Evolve Soundbar 

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While devices, such as televisions, smartphones and tablets, have their own speaker facility, you can enhance this output with the addition of a soundbar.

Evolve Audio SB 2501 Soundbar System
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While the product number SB-2501 gives very little away regarding this piece of kit, an inspection of the packaging from Evolve Audio reveals that it is a soundbar with wireless sub-woofer and wireless headphones.  Accompanying these elements are an assortment of leads, remote control and button battery plus a Quick Start Guide and User Manual.  The leads cover mains power, USB charging facility and connectivity between the soundbar and a television.

Decked out predominately in black, apart from a matte silver Evolve logo, the soundbar has dimensions of 825 x 45 x 55mm (W x D x H).  Centrally positioned on the front face of the brushed aluminium casing is a touch-sensitive control panel with rather difficult to distinguish options for power, effect, source, volume, 3D sound, Bluetooth and wireless audio.  Located on the rear of the unit are connections for the 12V power lead, optical, RCA and 3.5mm jack options plus the power switch.  Concealed within the soundbar are a built-in 24-bit audio DSP, 24-bit audio codec and 2.4GHz digital wireless audio transceiver plus six 40mm 4ohm high efficiency acoustic drivers capable of delivery 60 Watts output.

Matching the same colour scheme as the soundbar, the sturdy looking sub-woofer has dimensions of 335 x 172 x 245mm (D x W x H).  This wooden cabinet features a 6-inch drive unit capable of 60 Watt output.  Positioned on the rear of the sub-woofer are the DC 15V connection, USB charger port, power switch and a pairing button if you need to re-establish the wireless connection between the soundbar and sub-woofer.  As the two modules are pre-paired, reconnection should only be required if the original link is broken for some reason.

If by any chance the automatic pairing between the soundbar and sub-woofer is not established then pressing the appropriate pairing buttons on both components for two seconds should complete the task.  A similar process is used to connect the wireless headphones but this time with a three second press. 

The headphones are of the on-the-ear style with a rigid unpadded headband.  Below this headband is a leather strap and flexible metal strip which allows for adjusting the headphones to fit different head sizes.  Touch-sensitive controls on the outside of the right ear piece provide power and volume adjustment features.  This ear piece also houses the USB port for charging the headphones using the supplied lead.  Perhaps partly due to the fact that the headphones only just managed to reach my ears but mainly because they were rather uncomfortable to wear for even short sessions, I feel that these phones could be rather underused. 

Unfortunately it does appear that these headphones are the only ones that work with this audio set up.  While you can pair devices using Bluetooth this does not apply to headphones.  This soundbar can only be paired with devices, such as smartphones or tablets, that stream audio content and not ones that receive the content.

There was a minor hiccup in setting up this kit as the supplied instructions mentioned using the power lead with the attached blue tag.  Unfortunately this blue tag had become separated from the appropriate lead.  However a quick check of the supplied two leads (one for the soundbar and the other for the sub-woofer) reveals that there were marked 12V (soundbar) or 15V (sub-woofer) which solved the problem. 

Other than this setting up was straightforward and trouble-free until I came to use the remote control.  Whichever button I pressed had no effect.  However the cause was not down to the device but how I had positioned the button battery in the remote’s compartment.  The battery needs to be inserted under a small sprung metal lever on one side of the compartment.  Once I carried out this task, the remote was able to work.  It would be useful if this insertion information could be added to the product’s Owner Manual.

The remote unit allows you to adjust the volume and base levels plus cycle between AUX input sources along with effects designated as Music, Movie, News and Sport.  You can switch on/off the 3D or Definitive Surround Sound effect, Bluetooth mode and power.  There is also an option to turn off any LED lights glowing on the front of the soundbar in case it is distracting.  However with this last feature I found that the lights will turn themselves back out usually after about an hour.

The Evolve 2501 product’s audio performance is reasonable, certainly better than I get from my early Sony Bravia television but not outstanding.  I was unable to detect any difference between the four sound effects mode so that I never really knew which mode was currently active.  Evolve has priced this product at £199.99 with currently offering the product with a 7p discount.

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OverallEvolve SB-2501 rated 64 out of 100

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