Excellence enhanced: Five ways to get more from award-winning Panorama 2

We’re delighted with the critical reception given to our Panorama 2 soundbar.

On top of the recently received prestigious EISA Award, the soundbar received Best Buy review in Home Cinema Choice, a Group Test win in What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and a Top Pick rating from Home Theater.

With comments such as “it outguns its rivals for pure sonic ability” and “it’s the soundbar all other soundbars wish they could be”, it’s clear the critics rate the Panorama 2 as highly as we do.

All the same, we thought we could offer some useful extra tips to help you get the very most from it – so here goes…

  • Use your TV’s remote to operate your whole system

Although the Panorama 2 includes a remote handset, you don’t have to use it. Make the most of the control features offered by HDMI and you’ll be able to operate your soundbar using your TV’s handset or Smart TV control app instead.

It works like this. Panorama 2 includes four HDMI sockets: three for input only, and a fourth that supports the Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature included on most modern TVs. ARC HDMI functions as both input and an output, so with one cable from your Panorama 2 you can both send video signals up into your TV and receive sound signals from it. That also means the Panorama 2’s three remaining HDMI sockets are free for use with other source components.

Obviously this makes wiring your system up a little easier and neater: you’ll only need one longer HDMI cable (from the Panorama 2 up to your TV), while all your source components (satellite receiver, Blu-ray player and so on) can use shorter HDMIs to link directly into the Panorama 2. That’s handy for wall-mounted TV installations. If you prefer, you could opt for an alternative solution – routing your audio sources into your TV and then outwards via its ARC HDMI socket into the Panorama 2 – but we’d recommend avoiding that route if possible. Not all TVs are effective at passing on audio signals to other components: indeed, some must convert Dolby Digital 5.1 signals into stereo LPCM sound, meaning you’d be losing out on quality.

But those HDMI connectors do more than simplify your connections: they also support HDMI’s Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) feature, making your system much easier to use. Thanks to CEC – a feature found on HDMI-equipped TVs since 2008 – you can use your TV’s remote control to operate the Panorama 2’s volume, so you don’t need to use the remote handset that comes in the box with the product. So long as you turn off one source device before turning on the next component, your Panorama 2 will automatically switch between sources for you too. Finally, turn off your TV and your Panorama 2 will turn off – and naturally, it’ll spring into life when you turn the TV back on, too.

  • Stream to Panorama 2 from your Smart TV

If you’ve recently bought a TV it’s very likely to feature Smart TV services from a range of providers. This can include both film and catch-up TV platforms – such as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer – plus a range of music services. Depending on region you live in and the specific services offered by your brand of TV, you can choose from music streaming providers such as Amazon Cloud Player, Aupeo!, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody and Spotify. And of course, so long as you’ve connected your TV to your Panorama 2 (see above) you’ll be able to enjoy all that music in superior sound quality.

  •  Upgrade to AirPlay streaming

AirPlay – Apple’s wireless audio/video streaming technology – allows you to stream over your wireless network from your iOS device or any computer running iTunes.

One way to use AirPlay with your Panorama 2 is to add an Apple TV: simply link it to one of the three available HDMI inputs, and you can stream both video and audio into your system. Where Dolby Digital 5.1 is present – as it is on some iTunes films and many Netflix releases – it will pass through to the Panorama 2’s on-board audio decoding, while picture signals will be handed on intact to your TV screen.

However, as good as it is, Apple TV is not the optimum choice for AirPlay music streaming. It has a fixed upsampling rate (16-bit/48kHz): by contrast, Apple’s Airport Express will pass through music files in their unadulterated 44.1kHz form, making it the better choice for some buyers. You’ll need to purchase a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm optical digital cable – about £10 – to link the Airport to your Panorama 2, although that also means its other HDMI inputs will remain available for use with other sources.

  • Stream from Android devices

Want to use Bluetooth instead of AirPlay? Bluetooth aptX will deliver the best sound quality. To access it, you’ll need an external Bluetooth receiver, similar in size and concept to an Airport Express (note: not a USB dongle). With one of these devices you can stream music from your smartphone wirelessly into the Panorama 2 – and some products also include an optical digital output socket, so you can link them digitally into the Panorama 2’s optical digital input for optimum sound quality. Again, that’s much like an Apple Airport Express (above).

  • Add a subwoofer

Panorama 2 won’t require additional bass reinforcement in many rooms: it’s already a powerful performer. However, it does include an output socket to power an active subwoofer, so if you listen in an especially large room – or if you fancy an even weightier sound in a smaller space – an active sub is worth considering as an upgrade.

It’s easy to add in. First, you’ll need a long subwoofer interconnect cable to link from the Panorama 2’s rear panel to your sub: these cost around £15. When you connect the two products together, the Panorama 2 will automatically apply the necessary low-pass filter to optimise its performance with a subwoofer connected: just remember to turn the low-pass filter in your subwoofer up to its maximum setting, or turn it off altogether if the opportunity exists to do so.

You can help any subwoofer to sound better by positioning it carefully. Once you’ve done that, go to the Panorama 2’s Sound Menu and adjust its Subwoofer Distance and Subwoofer Level settings to the correct values. Distance refers to the distance from the subwoofer to your seat, not from the subwoofer to the Panorama 2: Level refers to the volume of the bass itself. Here, you should aim for a bass level that contributes to the performance, not dominates it.

 

 

28 Comments

  • Rik says:

    Can I use a b&w pv1 sub with my panarama 2 cheers

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    The Panorama 2 can indeed be used with an additional subwoofer. Please refer to page five of the owner’s manual (following link) for instructions; http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Downloads/Product/Manual/Panorama2_Manual.pdf

  • Jeff says:

    Am buying a smart TV with fibre optic connector and can I use this instead of the HDMI connection to connect TV with sound bar 2. Then all the audio and video only via HDMI to sound bar. This means I can use more effective 4 HDMI connection. Thanks.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    The Panorama 2 features both an analogue and digital 3.5mm input, you will therefore indeed be able to connect source devices or a TV using a Mini-TOSlink cable.
    For more info please refer to the oweners manual online here; http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Downloads/Product/Manual/Panorama2_Manual.pdf

  • Mogens says:

    Hi! is it possible to connect 2 x Sonos 5 to Panorama 2, and use it as a complete music system?
    Best regards
    Mogens

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Hi Mogens,

    It is not possible to connect additional external speakers to the Panorama, with the exception of an active subwoofer.

  • firouze says:

    Hi ,
    i have been enjoying good music with my B&W speakers DM 602.5 Sr # 6398 powered by Denon PMA 1500 since 15+ years Now the drivers are giving a problem & they cannot be replaced by B&W as its too old .
    So now i need to upgrade to Panarama2 will it deliver the quality sound which i have been enjoying with my DM 602.5

    just read about the bluetooth external receiver which is this attachment -is it too bulky , can i listen to the music from my samsungsmart phone or my laptop Thank you

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Hi ,

    Thank you for contacting us, we’re sorry to hear about your DM-602.5’s.

    The Panorama 2 is a different design to the DM-602.5’s. The DM-602.5’s are a pair of floor standing speakers whereas the Panorama 2 is a TV Soundbar. Because of this we would not be able to compare the two products accurately.

    We recommend using the following link to our website which will help you find a Bowers & Wilkins Retailer who sells the Panorama 2. Once you have found a retailer we would recommend arranging to visit the store and listen to the Panorama 2 yourself. This would be the best test for you to perform so that you can compare the two speakers.

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/store

    In regards to an external Bluetooth receiver. We would not be able to confirm the compatibility of this device as this is not something we produce. It may be the case that other customers have purchased and used this device however we cannot confirm its compatibility with the Panorama 2 and other devices.

    Kind regards,
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • paul says:

    hi,
    i have a problem and dont know hot to solve it. i have a panorama to with u vusolo satellite. the panorama 2 is connected with fibre optic to the tv. the problem is that when i press the volume plus of the satellite my panorama 2 goes mute every time. its anoying

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    If pressing the volume plus button on the satellite remote mutes the Panorama 2 it will indicate that the IR command on the satellite remote for volume plus is the same for the IR mute command on the Panorama 2 remote.

    We would recommend getting in touch with your local Bowers & Wilkins technical support team using this link so they can look into this in-depth and confirm our theory above; http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/contact_us

  • Aaron says:

    I have the 2016 generation of Apple TV. Turning Apple TV on, turns my tv on. The Apple TV Volume buttons do nothing however. The sound volume that comes out of Netflix, versus ITunes is extremely different. Is there anyway to control sound bar volume with Apple remote?

  • bali says:

    Is it possible to use the On Screen Display of the Panorama 2 on a UHD TV? On the support page it is indicated that for displaying the OSD menu, the resolution of the TV must be set to 720 or 1080p, which is barely possible on a higher-resolution TV.. Thank you.

  • Fer says:

    How you can connect to a Airport Extreme if the device has not a 3.5 jack, only the Airport Express =S

    Error on the post?

  • Kristian Behel says:

    I bought the Panorama 2 (P2), to connect to my brand new LG OLED B6 series television.
    But the TV does not recognize any video signal coming from the P2. So I can’t see the on screen display to setup the P2. How do I fix this issue. I have connected my PS4 also and it doesn’t relay that video signal either.
    The TV has ARC HDMI channel which I connected by HDMI to the P2 TV out HDMI connection.
    Please help, as I am at the point of returning the P2 in favor of another sound bar.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    You correct, you cannot connect an AirPort Extreme to the Panorama 2 using a 3.5mm cable – you can with the AirPort Express.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    You will be able to use the OSD on a UHD TV, the key factor is that there is a source device with a minimum resolution of 720p connected via HDMI to the Panorama 2 in order for it to be displayed.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Sorry to hear you are experiencing issues with your Panorama 2. Please ensure that you have the connection method below;

    PS4 > HDMI 1 (P2)
    TV (ARC) > HDMI in/out (P2)

    Then you will need to ensure that the Panorama 2 is in input ‘1’ for your PS4 and input ‘4’ for your TV.

    If you are still experiencing issues please use the following link to get in touch with our technical support team who will be more than happy to help.

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/contact_us

  • rebecca says:

    Unfortunately the Apple TV does not have any CEC control such as a TV so is unable to control the volume of connected speaker devices such as the Panorama 2. You will need to control the volume level of the Panorama 2 using the pebble remote supplied or the TV remote (providing the TV is connected to the Panorama 2 via the HDMI ARC port.

  • Dan Vargas says:

    Can I use my Panaroma or Panaroma 2 (I have both) as a center channel speaker? I have Samsung smart TV’s as well as the Onkyo TX-NR646 as well as the Onkyo TX-RZ800. What would I need to do to set it up as such? Thanks!

  • rebecca says:

    Both the Panorama models are stand-alone surround sound speakers designed to re-create a surround sound experience. It will therefore not be possible to use the Panorama as only a centre speaker.

  • Alex says:

    Are there any Bluetooth capabilities with the sound bar? Or is an auxiliary cord the only way to play music from a phone?

  • Vit says:

    Id like to play music on Panorama 2 directly from my iphone without using apple tv. Can I just simply plug an external BT receiver in, will it work? What brand would you recommend to buy?

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Neither Panorama or Panorama 2 have Bluetooth connectivity, so in order to connect your phone you would have to use the Aux input on the rear of the Panorama, using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cable.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    The only option for connecting a phone would be via the Aux input on the rear of the Panorama, using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cable.

  • Jack Inman says:

    I love my B&W Panorama 2! Have had it for a few years and recently was gifted an Amazon Echo with Alexa.. Please advise best means of integrating the 2. I have heard that using an Echo DOT with Bluetooth may be the answer but wanted a bit more direction. Many thanks!

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Dear Jack,

    Thank you for contacting us.

    The simplest way to connect your Amazon Echo to the Panorama 2 would be via a 3.5mm stereo cable from the output of the Echo into the 3.5mm Aux input on the rear of the Panorama 2.

    Kind regards,
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • Nigel Blacker says:

    I am seriously considering getting a Panorama 2, In terms of connectivity HD broadcasts provide no problem however if I watch a 4K broadcast what is the best method of connecting, Optical?
    Is there any way of retaining Dolby or DTS through 4K viewing.

    Thank you.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Thank you for your message Nigel. Unfortunately, as the Panorama 2 does not support 4k video pass through, any audio for 4k sources would need to be via the TV itself. This would present two options, if the TV has an ARC enabled HDMI port you can connect this to the output of the Panorama 2. Any audio from a source connected to the TV would then be routed via the HDMI cable to the Panorama2. The second option would be as mentioned by yourself, would be to use an optical output from the TV (if available) to connect to the Aux input on the rear of the Panorama 2 using a toslink to mini toslink cable. The optical cable option may be a simpler option to setup on this occasion.

    With regards to retaining Dolby or DTS, it will depend on the specification of the TV whether it will pass through Dolby/DTS via the optical/HDMI ports, in general most TV’s will decode to stereo for output through the TV’s own speakers.

    Alex
    Bowers & Wilkins

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