OLED TVs deliver brilliant picture quality but audio capabilities are often lacking. Newly founded company Canvas aims to "complete the picture" with its powerful HiFi audiostand for LG OLED TVs that delivers real 3D audio. Prices start at $999. Read our first impressions.
Audiostand for LG OLED TVs
Newly founded company Canvas has today unveiled a one-box audio solution that integrates seamlessly with an LG OLED TV (2016+ B series or 2017+ C series). The company is promising an elegant solution with a HiFi-grade audio experience.
- "While sound quality is the driving force behind Canvas, we knew that to gain the edge on soundbars, including their subwoofers and HiFi systems, we had to eliminate the visual clutter via beautiful minimalistic design," Canvas said.
Canvas is designed and engineered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lead audio engineer, Kim Neeper, previously created the $20,000 Neeper Acoustics speakers and key technology from these speakers has found its way into the Canvas product, Kim explained. Canvas features a 4-channel HiFi-grade amplifier with 200W (RMW) output housed in a solid enclosure with trademarked BridgeBrace technology. Canvas has 30 liters of acoustic volume - far exceeding any soundbar plus subwoofer system.
Designing the product has been a journey, according to the three-man team comprising Kim Neeper, Marcus Tempte, and Jens Peter Zinck. Multiple prototypes were created but the breakthrough came after the team realized that the speaker had to be a stand for the OLED TV.
- "Pursuing the sensibilities of Scandinavian design pushed us towards ever-greater simplicity and elegance, and the epiphany came when we realised that the speaker should be a stand for the OLED TV – it literally completes the picture."
First impressions: The missing ingredient
The missing ingredient was 3D audio, specifically BACCH 3D Sound developed by a Princeton professor. The company explains that a recent breakthrough enables realistic 3D sound through just two speakers, achieved by using crosstalk cancellation.
- "It achieves this using crosstalk cancellation – essentially repositioning the sound so that the left and right speakers can only be heard by the respective ear. The result is real three-dimensional stereo imaging similar to free-standing High End speakers, without any form of coloration to the sound," the team explained.
FlatpanelsHD has experienced the Canvas speaker (a pre-production sample). While some may scoff at the notion of 3D audio from a set-up like this, we came away very impressed. It delivers powerful yet balanced TV sound and is an excellent music solution, too. In the sweet spot, the BACCH 3D system delivers clear separation between the left and right channels, and at the same time it manages to expand the spatial sound stage, with sound encompassing the viewer to some degree. The effect is not comparable to a full-fledged Atmos system but the 2-hour listening session convinced us that Canvas' claims of "real 3D audio" have merit, and at the same time it delivers a far better audio experience than high-end soundbars from well-known brands. We strongly encourage you to experience it later this year.
- "The technology to achieve this extraordinary width, depth and height is cutting edge and provided by BACCH 3D technology invented by Princeton professor - and literal rocket scientist - Edgar Choueiri," Kim Neeper explained.
Sitting in a couch in front of the Canvas speaker left us with an impression of looking at a fully integrated product, despite it being a module solution for existing TVs. The back is not as elegant as a Bang & Olufsen product but up against a wall most people would probably be hard pressed to tell this apart from a high-end TV. It looks almost like something Bang & Olufsen would have created.
The pre-production sample did not have wireless audio protocols built-in but Canvas says that the final product will, providing users with flexibility to transmit wireless TV audio to Canvas and have it integrate into multi-room systems based on popular protocols such as those from Apple, Google, and Spotify.
Also a full-fledged music system
An LG OLED TV must be physically mounted on top of the Canvas box and connected via HDMI ARC, Toslink or analog. However, the box also comes with a number of built-in capabilities to allow viewers to enjoy music even when the TV is off.
Canvas features built-in Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and DLNA. It can also be used in a Sonos system through Sonos Connect.
There is a top chamber large enough for an Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, or Amazon FireTV box as well as built-in cable management. The front cover that attached magnetically is available in five colors.
Canvas will not be cheap and it will face competition from global juggernauts such as Sony, Samsung, and LG who are ramping up efforts in the area of soundbars. Classic audio brands are also increasingly turning their attention to TV audio. Canvas, however, is confident that its solution will far surpass audio quality of flagship soundbars.
It adds an interesting twist to the story that LG is a launch partner of sort. At launch, Canvas has decided to make its product compatible with select LG OLED models only but it may extend compatibility to other brands of OLED TVs later on, it said.
Consumers from all countries can pre-order Canvas at an early bird price of $999 or $1099 for 55 and 65-inch models starting today, August 20, through canvas.audio. In October 2019, the company will launch a Crowdfunding campaign and announce further details regarding launch timing.
Canvas - specifications
LG OLED 55” and 65”, B and C Series, 2016 (B Series only), 2017, 2018, 2019
Rock solid 30 liters bass reflex, MDF with BridgeBrace technology
2 x High End SB Acoustics long excursion 6” diecast aluminium chassis
2 x High End SB Acoustics ring radiator with non-resonant rear chambers
4 channel HiFi, combined 200 Watt RMS
30 Hz - 20.000 Hz
Powerful AD 300 MIPS quad-core with BACCHTM 3D filter
Through iOS app, uses iPhones built in microphone
HDMI ARC, Toslink, Analogue, Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Tidal, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, DLNA, Sonos through Sonos Connect
FRONT STORAGE ROOM
Houses Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast 4K, Amazon Fire TV 4K etc
Cloth pouch on the back for hiding power strip, power & HDMI cables
Interchangeable magnetic covers in multiple colors