Customer Reviews: RCA RT151 Home Theater System
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Price:$86.86+ $14.35 shipping
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on August 13, 2010
I live in a one bedroom apartment and this system is as powerful as I'll ever need. I gambled on it because of the price, figuring it would probably suck, but hoping it would at least be a little better than my TV sound. I was wrong. It doesn't suck at all. It's actually pretty awesome. In fact it sounds almost as good as my ex-roommate's surround system which cost a couple hundred dollars more.

I was a little worried when I opened the box and saw how tiny all the speakers were, but they produce very big sound for their size. Anyone who wants thundering bass that will rattle the walls should definitely look elsewhere but if you are living in an apartment, this unit should be more than sufficient for your needs. It sounds absolutely great for what it is - a budget priced surround system.

I don't understand the people who have mentioned needing to augment these speakers with their TV sound. I think that they must have the speakers hooked up wrong or have the individual channels (front, center, sub-woofer and rear) turned down, so the master volume isn't giving them what they need. I can only turn the volume up about half-way before I start to worry about my neighbors, so I'm clearly getting something different out of my set-up. I don't think I'm just being overly courteous either - at full volume, with the doors closed, the system can be heard fairly easily from the courtyard/hallway outside of my apartment. With the standard settings, the rear channel is a little quiet for my taste, but since there is individual control for the different channels, it is very easy to adjust.

The biggest problem with the system is that there are only two composite inputs and one front facing "line-in" portable audio input. That means no HDMI, component or IR inputs and if you want to hook up more than two devices, you're going to need a separate switcher. The higher end inputs are not a big deal for me. I have already stated that I live in an apartment and must be courteous with my volume. HDMI, component, or IR would allow for much better fidelity with a system that really cranks, but with my personal needs in mind, the two composite inputs are just fine. Besides, how much do you expect for $56?

In summary; This system is amazing for the price. Perfect for apartments, dens, etc. There are some limitations and it may not be the right system for you if you are living in a big house, but it definitely exceeded what I expected to get from it.

+ Price. Can't be beat.
+ Compact size - perfect for an apartment
+ Good sound and pretty loud for such a compact system - again, perfect for small to mid-sized apartments.
+ Remote with individual channel controls. This is very handy and not available in the other units I saw in this price range.
+ Audio device port is a nice bonus

- Bass is less than thunderous
- Limited inputs
- Probably not appropriate for large rooms in large houses
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on August 29, 2010
I didn't expect much from a $56 set of speakers... just needed to replace my 2.1 sound and figured i'd try a 5.1 set. I am amazed at the quality and sound it produces. here are my pro's and con's

-plenty of power
-3 channels two RCA in rear and a headphone jack in front for ipod
-independent mute and volume control for Front, Center, Rear, and Sub
-Regular speaker wire inputs in rear of sub, so you can use different speakers eventually.
-easy set up
-remote control
-decent sound for the price range

-no areas to attach mounts to speakers, have to drill into them.
-no independent control for each speaker. front two are together and rear two are together.
-limited sub control(had to rearrange the equalizer on our tv to get more out of it)
-speaker wire could be longer but I just ordered more to extend it.

overall probably should be paying closer to $100 for this set
and at $56 it's a deal

Not the best but great for the money
I rate it my best buy so far of 2010
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on April 11, 2010
I'm using this as the sound system for a TV and CD/DVD player in a small room. It works great. The sound is excellent for my use and the ability to control the volume and other input levels is a big plus. Other sound systems that I looked at in the same price range did not have the remote. I've been using the RCA RT151 system for a couple of months with no problems.
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on December 10, 2012
I was looking for an inexpensive home theater system. My wife had complained about the tv audio. I knew it was bad but the room with the TV didn't really allow a home theater set up so I hadn't bothered.

Searching Amazon I found the RCA RT151 system. Cheap and highly rated. You don't see that a lot. I ordered.

System arrived, I opened package, scattered speakers around in semi-appropriate locations, hooked up input cable and applied power. The result was a lot of audio without any bass. Totally woofless. Using skills honed through 45 years of electronic trouble shooting, I lighly slapped the side of woofer enclosure. It worked.....for a few seconds. During those few seconds it was five stars. Told Amazon to send a replacement.

Excellent audio performance for the money. Much better than original tv speakers. Wife is happy.

I suggest the following unpacking/troubleshooting steps.

Remove main enclosure and connect it to your tv and power it up. If your tv is like mine you will now have a 2.1 system consisting of your tv speakers and the bass unit. Should sound better already. Let it run for 30 minutes to an hour. If there are no problems take the next step.

Remove ONE small speaker and use it to confirm the remaining 5 channels are working by connecting this speaker to each channel in turn. If system passes this test, complete installation. If it doesn't pass, you have a minimum amount of re-packing to do.

Edit: As this is a surround sound system the back channels may appear to have low audio levels on a lot of sound sources.

Many people have said that this is not a surround sound system. What it is not is a DISCRETE surround sound system. Using matrix networks it is possible to encode more than two channels of audio into two channels of audio. (Strange but true.) Not perfect, but not bad.

There have been complaints about the lack of hanging facilities on the small speakers. I recommend using 3M Command brand hanging strips. The 17024CLR package of Command Small Refill Strips will hang 12 speakers. Be sure you leave the rounded release tab accessible.
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on October 31, 2010
I must admit that despite some of the earlier favorable reviews, I was prepared to settle for mediocre sound quality. After all, what can you buy for ~$50? Far from it! This little beauty has nice clean sound and room filling volume. (My room is about 14 X 16, but the unit could easily handle a larger area). My son, who helped me install it, commented that it was better than our main home theater system which cost 5X as much. I am very pleased with this purchase.
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on July 5, 2012
You get a tremendous amount for your money here. 6 speakers (all pre-wired), a remote control, and one RCA cable for connecting one accessory. Sound quality is adequate, but won't blow you away. The remote is where some of the most important functions are. It has power; master volume; individual volume control for center, front pair, rear pair, and subwoofer (allows some adjustment of bass relative to the more treble-heavy small speakers); input source; "channels" (switches between 5.1 surround sound and 2.1 stereo with subwoofer); mute; and reset (takes you back to nominal settings). Subwoofer/amplifier measures 9.5 inches tall x 7" wide x 12" deep. Five speakers are identical in size at 4 inches tall x 3.25" wide x 2.75" deep.
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on August 8, 2012
I have a cheap TV and the built-in speakers are awful, so I am very happy to have this home theater system by RCA.

- It's very affordable.
- It's very easy to set up. All the wires are color-coded to the corresponding ports on the main hub/subwoofer.
- Sound quality is just fine.
- The system comes with plenty of wire for a small living-room.
- The controls are simple and intuitive.
- You can adjust the subwoofer level, the center speaker volume, the front L/R speaker volumes, and the back L/R spear volumes.
- The small, inconspicuous speakers are easy to hide amongst the decor of your room.
- You really can't crank it up enough to disturb the neighbors. I think this counts as a blessing in disguise.

- It has plenty of volume for attentively watching a movie, but if you're trying to listen to music while doing any noisy chores or if you're trying to fill the house with music, you'll wish you had more volume.
- The back speakers are much quieter than the front speakers when playing music. I was hoping to fill my whole living room with surrounding music but instead the volume is heavily weighted to the front speakers. For surround-sound movies they seem to be at the right levels.
- The subwoofer is ok, but you can't get great bass out of it. Don't even think about throwing a dance party.
- The remote only works if you have an unobstructed beeline from the front of the remote to the front of the hub.
- You're likely to put the subwoofer in a shadowy place (under your tv table or behind the tv), meaning that the black, non-backlit controls will be impossible for you to read when you try to adjust anything. I often use the remote just because the labels on the remote make it easy to see what it is I'm changing.
- It only has the standard RCA inputs (like your regular red and white L/R audio inputs). I've heard some flatscreens these days just have hdmi output for audio, so make sure have RCA outputs on your tv before you get this.
- The color-coded wire stands out against your decor if you don't have anything to hide it behind.

Overall, if you're on a tight budget and your TV's sound is weak, this is a great buy. College students and apartment-dwellers would likely find this system to be their perfect match.
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on December 21, 2010
Do not be fooled -- this does not have any sort of multi-channel input at all. Not SPDIF, not optical, not even a forest of RCA jacks. It has three separate inputs you can switch between but they are all just stereo. Sound quality is adequate for most things but it's not a true surround system. If you want or need to distinguish between sound in front and sound in back, as opposed to just throwing sound from every direction at once, skip this unit.

Since most desktop computers will output multi-channel sound this unit is not capable of handling, it is not suitable as a gaming rig either.
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on February 8, 2013
Right away if you are looking for something super duper loud and hi tech! Not it But if not..

I wasn't necessarily knowing what to expect.. But, I looked up 80w which is how loud this speaker gets and as far as I remember I think an adverage tv goes up to about 60w. So this is pretty decent. It's great for a small living room. It isn't super loud but, in a quiet house it is. It's loud enough.. so to speak. I love that I can hook my Iphone up to it and sooo many different things. I tell you what it does its job being a surround sound though definitely. It sounds super duper fantastic through out the living room. It isn't the best or loudest but, it is good enough. I enjoy it! Also almost forgot that the bass is also awesome!

In the box, the subwoofer/amp, remote (battery included), rca cord (to connect things like dvd player, tv etc), the manual, receipt, 5 little speakers (1 center, 2 front lft & rght, 2 back lft & rght) umm.. And that was about it.

Came in great condition, on time... Everything intacted and in order. Any questions ask..

So far i've had it for about 10hrs.
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on June 21, 2013
Okay this is too small to have any real boom to it, but its for the television to watch shows. So unless you're watching a concert, this gives pretty decent sound.

I purchased this system to replace the new Logitech Z506 system I bought earlier. No where did the Logitech indicate that the rear channel would give no sound when connected to the two channel RCA plugs. (I even downloaded the skimpy instructions for the Logicrud) I put this in my brother's home and the first thing his girlfriend said when she walked in and the TV was on, "That sounds better [than the the Z506 system], what did you guys do?"

I did not measure the lengths of the speaker wires but I stretched the front speakers out about 6 feet on each side of the sub and had plenty of wire left over. The rear speakers have about double the length as the front so depending on how you run the speakers, you should have plenty of wire to fit an average size room. (20x20ish)

Big improvement over the poor sound from a flat screen (42" Sharp).

Can't adjust the tone, but the remote has a master and separate volume adjustments. You can adjust the volume for the front, rear, center and sub separately so if you want the feel of a little more bass, adjusting the bass volume up gives that. Or you can use the master volume to adjust all channels at once. The remote also has a control for 2.1 stereo but that produces no sound from the rear channel. Don't lose the small remote though as that is the only way to use all its functions. The sub does not have all that control on its few buttons.

Overall, If its for a television and you're using RCA connections, on a budget, I would recommend this system. There is NO WAY I could recommend the Logitech system for television/ RCA use. The RT151 is better sounding and uses all the speakers.
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