Speakers to Improve Sony KDL-40HX803


Standard Member
Last year we replaced our Toshiba 32WLT66 with a Sony KDL-40HX803. The picture is a massive improvement. However, we still have the Tosh in a spare room and every time I watch it I realise how awful the Sony in-built speakers are compared to the Tosh. The Sony has no bass at all in comparison.

I've looked up the specs and it seems that both models have 20W audio output - is that really possible when there is such a huge difference in the bass?

I don't like really heavy bass - in fact I always had the Toshiba's bass level on about -5! But I do want to improve the sound from the Sony. I don't want surround sound.

I'm tempted by this:
SA-40SE1 (SA40SE1, SA40SE1.CEK) : Accessory finder : Sony
But the Sony shop is literally the only place selling it and I can't find reviews. It is also only 40W - guessing I could get 40W PC speakers and they'd do the same job!

Or considering a soundbar that comes with a sub. Just not sure we want as much bass as this will provide.

Any suggestions on where to start? We're planning on going to some shops to listen to some systems but I'm conscious that a setup that sounds good in an enormous electrical shop could sound very different in a lounge!


Distinguished Member
To get any bass, you need a sub. This goes for small PC speakers etc. I would definitely recommend visiting the shops to get a demo as you might end up disappointed by buying blind over the internet.

Do you have anything else to connect or is it just the TV?


Standard Member
To be honest, I just want as much bass as my Toshiba LCD TV had. It was more than enough for me - I didn't have the bass set anywhere near maximum. That didn't have a sub... The bass on the Sony TV is non-existent in comparison.

Connected to the TV we have SkyHD and a blu-ray player (2 x HDMI), a DVD player (Scart, though it can upscale so will connect via HDMI when I get around to buying a third HDMI cable) and an Xbox 360 (HD component input).

I do need to look into how soundbars etc connect. Looks like the Sony soundbar just connects to the TV so you don't have to plug all the other boxes into it (?). If they all need to connect to the soundbar (or whatever we end up with), I'll want at least 2 HDMI inputs, preferably more...

We do plan to go to some shops to listen to the various options. Any tips on how what we hear will then be different at home? (e.g. does bass sound stronger at home in a smaller space?)
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Distinguished Member
An alternative to a soundbar would be something like the onkyo htx-22hdx 2.1 package. It has 2 small speakers for either side of your tv and a subwoofer unit that houses all the electronics and amplification. It has plenty of connectivity options inc. HDMI and can decode hd audio from your bdp. It can be made 5.1 by adding the centre and rear speakers later.


Standard Member

The Onkyo looked good online but I failed miserably to find a local stockist to get a demo, so that idea went out the window.

We had demos of the Q-Acoustics QTV2, the Panasonic SC-HTB520 soundbar and the B&W Panorama Soundbar (just for a giggle to see what a £1,000 soundbar sounds like). I had also heard a Yamaha soundbar in Richer Sounds, though it was a bit over budget at £500.

Long story short. We ended up with the QTV2. The sound from it isn't as good as a soundbar in the same price range; far from it in terms of the bass. However, it is a big step up from the awful TV speakers (100W instead of 20W). The reason that we didn't go for a soundbar with sub, much as I was tempted by the rumbly bass, was simply the space-saving nature of the QTV2. Our TV sits on a glass stand and it's base isn't very high, so the bottom edge of the TV is close to the surface it's on. We realised that a soundbar wouldn't fit under it - it would have to go on the shelf below. Let alone the sub. Our TV unit is full and I didn't want to end up with a massive piece of furniture, so the QTV2 was the best compromise. And the bass is certainly a lot rumblier than the TV had managed.

Some comments on the QTV2:
  • Compared to all your amazing home cinema setups, the sound is probably naff. It fills a gap in the market for improving TV speakers while not taking up any extra space.
  • It's exceptionally well designed - will fit onto any 32-42" TV and the sub on the back of the TV can be moved around so it doesn't get in the way of your connections
  • Fitting is easier than the Which review suggested - hubby had it attached and up and running single-handed within 20 minutes.
  • It won't decode 5.1/DTS - this is designed to simply connect to the audio-out on your TV. You won't be running your blu-ray player etc directly into it.
  • Surprised at how much clearer/sharper dialogue sounds - thought the TV was alright in this respect
  • I'd seen pics of it attached in an old thread, http://www.avforums.com/forums/plasma-tvs/1189707-panasonic-g10-42-qtv2-fitting.htmlhere

I did get wound up with Sevenoaks Sound and Vision. The day before we went to hear the QTV2 at their branch near us, the put it onto ex-display clearance and knocked it down from £299 to £239. We looked at their ex-display one during the demo; very dusty and with a few minor marks. We showed them a shop in Middlesex which has a website and was doing the QTV2 brand new for £249. I said that a tenner off for taking their ex-display one wasn't good enough. After a withering look from their jumped-up store manager, he said he could do it for £230. I said still not good enough and, generously I thought, offered him £220. He refused! So, we ordered from the other shop and it arrived a couple of days later.

One final predicament... The speakers come with two cables - one to connect to the TV's headphone jack and one for phono connection (red/white sockets). We're using the phono as the volume from our headphone socket is far too low. It does have an optical connection so if I get an optical cable we could connect that way to see if the sound is better. But not sure whether to spend the money on the cable or not in case there's no real difference... :confused:


Distinguished Member
Nice one. Quite a few folks use the Q-Acoustics setup just as you are. Whether the sound via optical would be any different is debatable, after all it's just TV audio. However, an optical cable would only cost you £5 to find out. Look for a Fisual Pro. You can buy them from audiovisualonline or via their ebay or amazon stores.


Standard Member
Thanks davepuma - I did some more reading of old posts and people seemed to be saying that there isn't really a difference in quality between a £5 optical cable and a £50 optical cable. Not sure if that's true but I've ordered a cheap one to give it a go. :)

Last night all we did was watch a couple of eps of Studio 60. Need to break out Transformers or similar to really appreciate the new sound upgrade. :)

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