The Good: The Sony HT-XT1 offers 3 HDMI inputs and 1 output which is highly unusual in this price range. Its incorporation of Bluetooth Near Field Connectivity (NFC) simplifies the bluetooth pairing process. The XT1 also displays good mid-range and handles higher frequencies well.

 

The Bad: The XT1 could make do with a couple of analog audio inputs. The inclusion of a subwoofer output for those of us who like a little more bass would have been appreciated. Speaking of bass, the HT-XT1 could use a little more punch.

 

Summary: Overall, the Sony HT-XT1 is a well-rounded sound base. Inside its sexy exterior, it offers up surprisingly good connectivity options. While it won’t rattle the walls with its bass output, it has just enough punch for movie night. Anyone looking to upgrade their anemic TV speakers should give the XT1 consideration.

 

Sony HTXT1 2.1-Channel TV Base Speaker with Built-in Subwoofer

Price: $179.00

4.4 out of 5 stars (612 customer reviews)

3 used & new available from $179.00

 

 

Sony HT-XT1 Review

Sound bars have gradually become necessary for anyone who’s grown tired of poor sound output from their TVs. However, sound bars have their share of problems. Some times they can block the IR receiver on the TV or, depending on the TV and sound bar, they may even block part of the image. The latest solution to these unfortunate problems are sound bases which fit conveniently under your TV. Sony, like many mainstream manufacturers, is starting to offer sound bases (or sound stands) of their own. One of their latest offerings is the Sony HT-XT1 Sound Base.

 

Sony HT-XT1 Sound Base Review

The HT-XT1 measures a meager  3″ x 28″ x 12″ and has a sleek profile. It’s capable of supporting a TV weighing as much as 66 lbs and based on its dimensions,  you could probably get away with parking a 50 or 55 inch TV on top.

 

Sony HT-XT1 Top

 

The front of the Sony HT-XT1 has a metal grill which conceals a white LED display that shows input selections and menu options. The top of the unit which is adorned with three touch sensitive buttons for power, input selection and bluetooth pairing, is layered in tempered glass giving the HT-XT1 a sleek modern look. The entire speaker’s elevated about a 1/2 inch thanks to pyramid shaped feet on its underbelly. The extra space underneath the speaker gives the dual 100 mm woofers seated on the bottom of the XT1 room to work. The woofers handle the low frequencies, while two 1.4 inch  x 3.1 inch oval drivers on the front produce the majority of the audio, According to Sony’s spec sheet 35 watts of power is delivered to each of the oval drivers while 100 watts is pushed to the woofers for a total power output of 170 watts.

 

Bundled with the Sony HT-XT1 is a wand-like remote which looks like something from an alien spacecraft. It’s triangular zig-zag button layout gives you options to control the basic functions of the speaker. Sliding open the bottom part of the remote reveals additional buttons that control display brightness, subwoofer level, as well as other menu options. The remote for the Sony HT-XT1 is a definite improvement over the typical credit card style remotes that you find bundled with most sound bars.

Sony HT-XT1 Remote

Sony HT-XT1 Setup & Features

The XT1 gives you some pretty good connectivity options highlighted by its 3 HDMI inputs and 1 output. With the HDMI’s you can hook-up 3 sources and switch between them easily. ARC (audio return channel) is also supported. Along with the HDMI inputs, Sony also throws-in one digital optical input and a 3.5 mm audio input. While the HDMI inputs are a very nice touch, I can’t help but wish Sony had included a couple of RCA analog inputs for those of us with older equipment. Also missing from the speaker is a subwoofer output. So anyone looking to add extra bass to the system will be out of luck.

 

The Sony HT-XT1 doesn’t have an ethernet connection or WiFi, however it does include built-in bluetooth with Near Field Connectivity (NFC). This actually works incredibly well. If your phone is NFC compatible you just touch it to the XT1 to pair it with the speaker. I loved this feature as it made syncing with the speaker quick and painless and eliminated the need to go through normal bluetooth connection protocols.

 

Performance

Here’s the thing with sound bars, they’re never going to sound as good as a true 5.1 surround system. However, nearly every one that I’ve listened to has offered significant improvement over TV speakers. This being said the HT-XT1 has some strengths and weaknesses.

 

When it comes to clarity and precision, the XT1 is a champ. Smaller speakers can sometimes have a mid-range that’s either thin or muddy. Neither of these is true with the XT1. When watching the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds the Sony HT-XT1 displayed a very competent mid-range. In the re-make, the Aliens first make their presence known with a barrage of lightning strikes. To the HT-XT1’s credit, each strike bristled with a bright sounding crackle. When the Alien tri-pods begin their march of destruction, the little sound base picked-up every explosion and crunch of metal. However, Sony’s web site describes the bass output of the XT1 as heart-pounding. This may be a slight exaggeration. While the little sound base did manage to output quite a bit of punchy bass, it didn’t have the extension or richness that you would get with a subwoofer.

 

The XT1 also held its own during our viewing of Expendables 3. Explosions were weighty and the speaker proved itself capable of creating a wide sound stage. Interestingly, despite all the heavy on-screen action, dialogue was never drowned out or overwhelmed.

 

For music playback, the Sony HT-XT1  may have been just a tad better. It’s robust mid-range makes it a good complement for Rock and Pop tunes. It also produced just enough bass for most Hip Hop tracks.

 

Conclusion

The Sony HT-XT1 is a well-rounded speaker. It looks great, has good clarity and has just enough bass to enliven most movies and music. The XT1 also gives you a nice variety of connectivity options highlighted by its 3 HDMI inputs. There are other sound bases that sound better, but you can expect to pay a bit more. At its suggested MSRP of $299, you’ll be hard pressed to find its equal in this price range.

Sony HTXT1 2.1-Channel TV Base Speaker with Built-in Subwoofer

Price: $179.00

4.4 out of 5 stars (612 customer reviews)

3 used & new available from $179.00

 

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