Rich Warren: No audio outputs on new TV means a likely return
LG put one over on Mr. Technology. I saw a lonely LG 22-inch TV sitting on a Target shelf for an appealingly low price, not much more than the similar no-name TV on sale next to it.
The impressive LG specs promised 1080p resolution, a rarity at that screen size. As repeatedly mentioned in this column, most new TVs reproduce dreadful sound because all the engineering and real estate go to the display rather than the speakers. Bose alleviates this issue with its Solo TV sound system, even if the Solo TV costs double what I paid for this TV. (And yes, Bose underwrites the syndication of my radio show.)
I've been using the Solo TV since its introduction, and it saved my first-generation 21-inch Samsung TV from premature recycling.
However, being first generation, that Samsung displays an unimpressive picture, which is why I decided to splurge on the LG.
Imagine my surprise and shock when after unboxing the LG 22LN4510, I discovered that it lacked any audio outputs. Unless the Bose engineers know something about this set they can share with me, it looks like it will be going back to Target.
There's no reason a small-screen TV can't have big sound.
Coincidentally, this is an unsolicited email from a reader, who to the best of my knowledge does not have a radio show underwritten by Bose:
"Last week you wrote about horrible speakers on new TV sets. I plug a cable from my set into the auxiliary on my Bose radio/CD and get wonderful sound. I concur. If you have a Bose Wave product, or for that matter any good sound system located near your TV, and your TV has an audio output, you can improve the sound by simply plugging the output into your existing sound system. More than likely, it will sound worlds better than the TV's built-in sound."
Heres a question from a reader with a probable solution:
"We have a Magnavox radio and record player with internal speakers that is probably 50 years old. It's a nice piece of furniture, about 18 inches wide, 35 long and 26 high, but it doesn't work very well.
"Unfortunately, the audio volume fluctuates and the turntable doesn't turn. Therefore, when the radio is used, it could be pleasant until the sound either is blaring or disappears. Do you have any recommendations where it could be taken for repair?"
Champaign-Urbana is home to two old-fashioned repair shops, not that they can't repair some recent, high-tech gear as well. Radio Doctors, at the corner of First and White streets in Champaign, has a long established reputation for repairing most things not made in China.
Another established repair shop is Glenn Poor's TV Service Pro Tech, 609 W. Springfield Ave., U. Don't confuse this Glenn Poor's with the audio-video shop in Old Farm Shops.
As an aside, the fine wood cabinetry of old radios and audio systems often qualified as a work of art in and of itself. Nowadays, you could remove the massive old radio and install a modern radio the size of a credit card (or smaller).
Here's another timely question:
"My husband has requested that his turntable be replaced for Christmas. Do you have any suggestions for the casual vinyl listener, in the $500 or less category?"
You can purchase a very good turntable for less than $500, including a respectable phonograph cartridge. Riga makes excellent models in that category. Denon and Audio-Technica continue marketing complete lines of turntables. I'd recommend spending at least $250 and above when choosing a Denon or A-T.
A brand with which I'm not familiar is Pro-Ject, but it markets a couple of under-$500 models. Check in with Poor's Audio-Video, the one in the Old Farm Shops at Kirby and Mattis. If you're in the Chicago area, visit Audio Consultants, 1014 Davis St., Evanston.
Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. He can be emailed at email@example.com.