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Thread: High end Bluetooth Speaker bargain heads up

  1. #1

    High end Bluetooth Speaker bargain heads up

    This Samsung Vl550 / VL5 bluetooth speaker tuned by AKG (part of Harman Kandon group) was originally launched at £599 around 18 months ago. All the reviews I've seen say that the sound is great even at that price. It's a Which best buy with 85% (again reviewed at full price).

    Now it's available at £200 new from some sellers and £159 from this Ebay seller (no affiliation so I can't vouch for them).

    I just purchased one from Currys Ebay site for £200 and can confirm the sound is superb. Now it's gone up to £500 at Currys but like I say still available for £200 or less elsewhere

    Clearly it's not been successful given the discounts so what's the downsides? It's large (1/2 metre width) and heavy (5kg) and mains powered only so more of a speaker for a table for a shelf or wall mounted. Unlike most bluetooth speakers it has stereo sound not mono though.

    Also I believe wifi connection only works with a Samsung phone but still has bluetooth and aux connection for other phones.

    At this price it's a no brainer for the sound though!

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F264399280023

    Review:

    https://www.hifichoicemag.com/conten...reless-speaker
    Last edited by watchcollector1; 16th August 2019 at 15:15.

  2. #2

    Hello

    Looks good, could you link it to a smart tv and use it as an extra speaker / soundbar?

    Best,

    Ben

  3. #3
    Craftsman
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  4. #4

    Hello

    Thanks.

    I haven't got a Samsung TV but would look to link it to my Hisense TV, Alexa dot and iPhone.

    It looks pretty good at the reduced price.

  5. #5
    Also reviewed as a sound bar alternative here:

    https://youtu.be/ywWnkXkdHXk


    If you were planning to wall mount it up high bear in mind that it has quite a large power pack on the mains cable about a metre from the speaker and then another metre of cable from the power pack to the plug.

  6. #6

    Hello

    I'd probably have it on the floor in front of the TV or in the fireplace.

  7. #7

    Hello

    Ordered one for £159.99, worth a punt at that price!

  8. #8
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watchcollector1 View Post
    This Samsung Vl550 / VL5 bluetooth speaker tuned by AKG (part of Harmon Kandon group)
    Both Harman and AKG are now just brand names and are wholly owned by Samsung.

  9. #9

    Hello

    Phillips,

    Thanks, what do you think of the speaker?

    Best,

    Ben

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    Both Harman and AKG are now just brand names and are wholly owned by Samsung.
    Samsung bought the whole company not just the brand names.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    Ordered one for £159.99, worth a punt at that price!
    Enjoy, absolute bargain at that price!

  12. #12

    Hello

    Will let you know what it's like.

    Just dug out an aux cable for it.

  13. #13
    Samsung's smaller premium speaker the VL3 is also available from this seller on ebay for £99 new (again no affiliation). This was originally £369 and was also given a best buy from Which at that price with a 70% rating.

    They highly praised the sound quality although they did say it's not the loudest speaker (not as loud as the vl5).

    One one available though!

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F133132066492
    Last edited by watchcollector1; 16th August 2019 at 19:34.

  14. #14
    It's strange that Samsung didn't promote these 2 speakers better in the first place.

  15. #15

    Hello

    Yes indeed although perhaps they should have priced them a little lower initially.

    Best,

    Ben

  16. #16
    Journeyman Curtis's Avatar
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    It's worth bearing in mind that bluetooth speakers and headphones offer inferior sound quality to their cabled counterparts. That's why all high end speakers are used with high end speaker cable. However if you're willing to sacrifice sound quality in favour of convenience, bluetooth is for you.

    The word High End is often used incorrectly for eg this subject. High End and Bargain are incompatible concepts. If you want to know about what defines a high end speaker look no further than: http://www.avalonacoustics.com/
    Last edited by Curtis; 16th August 2019 at 19:53.

  17. #17

    Hello

    I believe I can use a cable (aux) or Bluetooth to link it to my TV.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
    It's worth bearing in mind that bluetooth speakers and headphones offer inferior sound quality to their cabled counterparts. That's why all high end speakers are used with high end speaker cable. However if you're willing to sacrifice sound quality in favour of convenience, bluetooth is for you.

    The word High End is often used incorrectly for eg this subject. If you want to know about what defines a high end speaker look no further than: http://www.avalonacoustics.com/

    Indeed, high end, and Bluetooth donít go together.

  19. #19
    Journeyman Curtis's Avatar
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    It's worth bearing in mind that bluetooth speakers and headphones offer inferior sound quality to their cabled counterparts. That's why all true high end speakers are used with high end speaker cable. However if you're willing to sacrifice sound quality in favour of convenience, bluetooth is for you.

    The word High End is often used incorrectly for eg this subject. High End and Bargain are incompatible concepts. If you want to know about what defines a high end speaker look no further than: http://www.avalonacoustics.com/

  20. #20

    Hello

    Very nice but as I can't see a price I'm guessing they are a little outside of my budget.

    Hopefully the Samsung speaker will give a good account of itself.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
    It's worth bearing in mind that bluetooth speakers and headphones offer inferior sound quality to their cabled counterparts. That's why all high end speakers are used with high end speaker cable. However if you're willing to sacrifice sound quality in favour of convenience, bluetooth is for you.

    The word High End is often used incorrectly for eg this subject. High End and Bargain are incompatible concepts. If you want to know about what defines a high end speaker look no further than: http://www.avalonacoustics.com/
    Agreed bluetooth will always be a compromise, that's why I normally connect with an aux cable, although the VL5 still sounds great over bluetooth too.

    In terms of wider audio this isn't high end but that's a whole other world. I meant more high end in comparison to other bluetooth speakers (although I know they can run into thousands too).

  22. #22
    Master
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    Thanks for the heads up

    just ordered the VL350 for 89£

    what a deal

    B

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Thanks for the heads up

    just ordered the VL350 for 89£

    what a deal

    B
    Fantastic price! Please let us know how it sounds as I'm thinking of getting one for the kitchen.

  24. #24
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by watchcollector1 View Post
    Fantastic price! Please let us know how it sounds as I'm thinking of getting one for the kitchen.
    Mine has arrived and I had a play around today with amazon music from the iphone via bluetooth to the VL350.

    1st impression for classical piano and light orchestral is good high end sound but perhaps a tiny bit light on Bass.

    Rock music is Good clear sound not too bright and quite stable as volume increases - it is a heavy box so it doesn't bounce around on my desk.

    For a kitchen I would say ideal - it is about 8" square give or take and the puck remote control is magnetic so can attached to the fridge or whatever. I got the grey.

    The adapter and cable are "white" and there is a wall mount bracket.

    There is no mini USB cable in the box for charging the puck - so you will need one of those.

    for 89 £ I reckon it is a good but and I may consider another one.

    Thanks to the OP for the heads up.


    B

  25. #25

    Hello

    Good to hear.

    My VL550 arrives tomorrow according to shipping info. Looking forward to setting it up and putting a bit of classical music on while I bang through my emails of despair!

  26. #26

    VL55

    She's arrived and is a bit of a beast.

    Bluetooth and wi fi all set up. Samsung Smart App installed, although i have a Hisense TV.

    I'm currently running it through a Bluetooth connection but am getting a bit of lip sync delay so keep on having to stop and start it (streaming in Netflx not live TV).

    I have tried an aux connection but can't get it to work.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

    TV Model is, Hisense 55U7A.

    Best,

    Ben

  27. #27
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watchcollector1 View Post
    Samsung bought the whole company not just the brand names.
    Shades of Victor Kiam there (if you remember him!)

  28. #28
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    She's arrived and is a bit of a beast.

    Bluetooth and wi fi all set up. Samsung Smart App installed, although i have a Hisense TV.

    I'm currently running it through a Bluetooth connection but am getting a bit of lip sync delay so keep on having to stop and start it (streaming in Netflx not live TV).

    I have tried an aux connection but can't get it to work.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

    TV Model is, Hisense 55U7A.

    Best,

    Give support a quick call - 0330 726 7864

  29. #29

    Hello

    Thanks, might call them in the morning now.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Mine has arrived and I had a play around today with amazon music from the iphone via bluetooth to the VL350.

    1st impression for classical piano and light orchestral is good high end sound but perhaps a tiny bit light on Bass.

    Rock music is Good clear sound not too bright and quite stable as volume increases - it is a heavy box so it doesn't bounce around on my desk.

    For a kitchen I would say ideal - it is about 8" square give or take and the puck remote control is magnetic so can attached to the fridge or whatever. I got the grey.

    The adapter and cable are "white" and there is a wall mount bracket.

    There is no mini USB cable in the box for charging the puck - so you will need one of those.

    for 89 £ I reckon it is a good but and I may consider another one.

    Thanks to the OP for the heads up.


    B
    Thanks for the information. Glad it worked out. Did you get the V351 (grey)?

    I am tempted to get one or maybe even another Vl550.

    Have you tried linking it up to a smart speaker like Alexa? Just curious as to how much it improves the sound for music.

  31. #31
    Master
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    I got the VL350 in Titanium grey.

    I have to say I am using a pretty simple setup streaming amazon music from an iphone - but it works.

    I don't use Alexa.

    I really am very pleased, for what I want, it does the job.

    Thanks again.

    B

  32. #32
    Master
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    A pic if that helps for sizing - don't know why it rotates Grrr
    B
    Attached Images Attached Images

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    She's arrived and is a bit of a beast.

    Bluetooth and wi fi all set up. Samsung Smart App installed, although i have a Hisense TV.

    I'm currently running it through a Bluetooth connection but am getting a bit of lip sync delay so keep on having to stop and start it (streaming in Netflx not live TV).

    I have tried an aux connection but can't get it to work.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

    TV Model is, Hisense 55U7A.

    Best,

    Ben
    I'm on a Samsung TV, but aux does not work with it for some reason.

    Bluetooth and synch issues are commonplace with other Bluetooth devices, and it's why I don't ever use it for anything other than pure audio.

    Audio connected to the TV using WiFi, and it works well with no discernible synch issues. The occasional blip in sound, but very infrequent. I'll next try LAN given the increased reliability compared to WiFi.

    Many thanks to the op for the heads up.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    I'm on a Samsung TV, but aux does not work with it for some reason.

    Bluetooth and synch issues are commonplace with other Bluetooth devices, and it's why I don't ever use it for anything other than pure audio.

    Audio connected to the TV using WiFi, and it works well with no discernible synch issues. The occasional blip in sound, but very infrequent. I'll next try LAN given the increased reliability compared to WiFi.

    Many thanks to the op for the heads up.
    Update to the above:

    The speaker's AUX works fine with my phone and PC (though left channel only from the latter) so it does work, just not with my TV (I think this is the TV's fault as the only audio out option other than WiFi/Bluetooth/inbuilt is optical, which I don't have.

    I tested out the LAN connection, and it does connect to my network, but with zero purpose whatsoever.

    The silly thing about the SmartThings app from Samsung is that it requires all devices to be on the same WiFi network, and this is pointless as the TV and PC are connected via LAN to the hub for better stability, and my phone of course isn't going to be connected via LAN. I can switch the network to WiFi on the TV, but that's tedious and also loses the stability of LAN.

    Perhaps with a better hub things would be better for me, but I'm not buying a better hub just so I can occasionally use the SmartThings app for my phone to the speaker. Bluetooth works just fine for this, albeit with synch issues (which with music, is no issue whatsoever).

  35. #35

    Hello

    Thanks for the update.

    My brother is sending me an aux cable to try so will see how it goes but as you say it works fine for music from my phone and also from my macbook (Bluetooth).

    For some reason the speaker won't link to the WiFi using the Smart Things App.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    Thanks for the update.

    My brother is sending me an aux cable to try so will see how it goes but as you say it works fine for music from my phone and also from my macbook (Bluetooth).

    For some reason the speaker won't link to the WiFi using the Smart Things App.
    I've found why my TV won't work with AUX to the speaker - it does indeed only have an optical audio out, no 3.5mm port (despite having what appears to be one on the back...).

    I've ordered an optical to analogue converter and will report back on whether this fixes it. The sound via WiFi is just too blippy now, and Bluetooth has synch issues (the latter is the speaker and TV's fault, but the former is my WiFi). So hopefully this adapter will sort everything.

  37. #37

    Hello

    Thanks, that would be great.

    Can you put a link up to the converter please.

    Best,

    Ben

  38. #38
    Craftsman
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    There is Bluetooth and then again Bluetooth . I use an Arcam-rBlink feeding a Primare amp and Audio Physic speakers and it sounds fab , but then my ears are older than average.



    Sent from my iPad using TZ-UK mobile app

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    Thanks, that would be great.

    Can you put a link up to the converter please.

    Best,

    Ben
    Will do, if it works once it's arrived!

    Does your TV definitely have an optical audio out?

  40. #40

    Hello

    I'll have to check.

    Its a Hisense 55 inch, U7A.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by burnside View Post
    I'll have to check.

    Its a Hisense 55 inch, U7A.
    Doesn't appear to on the specs page: https://hisense.co.uk/tvs/all-tvs/u7a/

    But that really doesn't mean it doesn't. This forum chatter page suggests it does: https://www.avforums.com/threads/his...168359/page-21

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    Will do, if it works once it's arrived!

    Does your TV definitely have an optical audio out?
    It does work - DAC Digital SPDIF Toslink to Analog Stereo Audio R/L Converter Adapter with Optical Cable, the one I bought was here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Tos.../dp/B00KNNSKV0

    Do note that you have to manually select the AUX input on the side of the speaker for this to work, and you'll need a 3.5mm AUX cable in addition to what they supply.

    It does 'pop' after a few seconds when you turn the TV off, which isn't great.

  43. #43

    Hello

    That's great, thanks.

  44. #44
    Heads up that you can still get the VL550 from some ebay sellers for c£200 and if you use the code PLAYAPP by the end of 11th September you'll get an extra 10% off on electricals so only £180.

    I used this code and some nector points collected on ebay to buy a second VL550 for upstairs.

    I may still get a VL351 in white for the kitchen at some point.

    How's everyone finding the sound quality? I've not tried it for TV but it sounds fantastic for music to me.

  45. #45
    Master
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    Daft laddie question! Can I cast radio and podcasts from an iPhone to these?

    Thanks

  46. #46
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    Daft laddie question! Can I cast radio and podcasts from an iPhone to these?

    Thanks
    If you are listening to anything on an iphone - turn on bluetooth.connect to the speaker by pressing the bluetooth button on the speaker for 5 seconds/ connect up will be spoken by the speaker and voila whatever you are listening to will be through the speaker.

    B

  47. #47
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    If you are listening to anything on an iphone - turn on bluetooth.connect to the speaker by pressing the bluetooth button on the speaker for 5 seconds/ connect up will be spoken by the speaker and voila whatever you are listening to will be through the speaker.

    B
    Last edited by David_D; 10th September 2019 at 14:31.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by watchcollector1 View Post
    Heads up that you can still get the VL550 from some ebay sellers for c£200 and if you use the code PLAYAPP by the end of 11th September you'll get an extra 10% off on electricals so only £180.

    I used this code and some nector points collected on ebay to buy a second VL550 for upstairs.

    I may still get a VL351 in white for the kitchen at some point.

    How's everyone finding the sound quality? I've not tried it for TV but it sounds fantastic for music to me.
    Mine is not set-up for audio quality really (Bluetooth or optical audio to aux adapter) as it's on a shelf above the TV, but it sounds good to me for most uses.

    Music listening I do through headphones really, and this speaker is for more general use. Does the job well.

  49. #49
    Heads up that the smaller VL350 is currently available for only £69.99 on Amazon!

    I've ordered one for the kitchen

    Samsung AKG VL350 Wireles Smart Speaker - Black https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PQTSX..._G3zNDbXQSEGSK

  50. #50
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by watchcollector1 View Post
    Heads up that the smaller VL350 is currently available for only £69.99 on Amazon!

    I've ordered one for the kitchen

    Samsung AKG VL350 Wireles Smart Speaker - Black https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PQTSX..._G3zNDbXQSEGSK

    Wow, That is a good deal.!!!


    B

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