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The Sony HT-CT500 is a step-up version of the earlier HT-CT100, which is a single-speaker audio system. HT-CT500 retains the same basic two-part design that consists of a soundbar and a subwoofer, but sports a wider speaker unit and more powerful on-board 400-watt amplifier. The system delivers a 3.1 effect, with the left, right and center speakers within the soundbar.

This system will delight enthusiasts with its 3 HDMI inputs with two component jacks. It allows analog inputs to be up-converted to HDMI output, hence eliminating the need for additional cables running to your TV.

The two components weigh only about 24.3lbs in total. The speaker measures at 37.7” x 2” x 3.5” (WxDxH) while the AV receiver with subwoofer measures at 8.3” x 14.3” x 14.7”. The slim loudspeaker design that matches Sony’s BRAVIA W5100 and XBR9 tv series supports full 1080/60p and 24p video, Deep Color™ and x.v.Color™. HT-CT500 is also S-AIR ready, with the ability to transmit wireless audio up to 164 feet for multi-room listening. Meanwhile, a Digital Media Port (DMP) makes connections with other external audio sources easy.

Although it may not be a choice for audiophiles, it may be sufficient for the average user. Generally, users can expect a well-balanced and good-quality sound from the speakers and the subwoofer. Sony practices its stylish designs on this system as well, hence it complements well and may seem like a part of any sleek, modern design flatscreen panel tv especially for those 42” and above.

The included remote control does not control other Sony devices.

Setting up the HT-CT500
Setup and configuration is easy, and users need not worry about complicated wiring to the back of the room for this system. The sub-woofer can be easily placed nearby on the ground, or wedged to the wall or to the electronics cabinet to the preference of users. As the soundbar is suited for 42” tv, it can be placed above or below a flatscreen panel tv and still looks like a part of the overall design. Users may also let it rest unaided on top of electronics cabinets above the TV or mount it to the wall.

There is no need to turn on the system as it wakes from standby mode automatically while the panel display is off. HT-CT500 automatically becomes active in response to signal from a connected unit. The system functions as a device concentrator and users can optionally select settings from the friendly GUI menu to pass HD video signals directly to the HD TV instead of going through the systems video processor first. Non-HDMI connected devices need not worry as they get up-converted by the system with the Faroudjas’ DCDi Cinema® chip.

Sound quality
HT-CT500 decodes DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II. Sony also deploys its S-FORCE Pro Surround Sound and S-FORCE Front Surround Sound effects for this system, and also included the Digital Sound Processor. The built-in receiver offers streamlined controls with a bass and treble equalizer. There’s also the LPCM playback and the Portable Audio Enhancer that expands sound quality of any connected device.

Sound fields include settings such as standard, movie, drama, news, sports, game, music, jazz, classic, rock, pop, live and p. audio. The effects may be realistic, however, still does not replace a real surround sound experience especially in a bigger room.

Pros and Cons
For the price it demands, HT-CT500 certainly delivers sufficient sound experience for an average user. While it boasts Sony’s audio technology, its remote control does not control other Sony devices, and some users may complain that they suffer from remote clutter. It is an ideal system meant for smaller rooms, and seems that there is a lag time of several seconds for full sound to come out of the standby mode. Speaking about the standby mode, while it automatically wakes up upon connection with a device, it does not switch back to standby on its own and users will still need to manually turn it back to standby after use.

As it is a Sony innovation, users may prefer to check with dealers to know exactly what model of TV would best couple with this to maximize the experience it can offer.

This latest Sony innovation is a good choice for apartment owners and the average user who does not want the hassle of messy wiring and cables, yet experience some of the most interesting surround sound experience based on a 3.1 system configuration.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Alice66

    I don’t want wires, and this system sounds just right for me. I’m new to this and spent a few hours with the setup. I read and re-read the manual several times to get it done. It was confusing. Sometimes I have trouble hearing the movie dialogs too.

  2. Jay

    My brother has a CT100 and I just got my CT500. We both agree that mine sounds better. It’s quite near to the Yamaha YSP sound bars, and with a little bit of tweaking, this baby rocks!

  3. anonymous

    I wonder if it’s just me or it is true that there’s a problem with the HDMI transfer. It becomes slow and somewhat makes me feel like the time when I have too many browsers and applications opened on my computer. Sometimes it quit altogether!

  4. Seth Roach

    It does not replace a multiple speaker surround sound quality, but it’s good enough. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a soundbar.

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