had several false starts. More seriously, the MusicFlow app itself, at least on iOS, was very buggy and would crash with irritating frequency; hopefully that's something they'll fix in due course, but it didn't help my frustration with the setup.
On the plus side, when it did work it worked well. Given that I was running the system through an iPhone I wasn't able to test the NFC support, but linking speakers together to play one audio stream through one and a second through the others was a very powerful feature that worked well. The music flow bar was equally impressive (and the cheery "hello" from the built-in LEDs was a nice touch), although LG do appear to recommend at least a 42" television to avoid it looking too out-of-place – it's only a few centimeters shy of a meter long! We temporarily set it up on the television stand while we found the right wall fixings for it.
We set the sound system up in my sister's house and due to the wireless system, she was able to play Dr. Who on the televison in the living room, while my nephew could hear it playing in the playroom via one wireless speaker, and my brother-in-law listened in via another speaker in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Very nifty indeed! Hopefully you can hear in the first part of the above video the difference between the television's normal speakers and when we turn the sound bar on.
Finally, and needless to say, the actual audio quality was outstanding.
We were sent the LG Musicflow sound systerm for the purpose of this review, our opinion is honest and unbiased.