The Soundbar 75 is an impressive piece of budget audio kit for the price. By forgoing most smart features, and sticking with basic AV connections, Groov-e has managed to keep the cost down while still packing in capable sound.
The Groov-e Soundbar 75 sounds better than it looks. That’s not to say it’s an eyesore, but given the budget price tag and basic ‘black box’ design, the audio performance is considerably better than someone might expect for a soundbar at under £50 – offering a smart choice for someone with limited cash, who nonetheless wants the best audio performance they can muster.
At £49.99, this budget speaker is a far cry from even the entry-level $279/£279 Sonos Ray, but it may surprise you with the quality of sound on offer. The ‘75’ in the device’s name refers to its 75W output, offering a meaningful update to the typical 10-30W found in most TV screens.
That means you’ll get some serious heft, enough to make the Soundbar 75 a sensible choice as a cheap Bluetooth speaker, party speaker, or TV-connected soundbar.
But how good can the sound be at this bargain price – and where did Groov-e have to cut corners to make ends meet? Read on for the full details in our Groove-e Soundbar 75 review.
Design & Build
Basic LED status light
The Groov-e Soundbar 75 is relatively compact, measuring 10.3 x 50 x 6.5cm and weighing only 1.68kg – lighter than many laptops. It’s very easy to move between spaces, while the curved, black mesh across the front of the soundbar looks a little better than the glossy plastic used elsewhere on the device.
The soundbar should sit happily beneath your television, though if the screen is wall-mounted you also have the option to screw the soundbar into the wall – the rear of the device features a protruding mount that can easily hang on a pair of screws should you wish.
The remote is the main sticking point for the 75’s design. Playback and volume controls are crammed together in a single wheel, while less-important bass and treble controls are spread out across the remaining area of the remote, along with an EQ button that confusingly doubles as a way to turn off the LED light.
You’ll need two AAA batteries, which sadly aren’t included in the box.
Henry St Leger / Foundry
The LED status light is also disappointingly limited – with only two digits to communicate what type of connection you’re using, which means it resorts to a mismatch of upper- and lowercase letters to fit within those restrictions (OP, rC, AU, bt referring to optical, RCA, Aux and Bluetooth respectively).
The Groov-e Soundbar 75 packs in a regular smattering of ports and connections. You’ll likely be using the supplied optical cable to connect to a TV – there’s no HDMI support here as you would expect at this price – though the Soundbar 75 also features RCA connections and an Aux port for connecting other external devices that use a 3.5mm jack.
Bluetooth 5.0 support means you can connect devices like your smartphone or laptop wirelessly. The remote lets you cycle through audio output modes (Optical, RCA, AUX, and Bluetooth) so just make sure you’ve activated the right one.
Just be warned – the thin optical cable here has a habit of curling up and might require some cable management to not mess up the tidy front space of your TV.
Decent full-range sound
Sound is the key metric for any soundbar, and it’s one where the Groov-e Soundbar 75 just about beats expectations. Despite its low price, cheap-ish materials, and lack of premium add-ons, the core experience of listening to soundtracks, podcasts, or dialogue is a delight, with a clear sonic output boosted by a built-in subwoofer.
There can be a fraction of audio noise at higher frequencies – but barely noticeable, I should think, to the everyday listener. Overall, this is a competent, full-range audio experience that neither butchers the trained voices of professional actors nor leaves them without the impactful bass needed to give background noise weight and tension.
When watching All Quiet On The Western Front, it was apparent that the Soundbar 75 couldn’t match the surround sound setup I’d used to watch the Oscar-tipped film the month before – but it still offered a sizeable step up from the LG OLED TV I was watching on, delicately creating the flapping of a moth’s wings against an upturned glass, the trudge of boots across mud, or even bombs raining down in the distance.
Henry St Leger / Foundry
The forward-facing drivers are immediate and impactful, while the subwoofer packs surprising heft for its size (and cost).
It’s worth trying the ‘EQ’ function on the remote, which cycles through three presets with slightly varying effects. I was most comfortable on ‘E1’, finding that ‘E2’ lacked a little force, though you may find your own preference differs.
You can also adjust the bass and treble output through the remote, on a scale of +4/-4. For maximum impact, I’d ramp both of those up, but if you want to avoid disturbing your neighbors, then reducing the bass is an available avenue.
Henry St Leger / Foundry
Price & Availability
The Groov-e Soundbar 75 retails for £49.99, which is around the middle of the Groov-e soundbar range, between the entry-level Soundbar 20 (£29.99) and the top-end Soundbar 160 (£79.99).
It’s on sale exclusively in the UK from retailers such as Amazon, Robert Dyas and Currys.
For more options take a look at our best soundbars chart.
Budget soundbars are a tricky category – below a certain price point, it can be difficult to tell whether they really improve the sound you’d get from an average TV. However, the Groov-e Soundbar 75 manages to buck this trend with a confident sound output for the price.
There are some downsides to consider here: a subpar remote, generally cheap materials, and none of the smart features expected of modern audio kit aside from Bluetooth.
The audio performance isn’t perfect, and lacks the polish of more premium soundbars, but the sonic output is still dynamic and detailed enough to impress in a £49.99 piece of hardware – showing that Groov-e prioritised the right part of its product when trying to keep costs low.