Bose Solo review
Bose’s solo is (by Bose standards) an entry-level speaker system, but an important one; it is the first speaker base, a speaker designed to sit underneath your TV rather than in front of it like a sound bar, replacing the internal speakers with something a little more powerful but without blocking the IR blaster and stopping you from changing channels.
Back when we first reviewed the Solo, there weren't any other sound base products on the market, but the form factor has grown in popularity in the last two years and now there's plenty of choice. LG and Panasonic have models with built-in Bluetooth, while the Orbitsound SB60 airSound base costs £100 less than the Bose, so don't feel like the Solo is your only option for speakers that sit underneath your TV.
As with most Bose products, the Solo has a minimalist, sleek design, and it should go nicely with any TV, although the company recommends the speaker for use with a 42in or smaller set so it doesn’t end up crushed by the weight of a larger set. We could comfortably fit our 47in reference TV on top, but only because its stand is relatively compact and as an LED model it's fairly light - it's probably not a good idea to stick a chunky plasma set on top of the Solo.
Internally, there are four speaker drivers and two bass ports. It’s not a surround- sound system, but it should still provide a noticeable improvement over the limited drivers built into most flat-screen TVs.
Around the back, connectivity is limited to optical and coaxial digital inputs and a single stereo phono analogue connection. There’s also a USB port and 3.5mm jack socket, but these are for service use only. There are no HDMI inputs or pass-throughs, so you’ll need a source with the right outputs or you’ll have to run an output cable from your TV to the speaker. This is more fiddly than just passing HDMI through the Solo, but most TVs we’ve seen have some kind of optical or analogue output for stereo sound. All the cables you need for the inputs are included in the box, so you won’t have to buy them specifically for the system.
An incredibly basic remote control is included with the system, with buttons for power, mute and volume control. As the Solo is compatible with universal remotes, you could use one to control both TV and speakers to simplify your AV setup, but without an HDMI connection there was no way to use the Anynet+ universal function on our reference TV’s remote control.
For everyday broadcasts, the Solo speaker is an improvement over integrated TV drivers. It produced clear audio with ample volume, as well as a decent amount of bass. It worked very well with digital radio, with minimal distortion from the high end even during electronic and heavy rock tracks.
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