Customer Reviews: LG Electronics NB3530A Sound Bar System (2014 Model)
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on May 11, 2013
Those just starting their search for a soundbar might want to look at the three important tips below for buying and evaluating equipment in 2013: 1. Check your TV's inputs and outputs before you buy a soundbar. 2. Opt for Bluetooth and HDMI connections. 3. Use the system for several hours over a couple of days to let the speakers break in a bit before judging sound quality. If you are familiar with these three concepts just scroll on down to the product review.

1. TV inputs and outputs. Depending on age and equipment, there are many potential ways to hook up soundbars to TVs; some will produce excellent audio and others will reduce the sound signal to simple stereo that lacks some of the Dolby enhancements (ask your salesperson what this means if you don't already know). To be sure you get the best possible audio, look at the back and/or side of your TV set to see which inputs and outputs you have, list them on a piece of paper, give the information to a salesperson on the phone or at your local electronics dealer/big box store, and ask which soundbars will work best with your TV. You might also want to take a picture of the back of your TV on your cell phone so your salesperson can actually see what the input/output options are. If you can't tell what kind of inputs and outputs your TV has and you don't have a cell phone to take a picture with, tell the salesperson the brand and model of your TV and he/she can probably look it up to find out what kind of connections your TV has/needs. This is especially important because some older TVs don't have optical or HDMI connections or don't send sound via an optical cable, which means your soundbar will have reduced-quality sound or even no sound at all. All of this may seem overly technical and unnecessary because it is well known that soundbars generally cannot produce the true surround sound of a 5.1 or 7.1 system anyway. However, you are paying your hard-earned money and you should get the best possible audio your TV and soundbar can provide at whatever your price point might be.

2. Bluetooth and HDMI. Many of the soundbars becoming available in 2013 have Bluetooth built in, which will let you stream your music from your phone, iPod, iPad, PC, etc. This is extremely convenient, so make sure the soundbar you buy has Bluetooth even if it costs a few dollars more; you'll be glad you did. HDMI connections, especially with ARC (your salesperson will tell you what that is), will give you the best possible sound from and control of your TV and soundbar.

3. Break-in. Yes, speakers need time to break in, so don't make a final judgment about the quality of your soundbar without playing the unit for at least several hours over a period of a few days. Also, be sure to try various sound sources, settings and sub locations to find the optimal ones for your situation. If after break-in the soundbar doesn't meet your needs and standards, return or exchange it. Before you buy, make sure you know what the seller's return policies are so you can make a return or exchange within the required time window.

Here's my review of the LG NB3530A soundbar.

Set-up: Piece of cake. 2-3 minutes to unpack and 3-4 minutes more to hook up (including removing the old sound system and wires). Thank you, LG, for including the required optical cord. The most difficult part was getting access to the back of my big-screen TV in a fairly tight cabinet.

Overall audio quality: At this price point soundbars are not for audiophiles; however, this overall audio quality is much better than that of my Sony TV speakers. After break-in the soundbar bass is still a bit boomy and lacking in sharpness and musicality--not bad, just nothing special. Treble is good, not too sharp. Mid-range is OK. Bass and treble lack precise adjustment though there are several generic settings (e.g., Natural, Bass, Clear Voice, Game, Night, Loudness, 3D Sound) that change the bass/treble mix. Overall middle of pack for sound quality. You would probably need to spend at least 50-60% more to get a soundbar with a meaningful improvement in audio.

Surround sound: Do not expect this or any other 2.1 soundbar to provide true surround sound like that of a 5.1 or 7.1 system. However, when the remote is set on "3D Sound" the sound field expands to a couple of feet on either side of TV and moves further into the room than on other settings, which provides some semblance of depth.

Sound quantity: My family room is 16'x18'and is open on one entire side to a kitchen/dining nook of similar size. This soundbar, which sits on the front of the cabinet shelf in which my TV is located, filled the family room with sound at about 40% of the maximum volume level setting on the remote; any more would have made my ears bleed. At the highest volume level I could stand (40%) there was not much distortion--it was just simply too loud to bear.

Wireless subwoofer: The wireless sub paired with the soundbar almost instantly. Having a wireless sub is good because it lets you try the unit in various places in the room to find the best location without having a speaker wire to trip over. Audiophiles will argue that a wireless sub loses some quality compared to a sub connected via speaker wire, which is true, but many listeners won't notice much difference. Be sure to note that virtually every "wireless" sub does have a power cord and must be placed close to a wall outlet so you can plug it in. Out of the box this sub sounded weak and colorless, mostly a dull rumble that, fortunately, began to improve after several hours of use. Using the "bass" or "loudness" setting increases the bass impact, but if you really want to rattle your windows, loosen your tooth fillings or punish your apartment neighbors, you will need to get a system with a bigger sub (size of sub speaker not revealed by manufacturer). This sub's response for music and movies was about average for its price point.

Bluetooth (BT): As noted above, I am a great fan of Bluetooth. However, with this soundbar I found that almost every other music track I played from my iPhone or a streaming radio station via BT had skips or stutters, a situation that caused me to return this unit. This may simply have been a quality control issue with the soundbar, and the big blue and yellow store immediately credited my return with no hassle, but I really hate to waste my time returning or exchanging defective units.

Connectivity: This unit lacks HDMI and uses an optical cable to connect to the TV. For technical reasons that your salesperson can discuss with you, this limits the quality and quasi-surround nature of the sound. If you choose a soundbar without HDMI, make sure you understand any limitations posed by other types of connections.

Remote control: Nice design, easy to handle, buttons are well laid out and clearly labeled. The buttons are not back-lit, a nuisance rather than a deal-breaker.

Looks: The soundbar has small dimensions and a low profile and the sub is a bit smaller than that of some similar systems. The soundbar's exposed speakers with no grille cloth take a while to get used to, but at least they do not have chrome rings or faces that make them stand out as some systems do. While I was watching TV the speakers were not visually distracting.

Pros: Middle of the pack sound quality, much better than TV speakers. Easy to set up and operate. Moderate price.

Cons: Neither LG nor any source I could find via Google provides critical details such as the frequency response of the speakers in the soundbar and the size and frequency reponse of the subwoofer. I therefore bought the unit based on what little information LG provided and was prepared to return it if it didn't sound good. Minimal ability to control bass and treble was an issue. The lack of an HDMI connection was also a concern because optical cables can compromise sound quality and equipment control. The choppy Bluetooth connection was a deal-breaker, thus the two star rating.

Bottom Line. I have looked at and listened to quite a few sound bars, and I think this middle-of-the-pack unit might have come close to meeting my basic needs at a moderate cost except for the problem with the skipping Bluetooth and lack of HDMI. I am now shopping at a higher price point in hopes of increasing audio quality and finding a unit with both HDMI and a reliable Bluetooth connection.
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on March 6, 2013
-1 star for not being able to connect it to a Universal Remote. I have contacted my cable company trying to get a code for the device and they didn't work. After that I called LG who told me that this device will NOT pair with a universal remote. It seems like you can pair with a LG tv using Sync and you can program the soundbar remote to use for your TV which doesn't really do any good.

I opened the box and quickly removed everything and seperating everything in order to get ready to install it as quickly as possible. It was real easy to set up, comes with wall mount and optical cable which i didnt use. I purchased a premium monoprice optical toslink cable the day before. The subwoofer connected to it without any work, just plug it in and go.

Bluetooth - super easy, no code needed. Put the soundbar in bluetooth mode and turn ur device to bluetooth and it connects seemlessly. Music sounded great, good mids and highs, great bass. I tested a netflix movie on my tablet and the lips were off. I didnt discover the AV sync feature until after.

Tested out a few devices, my TV, Computer, Netflix, all played through the soundbar without issue and sounded good.

Theres no hooking up a Universal remote, but autopower is a nice feature. It shuts off when inactive for 1 minute (tv off) and turns on when tv turns on.

So far so good. I picked this device up without any reviews being available online because it was still too new. I had the chance to test a display model at RC WIlleys (they didnt have any in stock or in warehouse at the time). It sounded better than the Sony 450 model which I actually went in to purchase, but it was also last years model and out of stock. It's one of the better/best soundbars ive heard so far.

Edit: So its been a few days with this Soundbar now and I was contemplating on returning it based on the fact I couldnt hook it up to a universal remote. I find myself not really changing the volume much o it though because 10/100 is a pretty good sweet spot. Using 3D surround mode and even at that low I hear the sub and surround. It really ads more to the TV experience without annoying others in the house for being too loud. I did crank it up on a new episode of Spartacus and when Kill Bill came on tv. WOW! This is when its most noticable. The sound of the sword flying off the air and slicing through someones body just echo's across the room. Definately keeping it now.
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on April 15, 2013
1. Sounds very good for the price. Most newer TVs have cheap speakers that face BACKWARDS, which results in muffled, crappy sound. This sound bar significantly upgraded the sound. It provides crystal-clear audio, nice (not too booming) bass, and has a half-decent "3D sound" function that really fills the room. (My living room is 13x20, and it fills the room nicely. If you have a larger room- you probably need a larger system)
2. The unit is rather small (which I consider a positive characteristic). It is very sleek and modern looking- which matches the look of my LG TV.
3. Eventually could be programmed with my universal remote. (I have an AT&T Universal Remote) It took 20 minutes to get it programmed correctly... and I'm pretty good with electronics. The problem was trying to get everything to turn on with just one click of the on button, which required a bit of reprogramming of the universal remote.
4. The ability to play music from my phone wirelessly via Bluetooth is AWESOME!
5. Price itself. This unit was on sale for about 225 at my local warehouse club. That's significantly cheaper than the previous model that had less power and was more bulky.

1. The "auto power" feature that is designed to turn the unit on when you turn your TV on/off doesn't work properly with my TV. (It will turn on, but won't turn off) There is a disclaimer in the manual that indicates that this function won't work with all TVs. (I do find it strange that it won't work properly with my nearly-new LG TV.
2. The unit comes with about five stickers on the front of the actual bar and sub. These lovely stickers advertise the various features (Bluetooth, wireless sub, and so on. My biggest problem with this unit was these stickers. They didn't come off in one piece, and they left an annoying residue behind that took me 30 minutes to get off. Why can't they put them on the plastic protective wrapper rather than on the unit itself?
3. In big letters on the box- it says that it will let you wirelessly sync this system to your LG TV. My top-end LG TV is about six months old- and it didn't work. Inside the manual- it clarifies that your TV must have the LG Sound Sync function in order for this to work. Mine doesn't- and After searching LG's website- I'm not sure if any of their TVs do. I checked most of their current line of Smart TVs, and NONE of them advertised this feature. So which LG TVs are compatible? Who knows.

Overall I would recommend this sound bar. It's relatively cheap, it will give you significantly better sound compared to stock, and has some nice features that many others in this price range don't. (Bluetooth connectivity with mobile devices, wireless sub, optical cable included)
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VINE VOICEon June 18, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
[---Quick Thought---]

This Sound Bar is for those wanting an inconspicuous addition, unless it warrants itself to stand out, to boost the sound quality of your television set. When you finally decide on which TV to buy, it can sometime be a tiresome search or a quick one. However, one fact is apparent with almost any TV you buy and that is the manufacturer skimped on the audio which is appropriate for the TV manufacturer should concentrate on what they produce best--visual quality.

The LG NB3530A provides much crisper and clearer sound at high outputs of volume. The latter added with nice bass to allow you to be whelmed in cinematic 'rumble'--though this could disturb a few co-inhabitants if you live in an apartment setting. Though I feel the price is a little more expensive than the quality outputs, it is a no-stress buy in that it performs well, as it should, and is extremely easy to setup out of the box without the need really to ever look at a manual. If you do not see yourself buying extra equipment to get a surround sound, or complete digital audio environment setup within your home then this all-in-one audio extension from LG is perfect for your needs and possibly all you ever need depending on your style of visual entertainment.

Overall: 7.5/10

Overall Rating adjusted for its Price Range: 8.5/10

Ease of Setup: 9.5/10

-----------------In Depth Review-----------------

[---Sound---] 7.5/10

-Bass: 8.5/10

-Treble/Mids: 7.5/10

First things to note about the LG 3530A is that it only uses digital optical outs and not HDMI. In the past, digital optical was the 'good' addition for sound output however if you are adding blu-ray and conversely HD audio, then the digital optical is not where you want your audio to be streaming from.

Digital optical cannot process HD quality sound from Blu-rays. *Take this into account*. This means that you will not be getting surround sound above 5.1 (the .1 being your subwoofer so you are actually getting '6' sound channels), of course, or HD audio--whether it says so or not. Digital optical can process up to 1.5 mbps of audio whereas HDMI can do up to 20 mbps and lossless audio. Now you see the difference especially when a lot of Blu-ray audio is uncompressed.

That being said, the sound is impressively clear and crisp. The volume capacity for the sound bar is quite a lot where it gets loud in a medium sized room when going near halfway. It feels like a platinum-plated Stereo platform--not to be confused with a acoustic orchestral house in upper tier surround sound units. For the price it will supplement your TV very well.

The Subwoofer does its 'rumble' very well and can a lot of times be too much. This resulted in me turning the Sub down -2 after first use. While some movies, games, and TV take advantage of having the 'extra' signal to the bass--some do not, which you will miss after having this around when doing a movie/gaming night. Nevertheless, the subwoofer gives the impression of being in the movies as the bass adds to the fullness of the experience.

**The subwoofer is wireless and only requires a cable for the power cord** From my ears there was no discernible, or at least meaningful, delay in bass consistency. Think the setup of the wireless sub might be difficult? Here is how you do it, remember to pay close attention:

1. Find a good place for the subwoofer and set it near a power inlet.
2. Plug in power cord.

You are done. I included the steps, even though I did not have to, to show you how there is no 'real' setup with it. When the subwoofer has power and after you turn on the LG, it automatically syncs.


As you can tell from the pictures it leaves a very small footprint and mimics a small bar underneath your TV that will not draw much attention to it. Coming with a mount, there is not worry about it falling off the wall or the sorts because the weight is very minimal. It is all black--glossy, and looks like...a speaker with 6 tweeters (3 on each side).

***Important Mention***

Out of the box, while using when watching movies, the sound bar would intermittently cut off during the movie which was later found out to be a sleep function on the system itself. This took a brief time to figure out because the menu on the device was not as intuitive as to be able to quickly resolve this issue. Nevertheless, it was the unit being set to sleep every 15 minutes--which can be turned off completely. Note that when you first power the system on it might have this same occurrence with you.

When plugged into a media player, like me, the sound bar will automatically come on when you turn the device on. No real need to press 2 power buttons.


Not discerning much difference between HDMI audio (HD, uncompressed) versus the slightly lossy digital optical, there was not a big difference to me. Normally, I prefer to listen to lossless audio in my music collection on stereo systems and headphones--which I can tell the difference between compared to lossy mp3s. This should mean to you that the sound coming from the NB3530A is good for the price. While the sound does nothing to 'lessen' the quality so that you might think it is bad, it does seem just slightly overpriced. It also will not give you the most out of what your blu-rays have to offer. It did not affect me as I was not coming 'down' from a HD quality setup. However, this might be a downgrade to you where previously you were used to listening to the uncompressed audio, this might be something that you would notice.

For those just starting to get into blu-rays or need an upgrade from their TV's built-in speakers the 3530A is a fantastic place to begin your newly begun higher quality audio journey.
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on November 29, 2014
Fantastic sound. The only thing missing is a cover. My boys will think those woofers and tweeters are buttons and proceed to press them. Solution: socks. A pair of small socks fit perfectly.
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on December 13, 2013
I knew the measurements of the sound bar and knew exactly where it would fit in relation to my TV location. But, judging by the picture; I wrongly assumed the subwoofer was 'shelf size'; turns out it's enormous, so I wont be using that... bummer. The setup was a snap, but I did have to use my 3' optical cable since the one that it comes with is like 18" and wouldn't reach the TV. On and off with my Sony TV works great, when the TV comes on... it signals the sound bar and it's on... when the TV is turned off, the bar goes off (after a couple minutes). The remote is dumb, TV section is at the bottom as if it's an after thought... and I'll either have to use a Harmony remote to control it, my Fios tuner and TV or go back to having two remotes.

There is a wireless option to control the bar if your TV supports it, my Sony does not... but something to check for. All in all, it's hard to go wrong with any LG product and this one is stylish and works great (even without the sub).

*Additional features*
+ Sound Modes (Bass, Game, 3D Sound... )
+ Mounting plate (included)
+ App to stream music from your devices
+ USB port for playing music files
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on June 13, 2013
This is the first soundbar I have ever owned. It goes with my new 80" Vizio LED and is mounted on the wall just under the wall mounted TV. It actually replaced a system that was Dolby 5.1 that was considered to be very good sounding by myself and others who experienced it.

First, I have to say that I was skeptical that a bar with small speakers and a rather small subwoofer would do much to impress me. Boy was I wrong.

I actually first heard this system in a Sams club. Just wandering around and became aware of some great sound coming from nearby. I rounded the corner and on an endcap was this system playing a movie soundtrack with a tv under it.

With all the background noise of the store, the huge size of the store, the concrete and metal of the store...well, you get it, the sound just blew me away and it stayed in my mind. That feeling of such a great sound coming from such a small package. Amazing.

Well, I was at walmart and there it was. I was buying the Vizio I mentioned earlier and thought, what the heck, and loaded the soundbar into the cart.

Installation: This is going to be short. LG included a template for mounting correctly on the wall with a great bracket and even included the digital wire to connect to my tv. So connected the tv to the soundbar with the "light pipe" (very small) cable and plugged in the ac. Positioned the subwoofer where I liked and turned on the tv. Voila!! The LG came on automatically and sounded great right out of the box. Easiest, cleanest, fastest installation ever.

A couple of points:
1. Pairs effortlessly with our android phones via bluetooth
2. Subwoofer shuts off and shows a small red LED in resting state that turns green when on (automatically)
3. Soundbar turns on and off automatically
4. Absolutely gorgeous addition to the room. Gleaming piano black finish, exposed could almost call this industrial design art even without the benefit of it being a top sounding speaker system.
5. How much do I miss my 5.1 system? I can honestly say "ZERO".
6. Freed up space like crazy for me in my 15x20 room
7. I would recommend it to my friends and most anyone looking for a soundbar of high quality

I like it so much I am thinking of even replacing our other tv and sound system with this.

You will love it. Very easy and fun to live with and interact with.
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on December 15, 2013
I received this system today. I hooked it up in less than 10 minutes. The wireless sub-woofer is very convenient because you're not limited in where you can place it. Not only that, but it paired with the sound bar in less than 10 seconds after turning it on.

The unit itself is very thin, and easily fit on my TV stand in front of the TV. I've got a 47 inch LG TV and have absolutely no problem fitting this bar on the stand in front of the television. The sound quality is great, better than the JVC unit I had previously. The bluetooth feature is nice too. You can easily pair your smart phone with it and play music from your phone over the sound bar.

I would definitely recommend this unit if you want crystal clear sound, easy setup, and a unit that will not take up a lot of space on your TV stand.
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on June 22, 2013
We purchased this soundbar to replace our Polk Audio soundbar purchased in 2010 which made some strange sounds and then just died. It's no longer sold (was described by some at the time as "old technology".) Now that we have the LG soundbar, I completely agree. The sound is great. The sub-woofer (not on the Polk one) adds a whole new dimension to the sound. Considered a Sony soundbar that was highly rated on Consumer Reports, but went with the
LG as it was in stock and appeared to be a fairly new model (not on the CR review) with high user reviews. Love listening to music from our iPad using the Bluetooth feature. The auto-on/off is great..the soundbar automatically turns on/off when you turn the tv on/off. One piece of advice....keep the box just in case if you can. Our original Polk soundbar died 2 months after purchase. Polk sent us another one but I had already disposed of the box so I had to piece together a box to ship it in. These things don't fit in just any old box. Luckily we have a basement.
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on December 19, 2014
Considering price, this is a worthy sound bar. I bought it to improve the sound for our tv in the sun room. Flat panel tv's are getting thinner and smaller for the given screen size. That means less and less room for proper tv speakers.

Reading this review, realize I didn't buy this sound bar expecting all out performance. I have a decent 5.1 system in the basement for when I want to crank up a big action movie, and I a have a good 2.0 system in another room for music listening. All I wanted was an improvement for the sound of our flat panel tv and this sound bar definitely delivers.

The sound is well projected, making dialog much easier to understand than with the tv speakers. The subwoofer puts out nice bass, filling the bottom well providing a balanced sound. We have small children that go to bed early, so we haven't cranked it up. But, at modest volumes the sound is clean and pleasant.

Setup was easy, I used the included optical cable and connected it to the output on the tv. I am using the tv remote to control the volume. Vizio has the ability to program the remote for you for numerous devices. The subwoofer paired easily after I plugged it in next to the couch across the room. I also tested the bluetooth functionality and it worked well with my android phone.

At higher price points, I'm betting you can get cleaner, fuller sound. LG isn't an established speaker manufacturer but they've built a competent system here that meets our needs. Recommended.
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