I had a feeling of dread as I turned on Sky’s Soundbox. When you test speakers, it’s always best to play something you know very well, just so you can hear the difference.
So I chose a soundtrack that shreds my soul each one of the 20-odd times I hear it every day: the ghastly theme tune to Paw Patrol, to which my toddler son is hopelessly enslaved.
The Soundbox works with Sky boxes and TVs to boost the sound, and it’s surprisingly ‘serious’ hi-fi gear
Through the Soundbox, it genuinely sounded like a different song. Obviously, I still hate it with a burning passion that I will carry to my grave, but it suddenly ‘separated’ into instruments instead of the normal shrieky jangle that I first hear at 5.45am.
The Soundbox works with Sky boxes and TVs to boost the sound, and it’s surprisingly ‘serious’ hi-fi gear. It’s made in partnership with posh French audio firm Devialet, which normally specialises in outrageously expensive speakers with bass that thrums through your digestive system like a death ray.
True to form, it delivers ridiculous woofs and booms. Things don’t tinkle, they thud and crash. You actually hear things like bass guitars and Vin Diesel’s voice. It’s a great deal for Sky subscribers, as you pay £799 for the speaker if you’re not signed up.
But it’s also a rather clever device, with various ‘sound modes’ that tune up the audio from a Sky Q box, including a useful one that singles out voices so you can hear what people are saying on television.
Personally, I’d prefer it if modern directors made shows you could actually hear, rather than me having to fork out £300 for an add-on device, but that’s the modern world for you.
There are a couple of downsides, though: you’re basically squandering its powers if you put it inside a TV cabinet, as it needs room to flex its muscles.
And it’s occasionally a little too clever for its own good, as it automatically adjusts the volume – which ‘flattens out’ the soundtrack of films, so there are no jarring sounds to make you spill your popcorn. Mind you, this is a blessing when it comes to the endless tide of rubbish that normally plays through my TV.