Outside of truly one-off pieces by the likes of Wisdom Audio and Leon Speakers, it’s difficult for me to even type the words soundbars and custom installation in the same sentence without my brain gravitating toward that old Sesame Street song: “One of these things is not like the other; One of these things just doesn’t belong.”
TruAudio’s SLIM-300-G Slim LCR Soundbar, a product whose box should really be labeled, in big, bold letters, “This is a custom-installed product designed by custom installers to be used by custom installers in custom installations.”Granted, I’ve extolled the virtues of cozying up to soundbars before in these pages, if only to extend your profitability into rooms of the house where space, budget, or general apathy make a full-blown surround sound speaker system a nonpossibility. But really, have you ever tried to wall mount most of the things? At best, you might get a couple of key holes in the back to poke screws through, but you’re completely on your own when it comes to doing anything with the wires. If the average soundbar installation looks good, chances are it’s because you put a not-insignificant amount of work into it.
At the complete opposite end of that spectrum, though, is TruAudio’s SLIM-300-G Slim LCR Soundbar, a product whose box should really be labeled, in big, bold letters, “This is a custominstalled product designed by custom installers to be used by custom installers in custom installations.” Because once you pull the SLIM-300 out of the box, every square inch of its solid, one-piece, extruded aluminum chassis positively screams that message.
You can order a SLIM-STAND for placing the TruAudio’s SLIM-300-G
Slim LCR Soundbar on a TV stand, if that makes more sense for a particular room.Before we dig into all of the things that make this soundbar such a boon for integrators, a few words about the design in and of itself. At 42 inches wide, the SLIM- 300 is a near perfect match for the 50-inch Panasonic plasma in my bedroom in terms of width, and at an itsy-bitsy 2.2 inches deep, it barely protrudes past the bottom of the TV. (Do keep in mind that the TV is mounted on the Lodging Innovations Installation Friendly cleat mount I reviewed a few issues back, so the bottom of the TV is flush with the wall; given a mount with any bulk at all, chances are that the face of the SLIM-300 would fit flush with the face of the TV, or perhaps even recede slightly.)
That’s really only the sort of thing you appreciate once the SLIM-300 is mounted, though. What makes it a truly installer-aimed piece of kit are the little touches that help the actual installation become such a breeze. For one thing, it comes with an ultra-slim cleat mount in the box that affixes to the wall with just a few screws. Complementing that is a channel carved into the back of the soundbar that the cleat mount slips into so easily, so intuitively, that’d you’d swear that angels were guiding your hands, if you believe in that sort of thing.
You can also order a SLIM-STAND for placing the soundbar on a TV stand, if that makes more sense for a particular room. TruAudio sent one along for review, and although it works beautifully, elevates the soundbar to alleviate resonance, and looks gorgeous, I really preferred the sound of the SLIM-300 when it was wall mounted. That may have more to do with the surfaces in my room, though, than the design of the soundbar itself. TruAudio also offers the SLIMTVB Flatscreen Bracket for mounting the SLIM- 300 directly to a TV via its VESA mounting holes, if you’ve got a client that tends to redecorate or move frequently.
Either way you choose to install it, the handy speaker wire channels carved into the bottom of the back of the SLIM-300 make cable management a breeze, and result in a tidy-looking installation with next to no effort. That’s an important consideration, given that the SLIM-300 isn’t selfpowered, so you’ll still need to run three speaker cables from a receiver or amp to its three springloaded binding posts.
Getting back to the sound, I have to admit to being a bit shocked at the quality of audio pumping out of this skinny little beauty. Perhaps my expectations were simply low, given my experience with the category, but I’ve found myself taken aback a few times by the wonderfully cinematic quality of the speakers. It’s what I would describe as a crisp sound–not overly bright, but with an emphasis on sparkle. Dialogue is never anything less than intelligible, even with the densest of soundtracks, like my go-to Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray–especially during the Mines of Moria sequence, where sussing out the dialogue from the ambient soundscape can be a little iffy with some speakers.
Whether boisterous or whispery, voices are delivered with pronounced crystal clarity, but despite a subjective feeling at first that it leaned a little heavily on the high end, the SLIM-300, in all my listening, never fails to blend beautifully with the Sunfire ATMOS sub in the room, and never suffers from the frequency gap that so often plagues speakers this slight in size. A crossover point of 100Hz seemed to be exactly the right fit, which leaves the SLIM-300 with plenty to do in the film’s action sequences, and never once does it complain.
There’s no doubt that the SLIM-300 is better suited to movies than music. With surround sound DVD-audio discs like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, it actually sounds quite solid–not mind-blowingly audiophile “wow,” but solid nonetheless–and forms a cohesive whole with the Polk Blackstone TL3s I’m using as surrounds at the moment; in stereo, though, the music falls a little flat.
So, perhaps not the best speaker system to install in a room in which stereo music listening is a critical consideration (although, really, what soundbar is?), but in every other respect, it’s a wonderfully performing speaker system that installs beautifully, quickly, easily, and–perhaps most importantly– flexibly.
TruAudio’s SLIM-300-G Slim LCR Soundbar is a wonderfully cinematic speaker system, despite its slim depth, and features a design that is, in every way, shape, and form, tailored to the custom installation market.
None worth noting, unless you’re intent upon using it in a two-channel audiophile setup. In which case, you’re the one I’m concerned about.
• Woofers: (6) 3.5-inch Black Carbon Fiber
• Tweeter: (3) 1-inch Titanium
• Impedance: 8 ohms
• Frequency Response: 100- 20k Hz (+/-3 dB)
• Sensitivity: 90 dB
• Grill Type: Cloth
• Dimensions: 42 inches (1066mm) x 5.9 inches (150mm) x 2.2 inches (56mm)