Stylish, compact and surprisingly good for the price
What is the Sony CT60BT?
Sony has a very extensive range of soundbar products in its portfolio.In fact, on the Sony UK website, they have eight to choose from. At the top of the pack is the 7.1 channel HT-ST7 which will set you back around a cool £1,100. Below that there is the 4.1 channel HT-ST3 which is priced close to £600 and there’s a total of six 2.1 channel variants.The one up for review here is the HT-CT60BT which is given a recommended retail price of £149.99 but there’s also the HT-CT60 which is priced identically but doesn’t have the Bluetooth/NFC capability of this model. So let’s see what this baby can do.
Sony CT60BT Design & ConnectionsThe CT60BT sports an unusual design which can be described as a hexagonal prism, largely because that’s what it is! Whether all those surfaces will help to bounce the sound around in convincing ways remains to be seen but it is certainly an unusual and attractive looking bar.
The main speaker unit sits upon on a couple of feet but that only gives it a total height of about 8cm so it should reside beneath most TVs without obscuring the bottom of the screen, although its likely to slightly get in the way of the infra-red sensor, meaning those viewing from a supine position might require an extra degree of arm lift.
All the physical connections are found at the rear in a recess. Those include S/PDIF digital optical, Coxial and RCA stereo. On the right-side surface of the speaker bar there’s a NFC tag for instant Bluetooth pairing of your compatible tablet or smartphone. Of course, you can also pair more conventionally if you mobile thing isn’t NFC-able.
We really like the prism design
Sony CT60BT Setup & OperationThe bundled remote is small, inoffensive and shaped to fit in the palm. It’s actually one of the better examples included with a soundbar package and has buttons for input selection, volume operations - including discrete Bass and Treble – plus it can be used for simple control of Sony TVs.
The HT-CT60BT has some orange LEDs under the fabric mesh grill to let you know which input is currently selected and whether, or not, the ‘Surround Sound’ mode is activated. These would have been far more useful if you could actually see the label they correspond to from your listening position. But, unless you happen to watch TV from around a foot away, standing up, you can’t see the labels. Still, they do give you feedback that the unit is responding to remote commands.
Sony provides the necessary cabling for both the S/PDIF and RCA connections in the box, although the optical cable is a bit on the short side so depending on where your TVs output resides on the chassis, you may need something longer. It’s also of a very thin gauge so durability might be in question.
Input labels can only be read from right on top of the unit
Sony CT60BT FeaturesWe wouldn’t expect an expansive feature-set on a product in this price category and so it is with the CT60. We do, of course, have Bluetooth streaming to mention which is Version 2.1+ and therefore might drain the battery of your phone or tablet quicker than some. It doesn’t support aptX either so it’s not the highest possible quality but you’re unlikely to notice with this particular device which is certainly not HiFi.
NFC at this price-point is a surprising addition
Sony is clearly very big on NFC (Near Field Communication), not least because of its range of Xperia phones and tablets. The company has even provided an Android app to Google Play in order to help smooth out the connection process. The app is called ‘NFC Easy Connect’ and, true to its word, we had our Nexus 7 paired in seconds after downloading it and tapping its rear end against the right hand side of the speaker bar.
Sony CT60BT ListeningAs usual, we subjected the T60 to an array of listening material and we came out very impressed, all things considered. Perhaps the primary consideration is price. This is a sub £150 soundbar so it’s mostly up against lesser known brands, when you factor in the dedicated subwoofer, which genuinely delivers a pleasing amount of attack. It will distort noticeably if you push it even close to full volume but in an averagely sized living room, it should be more than sufficient.
The HTC-T60 is best suited to movies – in particular – and TV, rather than music. It’s quite ‘trebly’ so can make acoustic music sound sound harsh, although you can never accuse it of lacking clarity. The other downside of that is that it can be quite fatiguing to listen to over extended periods.
We had the chance to watch Gravity on Blu-ray during its stay here and its excellent 5.1 mix was impressively down-mixed by the Sony. There’s no doubt the ‘Surround Sound’ mode does bring additional width to multi-channel mixes, although we’d tend to give it the swerve for stereo TV fodder, where it can sound unnatural
Better for Movies & TV than it is for music duties
Whether the unusual shape really brings anything to table we’d doubt but the HTC-T60BT does manage to project its sound with a nice sense of verticality. We were never left with the impression that audio was travelling from the bottom of the screen, with dialogue pleasingly anchored centre-screen. Of course, the constraints of the soundbar design means it will never be able to create surround effects with the impact of a satellite system but we still think it makes a good fist of things.
Sony CT60BT Video Review
- Excellent price
- Unusual & Contemporary Design
- Decent connectivity options
- Separate Subwoofer unit
- It sounds more than it costs
- None for the money
Sony CT60BT (HT-CT60BT) Soundbar ReviewSony’s HTC-T60BT soundbar and subwoofer package presents an unconventional hexagonal design that we think looks great. It’s only around 8cm tall, too, so it shouldn’t get in the way of the bottom of most screens. The included remote is a lot better than average and the connectivity options plentiful enough for most. The inclusion of Bluetooth streaming is just about de rigueur for this product category, although the ability to pair by NFC is far more uncommon.
The T60 presents quite a bright audio tone which suits movies and TV better than it does music but you could certainly never accuse it of lacking clarity. The dedicated subwoofer is a real bonus at this entry-level of the market and it makes its presence felt with decent liveliness and a fair amount of impact, given the compactness of the thing. Considering this package can be had for under £150, we’re really struggling to find anything to complain about and, as such, we’ll stick a Best Buy Badge on this baby.
Ease of Use8
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.