Design, product range, lots of connection options and music sources, Google Cast, Spotify Connect, sound quality among others.
LG entered the multi-room music arena with an explosion and brought about fully-featured line-up of audio products, designed to cater for just about any situation.
The new LG Music Flow Systems have not only set a standard, but promises to dominate the multi-room space for years to come.
Below are some of the great features that sets LG Music Flow System above the rest in the market;
LG has taken a quality approach to its family of Music Flow speakers. Great looking anodized aluminium bodies offer a minimalist design: there’s no fuss over details that don’t matter and a cohesive language that makes these speakers look like a family.
As such, the H7 and H5 offer the same sort of scaled looks, with metal bodies encompassing grilles to the front. It’s a fuss-free design, spared of any garish branding; the silver finish is contemporary too, fitting into pretty much any room you’d want to place them in.
The placement of LEDs, controls, and the subtle marking of things like NFC contact points, means that you know where you are with these speakers. A common design feature is the space to the bottom, giving room for the speaker to breathe and lending some added elegance to the looks.
The other family design trend is the angular front. It’s applied to the HS7 soundbar’s subwoofer, as well as the H4, H5 and H7 speakers, giving a distinctive look and escaping the big, flat and boxy looks that some speakers exhibit.
The HS6 soundbar matches the grille design of the rest of the Music Flow family, but moves over to a plastic body that matches the coloration of LG’s TV sets. That helps it bridge the gap in design terms between the two different areas of audio and TV in which Music Flow sits.
There are the HS7 and HS9 soundbars too, both stepping up the output from the HS6, so there’s a range to suit your home cinema tastes.
System setup and connectivity
One of the appealing things about the Music Flow system is that LG has equipped it with a wide range of connections. Each speaker offers NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, as well as a wired Ethernet connection.
Bluetooth is generally a separate system from the Wi-Fi networking route, which can be confusing at first. The NFC that all the speakers offer triggers a Bluetooth connection, as is typical for NFC, and Bluetooth works point-to-point per speaker, rather than across the entire system – something to remember when you tap your phone.
But Bluetooth can also be used for automatically moving music from one speaker to another, with a “follow me” feature. If you enable this, when you move to a new room the closer speaker will start playing. This uses Bluetooth LE as a sort of proximity detection, but sticks to Wi-Fi playback. In smaller properties, you might find it’s constantly trying to switch and we found we’d rather make a larger group than have music switching speakers all the time.
The Music Flow system is being marketed as a Wi-Fi networked system. You can mix and match Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections, so, for example, you might have your soundbar wired in and your peripheral speakers connected via Wi-Fi and that isn’t a problem.
Setup of Music Flow is fairly straightforward and all handled by the smartphone app called the Music Flow Player available in Google App Store.
Music Flow is controlled through the smartphone app and you’ll need this to connect your speakers. The system requires a button press to connect a new speaker, with the app then doing the rest. The app controls not only the configuration of your speakers, but also the music they play in most circumstances.
This is an important point: if you want to play music, you’ll need a phone or tablet to control it.
With this being a connected multi-room system, much of what Music Flow does hangs on software. We’ve already pointed out that pretty much everything needs an app to work.
The LG Music Flow app acts as a hub for a number of services, offering you multiple sources of music.
It will handle your home network music, such as that on a DLNA media server, local music on your device, as well as services including TuneIn Radio, Deezer, Napster and Spotify Connect.
There’s also support for Google Cast, which enables Google Play Music, TuneIn and NPR One direct from their native apps, so there’s a range of options for streaming music.
It’s worth remembering that in most streaming situations Music Flow isn’t dependent on the control device. Unless you’re playing from your phone, or via Bluetooth, you can safely walk out of range and things keep playing. Setup a Spotify stream and it will happily play that until the cows come home, even if you have to walk down to the shops to buy some tea leaves.
The Spotify icon in Music Flow is just a link to the proper Spotify app, so all control comes from there.
The advantage is this is a native Spotify experience, so it all works as normal for Spotify. That means you can open Spotify on your computer and control your Music Flow speakers through Spotify Connect as well on your phone.
To use Music Flow’s fancy features, like grouping, you’ll have to switch back to the Music Flow app, but if you’ve made a pairing, that speaker group will then appear as an option for Spotify Connect, both playing as normal.
Grouping and surround sound
Grouping is one of the appealing features of a multi-room speaker system. Not only can you send the music to wherever you want it – rather than just cranking the volume up – but you can make groups of speakers to play the same music across a wider area.
This is perfect for parties, where you might want control of the music from one place, but have it playing across your whole house. You can’t make and name groups in Music Flow, you have to open up the speakers and tick the boxes.
The music sometimes breaks briefly when you make or change a group. If you have a soundbar, then you have the option of creating a surround sound system. This is an option for those wanting a bigger sound experience in front of the TV, as you can assign left and right speakers and group your Music Flow speakers together.
The Music Flow Systems will soon be on selected dealer stores in Kenya, keep tuned for more details.