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on August 25, 2011
As usual another great Sony Sound Bar; Excellent value for the price; Loaded with technology to handle all the latest multichannel audio technologies Dolby, DD+, DDTrue HD, DTS etc. and 3D pass-through.

After reading the mixed reviews I was a bit nervous about installing this sound bar. However, now that I have it connected and configured correctly with my new 3D TV, I couldn't be happier. I found I can crank-up the volume on the sound bar and experience deep sub-woofer bass to very respectable levels aka, really loud and punchy with the ability to hear all the intended sound-track goodies.

Pros:
Really big sound with deep sub-woofer punch not bad at "simulating" surround-sound affects)
Quick & easy setup. As already mentioned below it truly takes longer to unpack it than to connect to your TV and blu-ray player
Attractive slim sound-bar design with a wireless sub-woofer (note: SW needs to be placed near an AC outlet--other than that you can move the S/W around the room as you like)
Handles all the latest multichannel audio technologies that come with your blu-ray disks to include all the different Dolby Digital and DTS audio signals
Three HDMI ports and one HDMI out; so you can easliy pass all your equipment through the Receiver, includes and optical port as well

Cons:
Because it's so easy to setup--I think some may fail to read the manual resulting in a less then optimal configuration and sound effect
I went to two local retail stores to hear this system before I ordered it from Amazon. It sounded horribly weak with no bass in both store demos UNTIL at the last store I asked if we could adjust the AMP menu settings.
If you use something other than high-speed HDMI cables I don't think you can experience all this system has to offer
(I agree with below reviewer comment) Separate Receiver may cause issues for wall mounted TVs

Here's what I found worked for me:

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 this systems sound capabilities)
Take 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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on December 18, 2012
My wife and I are extremely happy with this product and it exceeds our expectations. We began looking at different soundbars a few weeks ago as a possible solution to our growing frustrations with the poor and distorted sounds coming from the tiny speakers within our new Samsung 50 inch LCD TV. As we grow older our hearing is not what it used to be so we have had to turn up the volume louder and louder in order to hear voices within the programs that we watch (sometimes to 100% but usually around 75%).

This new Sony Soundbar delivers such great sound with the capability of huge volume (we now listen at 20% and that is plenty for us. Any way this product solved the problem.

There are many good reviews here so I will not restate the same things over again (see Great Sony 3D Soundbar August 25, 2011 By LDB). Instead I will list some key points that will hopefully prove as helpful to you as they did for me:

1. Use the newer high speed HDMI cables only.
2. Only devices that are connected to the Sony Amp box will be able to use the soundbar for sound.
3. There are three HDMI connections (in my case I used these for my DirecTV box, Xbox360, and Sony BD).
4. Connect the Sony Amp box to your TV using the ARC HDMI connection on the TV.
5. Be sure to connect the included Direct Optical cable between the TV out on your TV and the TV in at the Sony Amp box. If you don't do this any time you use the smart or web apps that are on your TV they will not be able to use the soundbar and you will either get no sound or the sound will play through the TV's small internal speakers.
6. When using my Samsung Smart Apps on my TV I must select TV as the input for the Sony Amp.
7. You must change the settings to your liking at the Sony Amp (see other reviews) and the display for doing this will only show up on the front of the Sony Amp (small front panel display) not on your TV (like you might expect).
8. The Sony Amp comes from the factory with every level set to 0. The woofer won't woof very loud at that level, in fact we couldn't even hear it at all (and was about ready to send it back). We set ours on +4 and we can hear it now!
9. Most of the buttons on the Sony Amp remote do not do anything since I am not using an applicable Sony TV. This doesn't matter though, you just need to be aware of this. (We are extremely happy with our Samsung TV and these products work well together.)

Contrary to some of the negative reviews:
1. We found the fact that the Amp is in a separate box away from the soundbar speakers de-cluttered our installation (TV mounted on wall with soundbar mounted underneath) by allowing most connections to take place down where the other components are located away from the TV.
2. We also found the FM tuner within the Amp box to be a nice surprise bonus. It works great and we can listen to local FM radio stations again in the Living Room (such as NPR) through the new sound system without any additional wiring or components.
3. Another reviewer also did not like the fact that the soundbar doesn't have a threaded bolt system for mounting but instead has holes such as you would find on the back of a wall clock meant for hanging (larger at the bottom and narrower at the top). This of course is ideal if you are mounting the soundbar directly to the wall. However, if like me you wish to mount the soundbar to a mount under or over your TV and you wish to have a more secure mount then using some 10-32 bolts along with flat washers and nuts you can easily attach your bolts to the soundbar first and then mount to whatever mount system you are using (in my case I used a universal mount).

In conclusion:
We had no idea what we have been missing in all the new sounds which we are now enjoying. This Sony product really delivers the goods. You get what you pay for and I think that you would be very hard pressed to find another product that would deliver this much quality for under $300. We are very happy with this product.
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on December 9, 2011
I bought from Amazon a SONY BRAVIA XBR55HX929 55-Inch 1080p 3D Local-Dimming LED HDTV with Built-In Wi-Fi, Black. Indeed, this is one fantastic HDTV. (See my review.)

However, the speakers are just OK; they are not powerful. So, we added (from Amazon) a SONY HTCT550W 3D Soundbar Home Theater System with Wireless Subwoofer and mounted the Soundbar component with a Soundbar Brackets Universal Soundbar Bracket (from Amazon). Although only 3 inches high, we mounted the Soundbar on the top of the TV (on its stand) because the Soundbar blocked all of the remote control features on the bottom of the TV. In the end, though, the SONY Soundbar is worth the money.

At first we just put both the Soundbar (facing either frontwards or towards the ceiling) and the Sub-Woofer just behind the TV and it sounded remarkably good! But, we decided to do it right and mounted the Soundbar on top of the TV with the Bracket and left the Woofer behind the TV and that sounded even better...quite good, in fact. However, the Soundbar Brackets Universal Soundbar Bracket is difficult to set up so that it is rigidly stable. (See my review.)

Not as good as the $2200 Yamaha Sound System we have downstairs; but remarkably close sometimes. Certainly, the sound quality and lack of clutter from multiple speakers makes the SONY worth the money in our opinion. For a more of a wrap-around sound, just place the Sub-Woofer 2-3 feet in a front of the TV; but other positions for other rooms makes sense, too.

Some people have mentioned that they thought these speakers did not sound good (particularly the Sub-woofer) and they sent them back. But, a word of caution; my experience is that higher-end speakers and ear/head phones need time to break-in. A few weeks of daily use has been typically required with all such equipment I have had over the years. And, this SONY System is no exception. In about two weeks these speakers went from a somewhat-tiny sound to one that is full and not tiny at all. At close to 4 weeks they seem richer still. And, remarkably, the Sub-woofer is powerful enough to rattle the walls with a good Blu-Ray Disc.

With this SONY Home Theater I believe that you should use 100% HDMI connections with all of your sound components (Incl; HDTV DVD, PS3, X-Box, etc.). Do this as instructed in the Manual and the sound will be rewarding; do less than this and the weak-link will for sure give you less performance.

This SONY Home Theater is also really built to mate to a recent (>2010) SONY BRAVIA HDTV. Yes, it will work on other TV's; but, its Menu for Complete Sound Adjustment/Control will not be displayed (at will) on the right of the of your screen. It is perfect for any new SONY BRAVIA. Less than perfect for any other HDTV... Other Soundbars may make more sense.
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on March 14, 2012
I listened to several sound bars and true surround systems and read numerous reviews before deciding on this Sony system. It is the best bang for the buck without a doubt. It is not a true surround system, so if you really want true surround you'd better go with a 5.1 or 7.1 system. As far as sound bar goes, I would put up this Sony system against anything out there right now. I listened to the high end sound bars such as Bower Wilkins, Bose SR1 (both costs around $1,500 to $2,500) in the Magnolia section at Best Buy and at the Bose store to make sure they were set up properly. I also listened to some mid end sound bars from Harmon Kardon and Polk (around $600) and some low end systems from Samsung, LG, Vizio, etc...

Didn't think the BW and Bose systems sounded any better than Harmon Kardon or Polk, and even if you're a critical audiophile, well the BW and Bose were definitely not $1,500 or $2,500 better. Didn't have a chance to listen to the Sony system before buying it. Just read reviews, compared specs, and took the plunge. Was not too impressed at first just using default settings out of the box, so I re-read some of the reviews on Amazon and read the manual thoroughly, and adjusted the controls (especially output) accordingly. What a difference!!! Now the sound is awesome!!! Like I said, I'd put it up against the BW and Bose systems in a blindfold test. For a small or average room, this Sony is the best bang for the buck out there at $400 MSRP (I purchased mine from Amazon for much less. It was on sale at the time). It will fill your room. The highs are clear and the bass is solid.

Very clever mounting system too. No fancy bracket needed for the sound bar. All you need is 2 standard screws or nails on the wall. That's it.

For those people who gave it a negative review, my guess is, they probably used the default settings or didn't adjust the controls properly. I agree with some of the reviewers here. Sony should change the default settings and make it sound awesome right out of the box. If you set it up correctly (fairly easy to do), you'll be impressed with this system. Once again, read the manual and/or check some reviews on this site or others for suggested settings.

Didn't give it 5 stars because it only has 3 HDMI inputs (wish it had 4) and does not have a center channel (but that's only a very minor issue because even without a center channel, the movie dialogue still sounds very good because you do have the ability to control the dialogue volume too). The Bose system is worse when it comes to movie dialogue.

I've owned this system for over 4 months now and am very happy with it. It's the best value out there. You will not be disappointed!!!

Update 3/21/12:
I forgot to mention (some other reviewers have already mentioned this) you also need to adjust the output of your media sources to get the best sound. After adjusting my Sony system, the sound got a little better, but still not to my satisfaction until I re-read a review on this site and noticed the reviewer mentioned adjusting the output of his source. So, I went to the Menu settings of my LG Blue Ray player and changed its output accordingly to match the Sony system, and voila. Now, the sound coming out of a Blue Ray source is simply out of this world on this Sony system. Hope this helps.
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on May 24, 2012
It was well-packed, and it went together easily. The receiver is a convenient addition, as it allows hook-ups without moving the speaker bar. The wireless woofie is a great item.

I have an old CD player, a Sony Bravia TV, and a ScanDisc Clip Zip hooked up with no HDMI at all. I am going to get an updated CD player and a home MP3 player to complete the outfit.

I found the sound right out of the box to be weak and muddy. What the heck else would you expect? The default settings are all zero! Like most new techie items, ya gotta play with it a bit to get it tweaked just right. After I adjusted the levels and tones, I was very happy with the purchase. It delivers crisp highs and however much bass you want, and you don't have to crank the volume to get "presence" and hear all the instruments in the ratio you would if they were live. This is Thursday. It was delivered Tuesday. I will update this review if anything drastic changes.

Update 7JUL2012: Having had this for a while now, I can say that it was an excellent purchase. There seems to be some "break in" effect, much like that of a good wooden guitar. The Sub-Woofie came even more alive after a few weeks, and the bar even seemed to broaden and deepen. Kinda hard to explain. I will repeat: You have to tweak it and "twirl knobs" to find the sweet spot, as with any system. Also: I like the separate receiver. It makes hookups much cleaner, and leaves the back of the sound bar uncluttered.

Bravo! Speaking of which: I added a Sony Blu Ray with Wi-Fi and a Sony CD player. I now use the full HDMI as recommended, to good effect. The Sony Bravia system works like a charm! A perfect system!
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on December 26, 2012
I spent months doing research on a home theater system before pulling the trigger on this sound bar system and I'm glad that I did. It took months for me to decide because I was skeptical about using a sound bar. I've only used true 5.1 channel HTS in the past, so I was very skeptical about the sound that this system can deliver. I recently moved to a townhouse and decided that I would take a chance on these since I didn't want wires running all throughout the living room. My living room is about 25 by 14 ft, so I also didn't want anything that took up too much space.

The system itself was not big at all and it easily blends in on my TV stand in front of my black 55" Sony Bravia LED TV. I also directly plugged in the cable box and my PS3 to the receiver and didn't have any issues. It was all quite simple to set up. If you own a Bravia TV, there's even a Bravia sync feature that makes set up seamless. Obviously, I was more interested in the sound it would produce but I honestly was not expecting much. But let me tell you, the sound on this thing is awesome!

For such a small system, it does a great job at producing a great full sound, even at high volumes (I have yet to test it at max since it gets pretty loud). The subwoofer is capable of creating a great deep bass. The surround sound does a good enough job at replicating the 5.1 system set up. If you have a small-medium sized living room where you plan on keeping this, you really aren't going to notice a difference between a 5.1 system and this sound bar. I'm very pleased with this purchase. Great sound and at a fraction of the price of more bulky expensive home theatre systems.
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on February 21, 2015
I have a Panasonic Plasma TV that has nice built-in speakers (for a TV anyway) in the bedroom, but wanted some better sound quality and a better way to switch between video sources. Since this is a bedroom, one major requirement was that the stereo receiver (and the speakers) could not take up much room. This system met the requirement of size at least.

I was disappointed with the sound. I increased the bass for the subwoofer to the maximum which helped a little. Otherwise, you cannot possibly hear the subwoofer unless you are literally sitting on it. The subwoofer is 18 inches from my bed.

I did an experiment. I adjusted the sound volume of the Sony stereo and the Panasonic built-in speakers to be exactly the same. Then, I closed my eyes and used the 2 remotes to mute one and unmute the other. I did it several times until I lost track of which was which. Eventually, I decided which one was providing the better sound. I looked to see which it was, and unfortunately, it was the built-in speakers from the TV.

The Sony sound bar sounds like a cheap stereo and combining that with a weak subwoofer doesn't make the sound to be what you would expect. Overall, I'm disappointed, but it's not terrible.

One thing I really like about this system is that it passes through the last HMDI signal you had selected even when the stereo is off. That way, you don't need to turn on the stereo most of the time, and you get the added benefit of listening to higher quality sound from the TV's built-in speakers.
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on July 5, 2012
I had read about this taking some adjustments for it to sound good, but assumed they would be very minor. It took me only a few minutes to hook everything up but a good hour to read through the manual to see how to control everything and to make some tweaks. I noticed that I still have to make some changes depending on what I'm watching. TVs come out of the box on "Vivid" but this came out with flat settings. For reviews that state that the TV sound is better, they probably didn't do much, if any, tweaking. After all that, I have to say that the sound is pretty good. I had to get rid of my 5.1 system due to space, so it was an adjustment, but its better than the TV speakers. Considering its 3-4x less than my component system and its takes up so much less space, its worth it.

As other reviews have mentioned, make sure you are using newer hdmi cables and to run it through the box, then to the TV. Running it from the TV back to the box using optical resulted in diminished sound compared to hdmi. I also wish that the sound settings would pop up on the TV since its a Sony Bravia (Sony Bravia Z-Series KDL-46Z4100/B 46-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV, Black), but no such luck. Still a good purchase and the current sale price.
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on October 18, 2011
It has the familiar Sony-style menu structure. It does have fairly weak bass for the size of the subwoofer, however I did read this elsewhere and that wasn't going to be a problem for me since I have a separate 7.1 surround system I use for movies.

I got this for a Bravia HX729. The HX729 has very poor built-in speakers, so I bought this sound bar for normal TV watching, then use my old sound system when I want to watch Blu-Ray. This setup works well because the sound bar turns itself on and off automatically with the TV; furthermore, I can control the sound bar with the TV remote, so I don't need worry about the control box or the included remote.

I bought this for 3 reasons: the extra HDMI ports, seamless integration with a Bravia TV, and the wireless subwoofer.
I did not buy this to replace my current surround system... if you are going to use this as your only sound system you might be a little disappointed.

Overall, I would definitly purchase again for myself, and would recommend this to someone who has a Sony TV with poor built-in audio quality. Otherwise I would shop around for a more robust sound bar; there are tons of them out there.
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on April 10, 2012
Recieved my HT-CT550 Sony soundbar system yesterday & set it up this morning. I followed another reviewers recommendations for initial set up as I've read that the default settings are somewhat under-welming. Well, it was a very easy setup & yes; there is some nice 'punch' to the sound now!! As a test I put in my new Blu-Ray disc of 'The War Horse" that just came out & screen selected to a scene. I won't spoil anything about the movie but it's a scene with a large number of thundering horses. First you hear the wind clearly through the tall grass & when the horses thundered across the field, MAN the room shook!! It was great. Dialog is clear, not muddy and I think the highs & lows are nicely defined. I was wondering how easy the wireless sub-woofer would be to setup. There WAS no set up! Once you plug one tranceiver in the back of the reciever & the other behind the subwoofer & plug in the sub-woofer...that's it! No detection errors.
All-in-all I'm very glad I got this to complement my new Sony Bravia TV (46" EX820; the price is good, no speaker wires all over the room & good punch to the sound.
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