The Good: The Stadium 120 soundbar packs good sound quality and a range of connectivity options.
The Bad: It’s difficult to adjust the treble, bass and volume settings without any clear indicators or displays.
The Bottom Line: The KitSound Stadium 120 packs in a lot of features for a reasonable price, and based on performance I’d definitely recommend it for anyone wanting to upgrade their TV audio.
While TV speakers pack just enough punch for an evening chillout, they definitely struggle to provide a rich cinematic experience for watching movies or sports.
So if a full-on 5.1 surround sound system is overkill and all you want is an upgrade over your TV’s internal speakers, soundbars like the KitSound Stadium 120 could be exactly what you need.
Plenty of power for your entertainment
KitSound have launched a couple of soundbar options: the Stadium 120 (priced at £170) and Stadium 60 (£120), each packing 120 watts and 60 watts respectively.
The soundbar rattling my living room furniture right now is the Stadium 120 — the more powerful unit that conveniently ships with a wireless subwoofer, Dolby Digital 2.1 sound, and HDMI ARC connectivity. In contrast, the more affordable Stadium 60 comes with a wired subwoofer — meaning you’ll annoyingly need to deal with cable management.
With 3.5mm AUX and optical ports around the back of the soundbar — along with a Bluetooth option too — both units have enough connectivity options to suit everyone from the hardcore geeks to the normal folk who just want better sound quality.
On the Stadium 120 KitSound have included HDMI ARC (read a detailed explanation here), which effectively means anything connected to your TV like gaming consoles, media or cable boxes will use the soundbar as an audio source, rather than your TV’s average speakers. It’s going to pump out the best quality sound out of all the connectivity options including optical, so if your TV supports it, you’ll definitely want to use HDMI ARC.
A design that will blend into most setups
While the KitSound Stadium soundbar lacks a “wowing” design — it’s hardly going to impress someone looking for an eye-catcher — its simplistic look allows it to blend in with any setup. Whether you’re intending to wall-mount it or just leave it on the unit beneath the TV, it’s the kind of soundbar & subwoofer combo that’s not going to scream for attention, and for many people that’s a good thing.
With “Music” and “Movie” presets — as well as individual buttons for the treble and bass — KitSound gives you the ability to have some control over the sound output, which is great for those who switch between TV, media boxes and consoles regularly. The buttons feel nice and firm with a good amount of feedback, and KitSound have kept options to a minimum for a clean, uncluttered layout.
On a more negative note, it’s quite annoying that I can’t gauge whether I’ve hit the peak treble, bass or volume. There’s no display on the unit itself or the remote, so you have to trust your ears (or keep looking at the blinking LED light on the soundbar) when bumping up the bass, toning down the treble or playing with volume.
Watching the Euro 2016 football games has been so much nicer thanks to the KitSound Stadium 120; we’re getting much clearer and louder sound in comparison to the TV’s standard speakers.
The thing is, watching standard freeview TV doesn’t provide the high quality of sound this soundbar needs to perform optimally. To get the most out of the Stadium 120, you need to play music via Bluetooth or watch a movie via AUX/HDMI/optical cable.
Using any of those outputs sound quality becomes considerably better, and thanks to the ability to control bass/treble settings you can really customise the sound to suit whatever you’re watching. I’ve found it to be quite versatile and works well, whether you’re watching movies or playing music. Also, one nice perk of having a wireless subwoofer is that you can place it anywhere in the room, so if you want a little extra bass like me, you can place it near your sofa instead of the TV.
KitSound Stadium 120: How good is it?
If what you’re looking for is improved sound quality for your TV and don’t want to splash out too much cash, the Stadium 120 is a good pick. The remote control and design leave something to be desired, but it does pump out good quality (and loud) sound, has plenty of thump to it thanks to its wireless subwoofer and with a range of inputs it’ll cater for TVs old and new.