We have looked at LG’s Music Flow wireless multiroom system as a whole here - it performed well among our massive test of wireless multiroom systems in the March-April 2015 issue. The system combines network and online streaming up to high-res levels, plus point-to-point Bluetooth, and a control app which proved simple but effective. (Our full review is on AVHub.com.au.)
LG then launched additional Music Flow products including several soundbars (the LAS950M is reviewed here) and this little H4 speaker, which can connect by Wi-Fi to your network. It then streams music from your own network shares, from Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn (subscriptions required for the first two).
And new to Music Flow since our original round-up is Google Cast compatibility — Google Cast will allow network streaming from apps including Google Music, Rdio, Pandora and others, avoiding the need for a Bluetooth connection.
The little H4 may remind many of the little Bose SoundLink Mini — it has a similar size and form factor, though it lacks the Bose’s neat charging base, so the mains lead trails a little inelegantly from the side, where you’ll also find a minijack auxiliary input. Off the mains the internal battery offers a quoted 5.5 hours battery life when streaming via Bluetooth, a little less if you leave it on Wi-Fi.
For sound the little H4 packs dual racetrack-shaped 38 × 85mm opposed bass radiators, one firing forward, one back. These are unpowered, moving under the reverse energy from the stereo 38mm mid-treble drivers backed by a quoted 20W of power.
We were impressed again by the ease of connection here, using the Music Flow Player app to input our Wi-Fi password, getting the latest update (including GoogleCast ability) all in under 10 minutes. Connecting via Bluetooth is even quicker, of course.
The H4 worked perfectly network streaming under control of our iPad 2, even playing 24-bit/96kHz files from a NAS drive, perhaps slight overkill into a speaker so small! The latest version of the app seems to wait for instructions as to what network shares to index (under Settings/Music Library/Sync) rather than just getting on with it in the background; a sensible decision. We note also that WAV and AIFF files were indexed and playable but (on our system, anyway) didn’t read artist metadata, so were listed by track name only.
All also worked well streaming Spotify, Tunein and Deezer within the LG app itself. We had no luck Google Casting, though — no Google Cast icon appeared on Pandora or Google play on either our iPad 2 or our 5th-gen iPod touch. Early days, perhaps. [This review took place in August 2015.]
Sonically LG has a good little speaker here — it is limited in size by its physical dimensions, but within that constraint sound is balanced and musical, and not lacking in a sense of bass; the rear-firing passive radiator enables a little bass tuning near to but not flat against a rear surface or wall. Switching to Bluetooth had a slight impact on clarity, at higher frequencies in particular, but you hardly notice it except switching in direct comparison.
A last trick — as with several rival multiroom systems, you’ll be able to set up a pair of H4s as wireless rear speakers to work with one of LG’s Music Flow soundbars.
With such access to multiple music services, the potential to expand into a larger multiroom system, a decent app and high-res streaming capabilities, with rechargeable battery operation and a good small speaker sound, all for $279, it’s impressive technology for the money! LG continues to stake a strong claim in the multiroom music revolution.
LG Music Flow H4 (NP8350) Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker
+ Good sound for the size
+ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming to high-res
+ Google Cast-ready
+ Multiroom capable
- Google Casting didn’t work with our devices
Product page: www.lg.com.au