Performance - I
Features and design implementation are have their hits and misses, but performance is what justifies the purchase of a sound bar. One obviously does not shell out in excess of S$1000 to get audio that can be provided by regular stereo systems that cost much less (minus the surround capabilities). The Philips HTS7140 does have the hardware, in the shape of 6.5-inch subwoofer driver and multiple full range 2.5-inch drivers to re-create all the audio channels required, but will the device make its mark in its product category?
MP3 Audio Testing
We played our regular selection of MP3 tracks using a USB drive plugged directly into the Philips HTS7140. The sound bar had no problems is recognizing the MP3 tracks, but m4a files were incompatible with the system.
Starting off with Sail On Soothsayer by Buckethead, the HTS7140 began on the wrong foot. Loose bass lacking direction and tightness was heard. Distortion on the guitars sounded sprawling and the rhythm guitar lacked definition as well. The treble was also weak which meant that the tune lacked the bite required to really make it come alive.
Adele’s Melt My Heart to Stone further confirmed the weak mids and trebles which were evidenced first on the Buckethead track. Overall, the song had a sluggish quality to it and the instrumentation felt flat. This lead to the softness and emotion of the song being almost entirely absent.
When listening to Hotel California by The Eagles, shakers and alternate percussions sounded muffled. Loose bass in general was observed once again and persisted through our listening of the trance track Elements of Life by Tiesto. The general muddiness of sound experienced is a pitfall of using bass reflex ports and the Philips HTS7140 was unable to overcome this characteristic of the design they chose to employ.
After extensive listening we found that settings for the Philips HTS7140 Sound bar had to be tweaked significantly before its performance could meet the mark somewhat. We would recommend bumping up Treble to +3, while shifting Mid to +2 in order to get the best sound from the sound bar. Here's how the tracks fared in general:-
|Hotel California - The Eagles||7.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||7.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||7.5|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||7.0|