Cambridge Audio is back with a 2.1-channel speaker base, the TV5, perfect for a reasonably priced upgrade to your home’s audio system. It’s a sleek speaker base with built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming. At $399, it’s a beautiful addition underneath any size TV and you won’t need an external subwoofer to make sure the bass is pumping.
Sitting pretty under a heavy TV could be a challenge for most speaker bases, but not for the TV5. It has a sturdy, composite wood construction that’s made to hold any TV that’ll fit on top of its 725mm x 340mm base. That same construction also minimizes vibration and distortion for pure sound.
Inside the composite wood construction lie two 57mm Balanced Mode Radiator drivers and two 165mm subwoofer drivers. The BMR drivers face the front of the speaker to aim the sound at the audience while the subwoofer drivers are aimed downward to spread out he bass throughout the room. The amplifier puts out 100W of power, which is enough sound to fill a moderately sized room.
The TV5 has three physical audio connections, other than the wireless Bluetooth option. The three physical options are: TosLink Optical, RCA, and a 3.5mm jack. The TV5 comes with cables for all three options. You might be wondering why there’s no HDMI jack, but remember that this is a speaker and does not transmit video through unit. I used TosLink Optical in my testing setup and it was a breeze. Using Bluetooth is crazy easy, as you can pair up to 8 separate devices with the TV5. And speaking of Bluetooth, if your device supports aptX, you can stream music in greater detail for better sound.
The TV5 also comes with a simple remote for ease of use. There are options for choosing which input to use, a large mute button in the middle of directional buttons that allow you to choose different sound profiles for music, film, voice, and TV. There’s also a Bluetooth input option and a Bluetooth pairing button that works like a charm. And, of course, there are volume up/down buttons toward the bottom and a power button on the top. The TV5 also has infrared remote learning so if you don’t want to use the included remote, your cable, satellite, or universal remote can learn how to operate the TV5.
Another neat feature of the TV5 is that it will automatically power on when sound input is detected and it will also automatically power off after a few seconds of no sound input. This makes the TV5 a super-simple speaker to use in conjunction with any home theater system.
During my testing, I tried watching a movie, watching the TV news, and listening to music through the TV5 in my basement TV setup (See photo below). While watching a movie, the sound effects were clear and bass boomed through the action sequences. While watching the news, the news anchors voices were extremely clear. And while listening to music, the sound quality was crisp while the bass was heavy enough to be heard but not too heavy to drown out the music, but may not be enough for bass lovers. Overall, I had a great experience with the TV5, both in ease of setup, ease of use, and sound quality. No matter what I was listening to, I felt like the sound was loud enough to fill my entire basement.
The downside of the affordable TV5 is that there aren’t any bass or treble controls on the unit, now allowing the sound to be at all customizable. There also aren’t any digital audio processors like Dolby to truly flesh out surround sound. But these are typically items found on more expensive speaker systems, so it isn’t too shocking to see their absence.
I would highly recommend the $399 TV5 to anyone looking for an inexpensive way to upgrade his or her listening experience from the built-in television speakers. Built-in television speakers are no way to enjoy a movie, you deserve better, and you deserve the Cambridge Audio TV5.
You can purchase the Cambridge Audio TV5 online through Amazon.
Source: The Cambridge Audio TV5 provided to me as a review loaner by the manufacturer.
What I Like: Beautiful, simple design; Sturdy construction; Bluetooth connectivity; Room-filling sound; Decent bass; Simple remote; Auto on/off
What Needs Improvement: Better bass performance; More sound customization