Ameya DalviApr 03, 2020 14:15:36 IST
Price: Rs 7,999
Soundbars are still a niche product category in India, and budget soundbars even more so. This never ceases to amaze me given the huge number of flat screen TVs sold in our country. Most LED TVs manage to produce sound that’s serviceable for day-to-day TV viewing experience like news, sports and some daily soaps. But with the advent of OTT platforms (online streaming services) like Netflix, Prime Video, etc., that provide high fidelity audio along with 4K video, TV speakers are found wanting.
A good sound system is pretty much a necessity to enjoy the HD or 4K experience to the fullest. And a soundbar is just the right product if you do not like to see too many speaker wires running across the room. A five-digit price tag often serves as a deterrent for many thinking of testing the waters on a modest budget. Cloudwalker, a new entrant in this category, looks to address that with its Burst E3000 budget soundbar, the one that I have for review today. And it also looks to double up as a party speaker. Time to put on my party hat!
Cloudwalker Burst E3000 Soundbar: Design (7/10)
The Cloudwalker Burst E3000 soundbar is a sizeable unit measuring over three feet in length (94 cm, to be exact); that’s almost the width of most 43-inch TVs. It is draped in a glossy black body with a metal grille up front that bears a silver Cloudwalker logo. You also get a wooden subwoofer unit with a 5.25-inch driver placed on the right. The bundled cables are two metres long, providing decent separation between the sub and the bar. You also get a 3.5 mm Aux cable, and an RCA to Aux cable inside the box. The soundbar can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk.
The input ports are placed at the back of the soundbar, towards the top, right behind the four buttons (volume control keys, source selection and Play/Pause) that you see on the top surface. There is just about enough space to connect the cables to the ports in case you choose to wall mount it.
There is a multi-coloured LED at the front of the soundbar that displays a different colour for different input sources, and it blinks when it accepts an input from the bundled IR remote. A multi-segment LED display would have been a better alternative, I feel.
There is a white, tube-like structure along the bottom edge of the soundbar that hosts all the fancy lights that can display 11 different colours, or a mixture of them. You can choose your preferred shade from the remote or opt for beat lighting that flickers to the audio being played. Despite the party speaker element, this soundbar is neither meant to be carried around, nor is it battery operated. You have to plug it into a wall socket for it to function.
Cloudwalker Burst E3000 Soundbar: Specifications and Features (7/10)
There are a good amount of connectivity options on this soundbar, ranging from Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5 mm aux in, coaxial line in, and optical in. A couple of notable absentees are HDMI ARC and USB, which happen to be there on the Blaupunkt SBW–01 soundbar that we reviewed last year, and sells for a thousand or two lower than this Cloudwalker. This soundbar has four 2.25-inch drivers that deliver a total rated output of 40 W RMS, while the wired 5.25-inch subwoofer can deliver up to 60 W RMS. The total rated power for this system stands at 100 Watts RMS. Unlike the aforementioned Blaupunkt, this soundbar isn’t Dolby compliant.
You get a full-function wireless IR remote control in the package, which is quite compact but with average build quality. The necessary CR2025 battery is also supplied. The remote has controls for volume, bass, treble, equaliser presets, shortcuts for each of the inputs (Optical, Bluetooth, Aux, Line in) and a Bluetooth pairing button.
You also get playback controls, power and mute buttons, along with a key to choose the preferred lighting. Make sure you keep the remote safe as there are several features of this soundbar that you can control only from the remote.
Cloudwalker Burst E3000 Soundbar: Performance (6/10)
I tried multiple input sources to test the soundbar, and the output quality remains pretty much the same on Bluetooth, Line in and Aux. It’s nice that this soundbar can remember most of the last used settings like volume, bass, and treble levels, as well as the previous input source when you switch off the bar using the remote. Only the lighting resets to blue every time. But if you switch off power to the soundbar from the mains for a few minutes, it resets to default settings. When in Bluetooth mode, the master volume of this Cloudwalker soundbar is independent of the Bluetooth volume of the source device. So, you have to adjust both volumes separately, something I am not a fan of. Incidentally, when you adjust the soundbar volume, the Bluetooth volume bar pops up on the phone screen but the level doesn’t change.
Moving on to the sound quality, the moment you play some music on the Cloudwalker Burst E3000 soundbar, you’ll notice the abundance of bass. In fact, it is a bit too much and overbearing. The equaliser presets do you no good here. You simply need to turn down the bass to a minimum and treble to maximum from the remote to bring a degree of balance to the bass-heavy sound. Even then, there’s ample bass on offer to please the bassheads, and more to spare. Mind you, I am fond of some good, thumping bass myself, but it is too loose and boomy on this soundbar, and you get the best out of this speaker when you lower it to minimum (along with pushing treble all the way up).
The dynamic range of this system is average. The highs are good, and the mids are fine, as long as it’s not a bass heavy track. But if it is, then the lower mids get overpowered by the lows. The above is more conspicuous in music playback. When watching TV shows or movies, its shortcomings don’t come to the fore as much. There is very little to complain about the loudness either and is more than sufficient for a medium to large-sized room. The experience is way better than what you would get on TV speakers though, and dialogue clarity is more than decent too.
You can choose lighting of choice to suit your mood, or you can simply turn it off by keeping the light button on the remote pressed for a couple of seconds.
Cloudwalker Burst E3000 Soundbar: Price, alternatives and verdict
The Cloudwalker Burst E3000 soundbar is priced at Rs 7,999 with a one-year warranty. At that price, you get a soundbar with a rugged build, 100 Watts output, multiple audio inputs, and some fancy lights to go with it. The sound output is average in music but better suited for watching movies or a web series. This is not a bad soundbar, but there are better alternatives in the market for a lower price, like the Blaupunkt SBW–01 that offers noticeably better audio quality, Dolby audio support and more inputs, including HDMI ARC.
If you do not need HDMI ARC but prefer much better sound quality, then you may want to consider the Samsung HW K350/XL bar that sells for exactly the same price as this. You get 150 Watts of power with Dolby Digital support, and audio playback via the USB port.
However, if you want a product that appeals to the eyes more than your ears, and sets up the right mood for a house party (after we’re done with COVID–19), you may want to give this Clouldwalker soundbar a try. And you won’t be disappointed if ‘Baby ko bass pasand hai’!
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