SmartHouse - - FIRST LOOK | PANASONIC - Writ­ten by Fer­gus Hal­l­i­day

The SC-UA7 wire­less speaker sys­tem might not ex­actly bring the house down but Panasonic’s lat­est def­i­nitely feels like a pack­age primed to be­come the life of the party.

If you've never dealt with a speaker of this cal­i­bre be­fore, it's easy to get ex­cited SC-UA7. Very few that can fill a room with quite as much boom as this one. The first time you turn it on, it feels li­able to blow you away. Af­ter a bit more time with it, what you're left with is a speaker that def­i­nitely swings above its com­pe­ti­tion but like the pre­mium brand that Panasonic is it will cost you $799.

The short ver­sion: there's a lot to like here but – apart from the raw watts be­hind the SC-UA7's sub-woofer – it's not quite clear why it comes this speaker is more ex­pen­sive than its com­pe­ti­tion. Sure, it's got an ap­pear­ance that helps it stand out from the crowd. How­ever, at the end of the day, it's per­for­mance that mat­ters most. While we feel con­fi­dent say­ing that the SC-UA7 def­i­nitely sounds good, but it's hard to say how much bet­ter it sounds than its com­pe­ti­tion.

Still, when it comes to per­for­mance, this speaker comes more than pre­pared to fight that par­tic­u­lar fight. Com­bin­ing the power of a fully-fledged sub-woofer with a slick and hexag­o­nal de­sign, the SCUA7 comes equipped with a hefty to­tal power out­put of 18,700 watts.

It's easy enough to set up, re­quir­ing only a sin­gle power port de­spite the heavy-volt­age be­hind it. It's got all the ports and for­mat sup­port you ex­pect out of a mod­ern speaker – mi­nus sup­port for hi-res au­dio. Es­sen­tially, Panasonic are in­vest­ing in high vol­ume over fi­delity. For some, that might be a deal­breaker no mat­ter how nice the aes­thet­ics of the speaker are.

Though the ex­te­rior of the speaker does come across as slightly-odd or un­con­ven­tional at first, this as­pect of the prod­uct quickly grew on it. With the SC-UA7 it feels like Panasonic have man­aged to eke out a deft mid­dle ground be­tween what you do and don't ex­pect a speaker to look like.

Ap­pear­ances might not count as much in the au­dio world ver­sus fi­delity. How­ever, they do still count for some­thing. The SCUA7 looks like a clean and re­fined re­al­i­sa­tion of what a speaker could be, with­out nec­es­sar­ily cling­ing to closely to what's come be­fore. It's not quite a revo­lu­tion but it's def­i­nitely a re­fresh­ing point of dif­fer­ence on its com­pe­ti­tion.

The most dis­tinc­tive thing be­yond the hexag­o­nal shape is the layer of glass that sep­a­rates the two halves of the speaker. This glass comes with a blue LED back­light that can be tog­gled be­tween two pre­sets us­ing the re­mote. In re­al­ity, this fea­ture is go­ing to de­pend very much on the en­vi­ron­ment in which you setup the SC-UA7. Still, if it doesn't suit, you can al­ways just dis­able it out­right.

The con­trol panel that sits on top of the SC-UA7 is a touch-based one, which works well enough – even if it does oc­ca­sion­ally fall short on re­spon­sive­ness. There's a phys­i­cal re­mote and com­pan­ion app that can also serve as ad­e­quate sub­sti­tutes.

Of course, as we said be­fore, a speaker is only as good as it sounds – and we're happy to re­port that the SC-UA7 sounds pretty great to our ears. The sys­tem com­bines four 6cm tweet­ers, four 8um midrange woofers and a match­ing pair of 16cm su­per-woofers to great ef­fect.

The SC-UA7 lever­ages a ver­i­ta­ble ar­mada of speak­ers de­signed to min­i­mize dis­tor­tion and max­i­mize res­o­nance, cour­tesy of a unique port tech­nol­ogy that Panasonic have branded “Airquake”. When in use, this fea­ture works to am­plify the bass pro­duced to a pow­er­ful “airquake” ex­pe­ri­ence, push­ing any and all au­dio gen­er­ated away from the woofer unit.

In our ex­pe­ri­ence, we found vo­cal­heavy mu­sic sounded bet­ter if you stood in the path of the speaker's front­fac­ing panel. How­ever, that's not to say we couldn't hear it else­where. Far from it, in fact, the SC-UA7 pro­duced pretty clean and au­di­ble lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to all within a rea­son­able dis­tance of it.

The SC-UA7 does come in a lit­tle higher than some of its com­peti­tors but, at the same time, it's got a lot more go­ing for it. If you want max­i­mum vol­ume and you're will­ing to pony up the cash, it's hard to imag­ine you'll dis­ap­pointed by the beastly per­for­mance af­forded to the SC-UA7. How­ever, if you're look­ing to get the most value for your dol­lar over vol­ume for it, you might want to keep look­ing.

RAT­ING 7.2/10

The SC-UA7 is priced at an RRP of $769 and avail­able through JB Hi-Fi and Har­vey Nor­man.

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