LG Music Flow review | What Hi-Fi?

LG is the newest logo to sign up for the multi-room celebration with its new Music Flow vary – the family is made up of H3 (£150), H5 (£230) and H7 (£350) lively wireless audio system, an R1 Bridge (£50), and a HS6 Soundbar (£500). Features are in abundance: Bluetooth, built-in wi-fi, DLNA functionality and near-field communication (NFC) around the vary.

The absolute best bit? All speakers reinforce high-res WAV and FLAC information up to 24-bit/192kHz; topping the Sonos, while matching the potential of the pricier, Award-winning Bluesound device.

The price here's the cheapest conceivable multi-room set-up, consisting of 2 H3 audio system, however after all you'll mix ‘n’ match. The audio system are essentially for music, but can be utilized in a home cinema setting, operating with the HS6 soundbar as rear encompass channels.

(The Bridge isn’t a compulsory purchase for multi-room, however in the event you forgo it, one speaker in the set-up must have a stressed out connection to your router) LG claims its mesh community era and twin band wi-fi (2.4/5GHz) promises stable and ‘uninterrupted’ playback.

So a long way so excellent, then – however how just right is efficiency?

Performance

Ultimately, we can’t lend a hand however feel slightly disenchanted with the Music Flow’s sound as a whole. Each speaker delivers a rather detailed and simply listenable sound that may be a bit protected and restrained, missing the perception, steadiness and energy of the respective Award winners at their worth.

We in finding the small H3’s sound transparent, detailed and of a measurement that extends its bodily proportions. But it struggles to check the Cambridge Audio Go’s element and weight, and overall presentation is a little undernourished. Hints of too much brightness within the treble seem as the cymbals in Jamie Cullum’s Trippin’ Up fill the soundfield, too.

Moving up in price and measurement, we've the weak link in the circle of relatives: the H5’s bottom-heavy persona makes Cullum’s stark, quite raspy vocals muffled and a tad boomy. We be expecting extra expression, stability and a minimum of an inkling of dynamic aptitude at this price, but the H5 offers us very little to chunk on as we feed it the dynamic and complex The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack.

The marginally less expensive Monitor Audio Airstream S200 (£200) blows it away with its clear, lively and remarkably detailed presentation.

The H3’s decent element ranges are within the H5, too, while the H7 is definitely the most productive of the bunch. It delivers the most important, maximum dynamic and expressive sound of the lot – and is healthier ready to select the subtlety and variation of the piano notes in Regina Spektor’s The Flowers than its friends. You get a deeper – however no longer particularly better outlined – bassline in a 24-bit/192kHz-resolution file of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, and steadiness is best than its smaller siblings.

Still, our favourite Geneva Model S Wireless DAB+ one-ups the H7 in virtually each and every manner, greedy the genteel, tremulous nature of Alison Krauss’s vocals in That Kind of Love that the H7 largely misses.

The HS6 soundbar reveals itself in a similar position as its hi-fi counterparts. Load up The Amazing Spider-Man and a just right level of detail is present. Spidey’s internet shooter is crisp.

The soundfield may not be the biggest we’ve heard at this worth from a soundbar (Yamaha triumphs there) but LG’s patented Stereo Field Extension (SFX) – designed to create a larger candy spot and enlarge the encompass sound effect – seems effective: the sound easily spreads the width of our 65in Samsung television tube.

Turning the bass down somewhat on the sub and ensuring the EQ is set to ‘Standard’ (there’s ‘Cinema’, ‘Flat Boost’, ‘Treble/Bass’ and our 2nd favorite, ‘Music’, too) will get the best stability shape the HS6, however we nonetheless in finding presentation markedly underweight. The Q Acoustics Media 4 is £A hundred less expensive and even though it doesn’t have the HS6’s characteristic rely, has a much larger, dynamic and solid sound – not to point out more perception.

Set-up

It’s a shame concerning the so-so sound high quality across the board, since the Music Flow gets the whole lot else beautiful spot-on. Set up is relatively simple; we are up and working inside a couple of mins. There’s no far off for the speakers: the Music Flow Player app (free, iOS and Android) is the speakers’ control hub.

This takes you thru a beginner-friendly set-up, which finishes with opting for three favorite genres of music and by stating ‘how you are feeling’, in order that the app can counsel songs; a pleasing personalized touch, indeed. The app’s interface is lovely simple. The sidebar makes it easy to get right of entry to the tool’s files, or music saved over a house community, as well as so as to add audio system to the set-up and regulate their playback (one tune can play on all audio system or each speaker can play a special song).

It’s additionally a gateway into streaming services and products like Napster, Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn. The app is liable to being just a little buggy under more advanced instruction, like changing the grouping of speakers. It chucked us out of the app on our Apple iPad 4 on occasion when we have been juggling playback on all audio system without delay. The Android version proved just as flaky throughout such operations, too.

You can get entry to a listing of songs you’ve ‘liked’, or get song ideas consistent with your ‘temper’– on a Monday morning we picked ‘gloomy’, and it whipped up a playlist of suitably melancholic music. A neat trick is the speakers’ ability to take over the music taking part in on an NFC-compatible smartphone or tablet by means of simply tapping it on the top left of the speaker (or on the right-hand aspect, within the H3’s case).

Build and design

We like the design – the trio of speakers are fashionable and nicely matched with glossy, silver fascias and a inflexible chassis that’s sturdier than it could glance. The H5 and quite better H7 are hexagonal-shaped, and friendly-looking speakers with clean surfaces and well tapered corners (bar a few tough edges we found on our H5 sample).

LG has long past for basic capability; there’s just a single all-in-one button (for power on/off and input changing) at the centre of a quantity dial this is smooth to operate and has well-thought-out ridges to forestall your finger slipping off.

A small white mild sits beneath the enter icons to show which is in use, even though those can be grew to become off via the app. There’s additionally LAN and 3.5mm inputs across the back, in addition to buttons to attach the speakers to each other.

The baby H3 is obviously a part of the same family – with its curvy-cornered silver chassis – regardless that it resembles a tiny bookshelf speaker with its cuboidal body. Otherwise, the beauty differences are delicate: the quantity dial is contact keep watch over this time, and the rear buttons are smaller than at the H5 and H7.

Perhaps more necessary is the H3’s loss of a three.5mm enter – connection is by way of ethernet cable or wi-fi simplest. It’s heavier than it seems – in spite of its small measurement, it’s rarely hand (or man) bag-friendly. Even the HS6 soundbar appears to be like love it’s lower from the similar material.

The silver (and yes, glossy) bar is a reproduction of the LG NB4540 (£280), however rather wider at 102cm – kind of the width of a 48in TV. That’s a just right thing, to mention the least. Despite being double the NB4540’s worth, design continues to be up to scratch with its opponents – the mirror-like steel body, fronted by means of hole-patterned grille is as flat and unobtrusive as you’d need a soundbar to be.

The bright text display and fancy, but functional, far off makes it easy to function, too. With optical, 3.5mm, USB and HDMI inputs and a HDMI output onboard, the HS6 has a lot of options for connecting in your device. The bar’s partnering wi-fi sub is less familiar: tall, slim but deep, it’s virtually entirely wrapped in material and attractive through sub requirements. It’s no longer one you’d necessarily want to conceal away – however needs will have to.

Verdict

LG has gone big on options with its first multi-room style, however the Music Flow goes home with only three stars because of a disappointing efficiency. Sound quality could be better. Much higher. The H7 displays promise, and two (or extra) of them would be our combination of choice with the Music Flow. But even then, we’d a lot quicker pick one thing from the Sonos or Bluesound line-up for top of the range.

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