Companies invested in audio and/or TV equipment often have a lineup of sound bars so consumes have an affordable and simple option to provide a better sound experience. The lineup normally includes the cheap 2.0-channel models, the midrange 2.1-channel systems, the slightly longer sound bars for larger TVs and possibly the high-end ones with advanced features and even more channels. Sony’s lineup of 4 sound bars is a little bit more confusing. The Sony HT-CT550W is in the middle of the pack but it has some characteristics that no other sound bar has. The HT-CT550W is clearly one of those types of sound bars that are meant for specific people.
The sound bar unit of the Sony HT-CT550W package has the plainest design of the Sony sound bars. This sleek, simple and black design might be good for people that are not fans of Sony’s more futuristic hexagonal design featured in the cheaper HT-CT260H and the similarly priced HT-CT660. The 40-inch speaker component weighs just 5 pounds making it bit easy to wall mount the unit. However, you have to use your own screws and you need to consult the manual on how to do it since a template isn’t included. Despite that, it is best that you mount this speaker if you truly want a minimal setup because the entire HT-CT550W package consists of a couple other components too. If you have space to rest the speaker, you can use the 4 speaker foot pads that also come with the package.
The speaker itself doesn’t feature any controls, indicators and connection ports other than the 2 speaker jacks because the Sony HT-CT550W has its own receiver component. This main component is quite compact and it has the power button, input select button and volume controls on the front along with a display that shows things like the audio format and active connections. The back of this receiver features one of the main highlights of the entire sound bar. 3 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output are found there suggesting that you plug in a gaming console, cable or satellite box and media player if you have the HDMI cables (no HDMI cables are included). A digital optical cord is supplied though so you should be able to connect the sound bar to a modern TV right away. There is also a port for plugging in the included FM wire antenna if you want radio playback.
Oddly enough, the component that has the most unique design is the subwoofer. It has a nice design where the near bottom part is slightly cut and you can find an indicator that shows the standby or link status. You can find the link and power button on the back of the subwoofer. The subwoofer is wireless allowing you to place the subwoofer far apart from the receiver as long as it is in the same room. But the strange thing lies in the setup process where you have to insert a wireless transceiver into the back of the subwoofer and another one in the back of the receiver. Since both transceivers are included in the package, it would have made more sense if Sony integrated the wireless functionality in both components.
Bluetooth support is absent in the HT-CT550W and there is no USB port either so you really have to make use of the HDMI inputs on the back of the sound bar’s receiver component. The good news is that these inputs are pretty smart. Like other sound bars, you can choose from different presets like movie, drama, sports, gaming and so on. But unlike most of the others, you can give each HDMI input a different preset so you can, for instance, set the gaming preset to your gaming console and the movie preset to your Blu-ray player. Then when you switch between the components, the sound bar will recall the setting. The HDMI ports are capable of 3D pass-through too so HDMI signals can still be passed when the sound bar is in the power saving standby mode.
The Sony HT-CT550W is the only Sony sound bar that the company describes as a “3D sound bar system”. This is attributed to Sony’s S-Force Surround technology which creates a simulated surround sound effect for a better movie experience. In general, the speaker sounds pretty good and it isn’t just because of this technology. It is more of the fact that the HT-CT550W has 400 watts of power so this sound bar should have no trouble filling a large living room with sound. Going back to the 3D effect, you get the best results if you take the time in calibrating the speakers. There is no auto calibration system but manually getting it done is worthwhile.
At $399, the Sony HT-CT550W is not for everyone especially since there are plenty of highly capable sound bars that come with Bluetooth support nowadays. But at least Sony offers an alternative that comes in the form of the Sony HT-CT660 which comes the receiver and sound bar functionality into one larger and stylish 46-inch component and has the Bluetooth and trio of HDMI inputs. But the HT-CT550W is more powerful and therefore louder. So when you take all of the $399 sound bars into consideration, the picking the Sony HT-CT550W is a good choice if you want pure audio power and plenty of wired connectivity options.
Click Here for Latest Offer on Sony HT-CT550W
Enjoy Free Shipping & Secure Shopping