Customer Review

391 of 421 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio Dad likes his new toy!, August 15, 2010
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This review is from: Sony HT-CT150 3D Sound Bar System (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Background: I am an audio enthusiast with 3 small children. My previous audio system, run by 3 Carver stereo amps, is in boxes in the basement, as I did not want little hands breaking things or blowing up pieces. The old system had more spent in Monster Cable wiring then this system cost. Life changes and the wife did not want speakers and wires everywhere so I made a compromise.

Current Setup:
Sony Bravia TV (2006)
Sony HTCT150
Sony Digital Media Port TDM-iP10
Sony PS3 - Original 60gig
Nintendo Wii
Leap Frog - Zippity

At the time of this review I have owned the HTCT150 for just over 2 weeks and have been quite impressed with the results. The main reason I got the system is for movies and TV watching and being able to hear and control the sound. The output range is good and it does a nice job with lows and high end. I liked that the system could be passive as the PS3 is our main DVD player and entertainment source, i.e. Netflix streaming. I have the PS3 hooked up via HDMI. HDMI up to the TV and from the TV I have both optical out and RCA. The TV will not do ARC (audio return channels) though HDMI and the TV will not convert analog audio (Wii and Zippity) to optical. I let the TV handle the analog audio, RCA switching and have the RCA's go into SA-CD/CD, seems on the HTCT150 the TV RCAs will only work without optical in hooked up.

I have both an older 80gig iPod video and the iPhone 3G that I have hooked to the system using the Digital Media Port TDM-iP10. I use the video iPod for audio only and have full control over it using the remote for the HTCT150. I did a brief test with the iPhone by putting it in iPod mode, it worked as an audio source and had control of it with the remote. I did try to display pictures and it would not pass images or work as a video source. It seems the TDM-iP10 is audio only but you do get control with the HTCT150 remote.

One of the big reasons for my purchase was for nighttime watching and dynamic compression. The system has 2 layers of compression you can use to keep the sound even and not wake the kid. Woke the oldest already before turning on the compression. The system has NIGHT MODE, this is compression in the digital amp of the HTCT150 and limits all sources. Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Control) only works in Dolby Digital, but that covers the TV and PS3 and has 3 levels, None, Standard, Max. With turning both NIGHT MODE and Audio DRC on I can watch TV or movies and hear no volume difference between show and commercial or dialogue and explosions, this is important for us Mom's and Dad's.

Audiophile Time: I have played with the system with the LPCM and BluRay audio out and have been able to hear a difference. As they say " you are only as good as your source" . Dolby Digital bit rate out is around 960Kbs and Dolby True is around 7Mbs. By going into the Video Setup of the PS3 (go figure) and changing the audio output from bitstream to LPCM you can get the better sound. Bitstream outputs the encoding on the DVD/BluRay, LPCM has the PS3 do your decoding.

Overall impressions: The audio performance for a system under $300 is very impressive I feel. The surround effect is very weak, however if you have a good 5.1 or 7.1 mix as source there is a more open feel to the audio. I just have not felt like it has replaced a true 5.1 system. It completely has met the "Wife Acceptance" Factor that we all know is very important. I am very happy with this system and I am not afraid that little hands will destroy it and if they do, oh well it wasn't that expensive.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 5, 2011 10:51:35 AM PDT
S. Welker says:
It never ceases to amaze me how people can mark that they found reviews like this one unhelpful. Thank you for your nuanced review!

Posted on Sep 21, 2011 11:12:02 AM PDT
Bob Loblaw says:
Hahahaha! Sorry, you lost me at "more spent in Monster Cable wiring then this system".

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 9:19:32 AM PST
A. Garg says:
Couldn't help remarking on your Carver amplifiers (in the basement)! I tried to set up a "home theater" using my NUMARK Preamp, Carver M-400 Cube (#2), #4- M & K Satellite Speakers, and a new Polk 12" 350W RMS? Subwoofer. Without any digital connections, or a DA Converter, it was impossible to get sound out of my Panasonic LCD! However, using a earphone jack to RCA adaptor, I used my BlackBerry as a source on this "4.1" system, and it sounded fantastic! (My M & K Subwoofer died due to malfunctioning heat dissipation fins for the amp a long time ago, but every other component worked great--and they are easily 22-25? years old!).

BTW, I bought the CT-150, and it was such a let down compared to the sound of the aforementioned system; however, its useful for what I use it for--the PS3 (also the original 60 GB) sounds great through it. Its working with a 32" LCD in a small room.

If I get a 60" TV, I'll re experiment with the Carver/ M & K/ Polk system--will have to get those Digital-to Analog Converters!

BTW, I liked your review!

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 4:55:41 PM PST
greenblaster says:
This may be a dumb question, but is a receiver/amplifier necessary to get the most out of this product?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 11:54:14 AM PST
A. Garg says:
IT is a "home theater in a box" and comes with everything you need. Another amplifier is unnecessary.

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 1:06:12 PM PDT
provo44 says:
Is the Subwoofer wireless? TIA

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:22:56 PM PDT
A. Garg says:
No, it is not. That is probably the worst design flaw of this otherwise very good, cost effective home entertainment system.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2012 7:06:00 AM PDT
Sanjeev says:
Me too!! lol Audiophile and Monster never belong in the same sentence.

Posted on May 18, 2012 9:05:33 AM PDT
Leah Powell says:
So I just want to ask (a probably dumb) question ... so you can "plug" your ipod/iphone into it and listen to the music off of this>? I know pretty much nothing about sound systems but we don't have a lot of room for a whole theater system but would like a little better sound and we would love to have something to use to play music from our ipods/iphones. I'm looking at buying this for my husband for our 1st anniversary. Thanks in advance for your help.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 10:13:09 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 6, 2012 10:13:53 AM PDT]
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M. Esmond
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