Sound is, at least, 50-percent of one’s viewing experience. That is why movie theaters cram as many speakers as they can within their confines. While that may be physically and fiscally impractical in the home setting, you can come close to approximating the cinematic experience with a suitable sound system.
System components. The HT-RT40 system comes with four components—a pair of slim rear speakers, a 90cm wide soundbar, and a hefty subwoofer, which also houses the amplifier and control units. The soundbar consolidates the left, center, and right front speakers into one unit while maintaining acoustic separation from all three. The rear satellites elevate their speakers approximately 100cm when floor mounted, which is about ear-level for a typical viewing configuration. Housed in the wooden enclosure of the main unit, the subwoofer is centrally-mounted between the display panel above and the reflex port below. Top of the display panel are touch points for basic user function as well as the NFC sensor and a USB port.
Quick and easy setup. The speaker terminations are color coded and clearly labelled at the I/O ports at the back of the main unit, offering plug-and-play convenience. The soundbar will fit nicely below just about any TV, 40 inches and larger. It connects to the subwoofer unit through a 6-conductor flat ribbon cable. The rear speakers link using standard two-conductor speaker wires. The soundbar and rear speakers may be wall-mounted, if so desired, but placement will be restricted by the length of the supplied wires.
The user experience. The system’s numerous input options—optical (TOSLINK) fiber, Bluetooth, HDMI (ARC), NFC, USB, and analog—offers the flexibility of an integrated amplifier; where each device can be conveniently selected remotely. Audio optimization presets are available to conform to the listening environment as well as to the genre. Best connected through the HDMI (ARC) port of a capable TV, the unit powers on or off with the TV remote and tracks its volume as well; although you can still manage its volume levels independently, if you wish. Preset sound optimization settings conform the listening field to the type of media being listened to. Pushing the system to its maximum 600W does not appear to tax the speakers nor distort the sound.
Sony’s Home Cinema Soundbar System, the HT-RT40, was meant to deliver the cinematic experience to the home at an affordable price. It does that exceptionally well. Even in a home with limited space, the system can be configured to deliver an immersive theater sound experience. The only thing lacking is popcorn.
Amplifier: LPCM (2ch thru HDMI); 5.1 amplifier channels, 600W total power output
Subwoofer: Active subwoofer
Audio formats: LPCM; PCM; Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono
Video features: Bravia Sync (CEC Control)
Connectivity & I/O ports: Bluetooth, AAC, SBC; HDMI (ARC); Optical input; Analog input; USB
Power consumption: 85W
Dimensions & weight: 900 x 52 x 70mm, 21.kg (main unit); 190 x 392 x 315mm, 7.8kg (subwoofer); 80 x 1,073 x 70mm, 2.7kg (rear speaker)