For your flat screen TV, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to sound systems. Some people opt for complete surround sound with several speakers occupying their living room. Others, though, may not have the space for such a system, and may even have limited room for stereo speakers, especially if they decide to mount their TV onto the wall. Given this increasingly common practice, it may be the case that there’s little to no space available for any speakers, subwoofers, or amplifiers.
Fortunately, the invention of sound bars means that we can get a nice boost to TV audio that fits in nicely with modern flatscreen TVs. They won’t exactly replace a high-end surround sound system, but they do fill an important niche in modern homes.
LG, a company known for its variety of high-quality electronics, has a few solutions for sound bar products. The NB2020, NB2030, and NB2430A are all fairly similar, but have different characteristics when it comes to sound quality and sound output as well as extra features. In this review, we’ll go over what makes each of these models unique.
The NB2020A is a two-speaker sound bar with 40W of power (20W for each speaker) for sound output. For input it uses a digital/optical port (which is used on most LG TVs), to be used with the included optical cable. At less than $100, it’s the cheapest of the three models we’re comparing, and is considered the entry-level model.
With 40W of sound output, the NB2020 is among the models with the lowest power rating. If you are extra-conscious about your electricity footprint, it might be good. But if we are talking about sound and oomph to shake up the room, this configuration is a bit low. If you have a small living room (with thin wall probably) and do not want to bother your neighbors when you are watching the latest blockbusters, but still want a sound quality that is better than what your flatscreen TV can do, the LG NB2020A might be a decent option.
It also includes wall mount bracket, which is quite important since it’s designed to be placed right below a wall-mounted TV. Coming in at 35.4 inches wide, it is ideal to be used alongside a 42-inches TV and anything larger will underwhelm your sound bar.
All in all, it’s a product aimed at small rooms with small TVs. Its audio will carry pretty far, but it’s not meant for a big living room with a lot of people watching at the same time. Perhaps most noticeably, it offers little in the way to bass, but that’s to be expected from an entry-level model.
The NB2030A is very much similar to the NB2020. It happens to be slightly lighter at 8.8 pounds (about 5%) compared to the NB2020, and a tad thinner at 3.3 inches rather than 3.4 inches. Otherwise, the two shares pretty much the same configurations. It offers the same stereo speakers with a total output of 40W and includes the same “virtual surround” technology as well as a wall mounting bracket.
Overall, LG NB2030A seems to be a minor refresh to the earlier model. According to LG’s website, the NB2020A is now a discontinued model. You can still find it selling in some of the retail shops or even online retailers and at slightly lower price compared to its newer generation model. If you think you do not need the tiny weight savings and really tight on the budget, you can go for the NB2030A’s predecessor while it is still selling. Otherwise, you’d be better off getting the later model instead.
The NB2420A is a higher-end model sound bar system compared to the other two, offering much improved sound quality at 160W total output (80W for each speaker). Its higher volume means that it can be used in larger rooms as well as smaller rooms.
It also has the ability to play user media via external storage. It has one USB port in the back, so you can plug in an external hard drive or a USB stick. It can decode a wide variety of audio formats including Dolby Digital, DTS, MP3, and WMA.
Bluetooth wireless music streaming is also included in the mix, allowing you to stream the sound output from your smartphone or tablet directly to the sound bar system. This can be very convenient, especially for party settings since it’ll allow you to control the audio completely wirelessly.
Other notable things about the LG NB2420A include its two optical inputs, included universal remote control with two AAA batteries, wall mounting bracket, and 3D sound optimizer. The unit weighs in at 5.1 pounds and is 39.4 inches long, making it notably longer than the other two models while still being perfectly appropriate for 42-inch (and perhaps even larger) TVs.
Overall, it’s pretty much down to the NB2030A and NB2420A. They’re both considered as entry-level sound bar systems with NB2430 costing slightly (or significantly depending how you see it) more than the former. You’d have to pick based on your needs, room size, and how many people are going to be listening. You should also consider whether you’d want to stream music from your smartphone or tablet, since wireless music can be an enticing prospect for some. Other than that, it all depends on how much you want to spend.
So, do you think these offerings from LG are good enough for your need? If you are still doubtful, do check out our pick of the best sound bar for Flatscreen TVs.