I'm a frustrated audiophile. I love amazing sound systems, but my Lovely Bride cannot tolerate the appearance of speakers, so . . . I'm kinda stuck with "sound bars." That said, for what it is, this unit rocks! When demonstrating it to my wife (I still needed to convince her, since even these tiny-and-elegant speakers are "speakers"), we started a movie with the Panasonic 50" TV's speakers. A few minutes into the movie I switched on the new system and she actually had to admit that it was worthwhile. The difference is actually quite amazing. Instead of listening to tinny little muddy-sounding speakers, all of a sudden the whole room fills with sound and voices seem to come from the faces instead of from the wall behind the TV.
I like the appearance of the sound bar below the TV instead of placed as individual speakers, so I did an experimental hookup in that manner first. It sounded lousy. No separation at all, and just a bit of an improvement over the TV speakers. Then I separated the speakers, mounted them on their bases and placed them at the outer edges of the TV. They are so elegant and built to the same look as the TV, so they look like they just belong there. Now the sound popped like it was supposed to.
The sub, for a small unit like this, does what it is supposed to. It won't shake the floor, but it does the job, and is easily tucked into an inconspicuous corner nearby. It does need to be left exposed, however, so the IR remote can "reach" the sensor.
The build quality of this set is actually amazing, but Panasonic is good for that. I chose the Panasonic plasma TV recently and then this speaker system because over the last 30 or 40 years of buying lots of audio equipment, TVs and other electric/electronic devices, I have never had a Panasonic anything fail me. Can't say that for Sony, Sanyo, Toshiba, Onkyo, etc., etc.
Why only 4 stars, then? Only because like many other reviewers have said, there seems to be no way to get the Viera link electronics to turn on the speakers with the TV. Off, yes. On, no. Panasonic has known about this for a long time and has not addressed the issue.
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