Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar – Review

Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar – Review


The Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar is as written on the box but it does include Bluetooth aptX which is a useful added extra. I have this far found this to be a really good soundbar, particularly compared to the matching LG soundbar I have with my flatscreen LG TV, the low end is of note compared to many other soundbar systems I’ve listened too.

Design

The Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar is action packed with six input sources

Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar

Inputs at the back. And Bluetooth

The Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar is action packed with six input sources, 1 x HDMI out (ARC, the signal return sysem), 2 x  HDMI in, Optical (stereo), Line in (3.5mm) and then Bluetooth A2DP, using the aptX decoder.

This 4 speaker (2 x 2 x 2.5 inch) set-up additionally has two bass radiators that are driven by a combined 90W of power to the drivers from the class D amplifier section.

I’m bound to say there is much to be said for the simplicity of setting up this product, in all respects

The back of the ‘bar is very simply designed with plenty of room for fat fingers.  The power lead and HDMIs are well apart.  Indeed, I’m bound to say there is much to be said for the simplicity of setting up this product, in all respects.  I had this soundbar out of the box and set-up in minutes, I’m not one for instruction manuals.

On the same theme, the front display, with a power button, source selector, listening mode and volume buttons is neatly shown.  The Roth digital signal processor offers three sound presets: Music, Movie and Voice, to be honest the Voice mode isn’t the best and Music suits me best for all features, films, Bluetooth etc. but at least there is a choice.

There are two wall mounting brackets available at the back, not needed for me as I have packed the ‘bar in front of my TV, the height is a bit of an issue as I now need to lift my TV remote in the air to turn it on, but no big deal.  The soundbar switches itself on and off.

Quality

Roth Sub Zero III SoundbarI would not call this the most luxurious piece of equipment I have come across in recent years, however at this price that is the way it is.  Certainly, once it is in-situ there is nothing to notice at all, if I’m honest.  The small screen at the front is pretty useless but at least it is there to lean towards if you are struggling with source inputs, volume and the like, I seem to recall wanting a screen of any kind with the excellent Roth soundcore  a while back, so no complaints here.  The remote control is basic, is totally intuitive and it works fine.

Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar Performance

Bluetooth

This is a very simple set-up, indeed and my Nexus 6P has been very happy with connectivity with no dropouts or the like.  The sound output, I have to say, is surprisingly good and would have no complaints at a dinner party or in a kitchen with the overall output.  Indeed, you could argue as a Bluetooth speaker, it is as good as you might find out-there at this price (around £120).  I played a 24 bit copy of ‘I Promise’ from Radiohead’s OKNOTOK remaster from my phone using PowerAmp… Wow!  The military drum beat is clear and detailed and noteworthy.  Vocals are clear and there is a compact but very acceptable stereo image.  I am bound to say I’m surprised but the slightly lower powered Sub Zero II should have prepared me for the likability of this ‘bar.

Line In

I’ve had a play with an iPod and the Line in is as good as you would want it to be.  It is also a useful input mode if you have an older TV.

Optical

I’ve been using this input mode for a good few weeks now.  It is excellent.  There are, as I have alluded to, three listening modes.  Voice removes bass resonance but I’m not liking the sound here and the voice on a News channel is not so clear, as it seems to me…  Music Mode is best for me (I found this with the Sub II).  Movie Mode adds more depth and bass but I feel it all gets a bit cluttered at higher volume in this setting.  After several weeks of ‘Blue Planet 2’, ‘Strictly’ and a Manchester Derby (!) and other regular TV with the family, Music Mode has won out for its balance.  With a Blue Ray disc (The Force Awakens) in the Oppo UDP-205 the sound output is excellent.  The volume does go up quite nicely but don’t expect to be rattled out of your wits when an Imperial Star Destroyer passes across your screen.  Still in ‘Music’ mode, this is still a good buzz though.  On this note the volume is limited by the device so it doesn’t rattle off the wall, you may argue that you would want more volume but I think there is enough here for what it is and you should try this first time you listen so you know where you are.

Overall

I’m very impressed.  You could have this as a Bluetooth speaker on top of your cupboards in the kitchen and be very pleased with it as a Bluetooth speaker.  As a soundbar I would recommend a good listen.  It is staying in my lounge until it is recalled and it will be missed when it goes.  Anyone want a second hand LG soundbar, one careful owner!?

Love

Bluetooth

Music Mode

Detail in general listening

Like

Price

Blends into the background after set up

Auto Off

Wish

There was an intermediate ‘Music&Movie’ mode for Imperial Star Destroyers

I knew why it is called Sub Zero

The Roth Sub Zero III Soundbar is retailing near £120 at this date and is on Amazon and in Richer Sounds and others.

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