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Customer Review

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are in the market for a Soundbar..., December 28, 2011
By 
This review is from: Sony HTCT550W 3D Sound Bar Home Theater System with Wireless Subwoofer (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Before you read about why you NEED to have this sound bar system at this price and don't want to listen to me rant about why you should get this and just want short, straight to the point specs... just scroll to the bottom and learn the exact details about why you should be buying this sound bar in this price range!

For all those who want ALL the details... read on:

So... first off, I must say that I was IN the market for a sound bar when I purchased the HTCT-550W, and NOT for a total surround sound package as so many people looking at sound bars get confused by. Sound bars are NOT complete surround sound packages and will NOT beat the sound of an expensive surround sound system... If you want a complete surround sound system, buy a complete surround sound system... but be prepared to pay for it. If you want great, clear sound at a ridiculously low price, then you need to get this sound bar system... even over a $400 complete surround sound package.

I had been looking for a sound bar system for my Samsung 55" LCD TV and had visited stores listening to the sound quality of many sound bars. I was fond of the Polk systems that were $399 but disappointed by their systems at $299 and under... I only wanted to spend $300 or less for the sound bar system, and was about to buy the Polk IHT3000 (as it sounded the best in this price range) when I saw the Sony HTCT-550W on Amazon for $260! I went to the local Video store to hear the sound bar, as they had them in stock listed at $349, but to my disappointment, they didn't have any demo models to listen to. After reading all the wonderful and not so wonderful reviews on Amazon about the HTCT-550W, I went with my gut, and purchased the system anyway - being that most of the negative reviews seemed to be from people wanting - A. a complete surround sound experience without having to have a complete surround sound package (which is completely ridiculous thinking by the way) or B. thinking the sound bar sounded "tinny" and "worse than the original TV's speaker" (which is also completely ridiculous since this is a Sony product and not some "first time" rip off electronics manufacturer with a name like Soknee or something like that... fact is, Sony has been doing this for years and is pretty darn good at what they do... why would they make a product WORSE than the original speaker in a TV?)

My leap of faith proved to be WAY more worth it than I could of expected... so below is the bottom line:

400 watts of power and it really feels like it! Our room for this is a 15' (from TV to couch) x 20' room and the bass shakes and both the sound bar is super crisp and clear.

3 HDMI pass through... this is FANTASTIC for being able to control the clutter!
HDMI Audio/Video input/output - not using COAX, but rather HDMI... again better sound with better cables.

This was taken from LDB's review and is "spot on" for set up:

Use newer standard HDMI high-speed cables only--that means newer 1.3 or any 1.4 1.4 includes ARC support HDMI cables not expensive HDMI cables just the new high-speed cables).
Turn off the Linear pulse-code modulation (LPCM) on the Audio Out on your Blu-ray player or game system. Instead select "Bitstream" for Audio Out on the devices you connect to your Sound Bar.
Your satellite, cable, or over-the-air box/signal may not broadcast Dolby Digital or DTS sound tracks some of the time depending upon the program (don't blame this on the sound bar). During these broadcasts you may experience lower quality sound. Use a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray disk to test these systems sound capabilities)

Take the time to understand the AMP menu on the receiver. Read the manual ;-)--this is where the right settings make all the difference between a lousy sound-bar experience and what you expected when you bought this sound-bar.
And finally, turn off your TV speakers when you want to use this system. If you leave your TV speakers on and use the sound bar at the same time then you might hear that horrible "thin" hollow sound I heard some complain about

Try these Amp Menu Settings on the receiver decrease the SW or Bass if these settings sound too low/deep for you):
Level: CNT +4, SW +6
Tone: Bass +5 or 6, Treble +3
Audio: Dual Mono: Main/Sub

Other Receiver settings:
DRC: Off
Sound Field: Movie

Note: For really BIG sound--try increasing the master volume +15 on the Receiver (independently) before you sync the TV volume with the Receiver Volume.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 4, 2012 4:29:25 PM PDT
nycsurvivor says:
Really great recommendations for settings. Made a huge difference. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 3:20:55 PM PDT
A. Gargano says:
Ditto, thank you for the great detailed information, it certainly made a difference!
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