Friday, August 19, 2011

Coby CSMP88 Soundbar Review

When it comes to sound, the speakers that are built into TV's don't always cut it. Let's face it, TV's are all about the picture. The audio is not always a priority. My current Westinghouse LCD TV is a good example of poor audio. It sounds really thin and tinny. It's listenable, but barely. Soundbars are a really good way to easily fix bad TV sound. The Coby CSMP88 is a good solution for fixing the problem.

Soundbars are basically just that, a cabinet that looks like a bar. Some are designed to mount on the wall. Some are designed to sit on your cabinet. And they also have an array of speakers to help your TV sound better. Many soundbars also feature some form of sound processing for a simulated surround sound. The Coby CSMP88 also has these features.

It's features and specs include:
Complete surround experience from a single speaker
Go from plain stereo to 3D Sound powered by Sonic emotion™
Easy Plug & Play setup - no calibration or cabling needed!
Hear what you've been missing from your TV or MP3 player
Enjoy your favorite movies, music, and games in unheard dimensions with 3D sound technology.
Simply connect to your TV or MP3 player to enjoy rich 3D sound.
Advanced wavefield synthesis eliminates the dead zones found in traditional surround technology.
All listeners are immersed in balanced 3D sound!
Six high-efficiency drivers combine with the built-in subwoofer to deliver a stunning audio experience.

With an MSRP of $149.00, it's quality is quite good. It came in a printed box with a picture of the soundbar, and a list of some of it's specs and features. Opening the box found the Coby CSMP88 well protected in molded styrofoam. Included accessories are a remote control, batteries for the remote, audio cable, and owners manual. Getting to the soundbar, I was surprised in the weight. It had a good heft to it and seemed well put together with wood panels. Below is a subwoofer and an array of four speakers on the front, and one on each of the two sides, protected by speaker grills. Overall, quality of components and construction appeared good.

Hooking up the soundbar was very simple. You do not need any experience in hooking up stereo gear to get the Coby CSMP88 up and running. The included audio cable connects to the audio out connections on your TV. It then gets connected to the audio input on the soundbar. Connect the power cord to the back of the soundbar, and then plug it into the wall jack. That's it. Now it's time to hear how it sounds.

The sound provided by the Coby was a step up from the built-in TV speakers. The larger sized speaker array with the bottom firing woofer gives a much fuller sound. The standard mode uses the four front facing speaker. Using the remote to switch to the Coby 3D mode activated the two side mounted speakers. This did give a more 3Dish larger soundstage.

Keeping in mind that this is not a $500 high-end soundbar, it did sound good. The resolution is not out of this world, but for it's price point, it did sound good. Vocals were clear and audible. The sound was also quite full sounding. It didn't sound thin or tinny. And the woofer which they call a subwoofer mounted on the bottom of the cabinet did have some good bass extension and ok output. It would not replace a surround sound system, but the 3D mode did give a much wider soundstage. The Colby CSMP88 performed well, and as advertised.

TV manufacturers have a difficult time in getting decent sound in a thin TV cabinet, and they often fail by many of our standards. Luckily there are products like the Colby CSMP88 That are here to fill that need economically. With an MSRP of $149, it performed well. Based on it's quality, features, and performance it has earned our Value Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at