The SC-UA7 wireless speaker system might not exactly bring the house down but Panasonic’s latest definitely feels like a package primed to become the life of the party. At least, as long as you’re okay with the absence of high-resolution audio.
If you’ve never dealt with a speaker of this caliber before, it’s easy to get excited SC-UA7. While there are plenty of other speakers on the market, few that can fill a room with quite as much boom as this one. The first time you turn it on, it feels liable to blow you away. After a bit more time with it, however, the polish wears off. What you’re left with is a speaker that definitely swings above its competition but doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its price-tag.
The short version: there’s a lot to like here but – apart from the raw watts behind the SC-UA7’s sub-woofer – it’s not quite clear why it comes this speaker is more expensive than its competition. Sure, it’s got an appearance that helps it stand out from the crowd. However, at the end of the day, it’s performance that matters most. While we feel confident saying that the SC-UA7 definitely sounds good, but it’s hard to say how much better it sounds than its competition – which is crucial to justifying the product’s higher price.
Still, when it comes to performance, this speaker comes more than prepared to fight that particular fight. Combining the power of a fully-fledged sub-woofer with a slick and hexagonal design, the SC-UA7 comes equipped with a hefty total power output of 18,700 watts.
It’s easy enough to set up, requiring only a single power port despite the heavy-voltage behind it. It’s got all the ports and format support you expect out of a modern speaker – minus support for hi-res audio. Essentially, Panasonic are investing in high volume over fidelity. For some, that might be a deal-breaker no matter how nice the aesthetics of the speaker are.
Though the exterior of the speaker does come across as slightly-odd or unconventional at first, this aspect of the product quickly grew on it. With the SC-UA7 it feels like Panasonic have managed to eke out a deft middle ground between what you do and don’t expect a speaker to look like. Though it can pull audio over Bluetooth, it’s not wireless in the truest sense – still needing a power cable to function.
Appearances might not count as much in the audio world versus fidelity. However, they do still count for something. The SC-UA7 looks like a clean and refined realisation of what a speaker could be, without necessarily clinging to closely to what’s come before. It’s not quite a revolution but it’s definitely a refreshing point of difference on its competition.
The most distinctive thing beyond the hexagonal shape is the layer of glass that separates the two halves of the speaker. This glass comes with a blue LED backlight that can be toggled between two presets using the remote. In reality, this feature is going to depend very much on the environment in which you setup the SC-UA7. Still, if it doesn’t suit, you can always just disable it outright.
The control panel that sits on top of the SC-UA7 is a touch-based one, which works well enough – even if it does occasionally fall short on responsiveness. There’s a physical remote and companion app that can also serve as adequate substitutes.
Of course, as we said before, a speaker is only as good as it sounds – and we’re happy to report that the SC-UA7 sounds pretty great to our ears. The system combines four 6cm tweeters, four 8um midrange woofers and a matching pair of 16cm super-woofers to great effect.
The SC-UA7 leverages a veritable armada of speakers designed to minimize distortion and maximize resonance, courtesy of a unique port technology that Panasonic have branded “Airquake”. When in use, this feature works to amplify the bass produced to a powerful “airquake” experience, pushing any and all audio generated away from the woofer unit.
In our experience, we found vocal-heavy music sounded better if you stood in the path of the speaker’s front-facing panel. However, that’s not to say we couldn’t hear it elsewhere. Far from it, in fact, the SC-UA7 produced pretty clean and audible listening experiences to all within a reasonable distance of it.
The SC-UA7 does come in a little higher than some of its competitors but, at the same time, it’s got a lot more going for it. If you want maximum volume and you’re willing to pony up the cash, it’s hard to imagine you’ll disappointed by the beastly performance afforded to the SC-UA7. However, if you’re looking to get the most value for your dollar over volume for it, you might want to keep looking.
The SC-UA7 is priced at an RRP of $769 and available through JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.