The Sony HT-CT260H  sound bar surprised us. Given it’s price point of only $299 (although you can usually find it online for about $200) it’s probably one of the best sounding budget sound bars you’ll find. The included subwoofer adds definite oomph to the sound system and the sound bar itself produces clear sound. However, the Sony HT-CT260H sound bar isn’t perfect. The subwoofer can sound a little boomy at times and the on-screen display on the front of the module can be a pain to navigate until you get the hang of it.

 

Sony HT-CT260H Appearance

The Sony HT-CT260H sound bar is a long tube with an hexagonal shape. The shape is a little daring and could be off putting to some. The sound bar stands roughly 4″ tall and the accompanying subwoofer stands about 18″ x 13″. It’s not a beast by subwoofer standards but it’s big enough. The included remote is small but has a relatively good and uncluttered button layout.

Sony HT-CT260H Connectivity and Features

The Sony HT-CT260H has a good amount of inputs: 1 Coaxial Audio Digital Input, 1 Optical Audio Input, 1 Analog Audio Input, and 1 HDMI input and 1 output. Out of all of the inputs, the two that you’ll probably use the most are the HDMI and the Optical. The optical connection is probably the easiest to use and most convenient for most configurations. Simply connect the sound bar via the optical connection to your TV and in most cases your good to go. Sony’s nice enough to include a optical cable in the box however, you’re on your own if you need another type of cable. The Sony HT-CT260H is capable of decoding Dolby Digital/DTS  & Dolby Prologic II.

 

It seems that every digital device today has bluetooth. The HT-CT260H is no different. Bluetooth essentially allows you to stream music from your tablet or smartphone directly to the sound bar. Bluetooth isn’t the best way to stream audio, but on the HT-CT260H the sound quality was good. The one issue we did note regarding the Sony HT-CT260H was interference with our local WiFi. We did notice a measurable drop in our WiFi signal strength. On a couple occasions a few of our devices were completely unable to access our WiFi network. This wasn’t a frequent occurrence, but it was worth noting. Navigating through the onscreen menu on the Sony HT-CT260H can be cumbersome initially, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. The 260H has 6 sound modes; standard, movie, music, stereo, portable audio and game. With our listening tests, movie seemed to produce the most balanced sound. Through the on screen menu you can also adjust the subwoofer level as well as the treble and bass levels.

Performance

Initially, we weren’t too impressed with the Sony HT-CT260H. However, after letting the speaker break-in for a period the sound seemed to really open up. The sound  is detailed and accurate. If you like to listen to music you’ll be pleased with what you hear. The subwoofer, although small, produces ample amounts of low frequency thumps. It won’t rattle the walls but you’ll definitely hear it. The one flaw that we did note with the subwoofer is sometimes it sounds a little boomy. We noticed this more with movies than with music.

 

The placement of the subwoofer is crucial to the overall sound quality of the Sony HT-CT260H. The instruction manual recommends that you place the subwoofer in close proximity to the sound bar. Most subwoofers allow you to play around with placement a bit. Low frequency sounds have little to no directionality so with most subwoofers you can’t tell where they’re at in the listening area. This is not the case with the HT-CT260H. We placed the subwoofer near our listening area and we were able to immediately locate the subwoofer in the room. We suspect that this is because the subwoofer with the Sony HT-CT260H is also responsible for producing some of the mid-frequency sounds but we were unable to confirm or deny this theory.

 

For movies the Sony HT-CT260H is a good performer. When watching  Lord of the Rings the Return of the King on blu-ray the 260H managed to fill the room with sound. The enormous Oliphaunts rumbled through our listening area with scary authority. Vocals came across loud and clear. As mentioned above, the subwoofer sometimes sounded boomy, but overall it behaved well.

 

Conclusion

We went into the review of the Sony HT-CT260H with low expectations, but instead we were pleasantly surprised. It sounds clear and detailed. The subwoofer, although it can get a little boomy at times, still packs quite a punch. The HT-CT260H is a definite upgrade over any TV speaker. Considering that you can frequently pick one of these up for about $200  it’s a steal. It’s not a replacement for a good  5.1 system, but if you’re looking for a good 2.1 system then this sound bar may be a viable option.

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Manufacturer Contact Information

Onkyo (800) 229-1687 onkyousa.com  Denon (201) 762-6665 usa.denon.com  Yamaha (800) 4-YAMAHA usa.yamaha.com



Pioneer (800) 421-1404 pioneerelectronics.comHarman Kardon (203) 328-3500 harmankardon.comSamsung 1-800-SAMSUNG samsung.com



Seiki Digital 1 (855) 697-3454 www.seiki.comSony (877) 865-SONY sony.comSharp USA 1-800-237-4277 sharpusa.com



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