Review: Sony HT-NT5

Good compromise

This is designed to lie flat and point towards the ceiling, but nevertheless sounds good facing forward. It works pretty good.

Karakter
Sony HT-NT5
We think
The most successful flat soundbar we have heard. Sounds both natural and open, and has good usability.
The focus of the soundscape is better from the soundbar that play directly forward.
Specifications
    • HDMI: 3 in/1 out (ARC)
    • Digital in: Optical, USB
    • Network: Wi-Fi, ethernet
    • Wireless: Google Cast, Bluetooth
    • Analogue in: 3.5 mm mini jack
    • Subwoofer: Wireless
    • W x H x D: 108 x 5.8 x 12.7 cm
    • Colour: Black
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forfatter

Sony’s soundbar should be on the table with the front facing diagonally upwards. We have seen this principle in other soundbars before, and with mixed results. But on the Sony soundbar, the speaker drivers are inset in such a way that they point pretty much forward, so they don’t play up into the air but instead provide better forward focus. As far as the display is concerned, it points upward, so you hardly see it from the couch. It is easy getting accustomed to the on-screen display menu on the TV.
The wall mount comes with two small brackets that angle the soundbar slightly downwards, so that the loudspeaker drivers stay at an optimal angle to the listening position.
Three HDMI inputs have full support for 4K video with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, and to stream wireless music using Sony Google Cast. It’s a proven system that works well, and allows you to group other Google Cast products together in a multi-room system across brand names. You can have Sony in one room, Philips in another, and ChromeCast in a third, and they can all play the same music at the same time.

Sound quality

Lying flat on the bench, the Sony soundbar projects surprisingly well-balanced sound towards the sofa, in contrast to other flat soundbars we have heard. This is because the drivers point more straight ahead. Sony utilizes super trebles on their soundbar. These provide a more airy sound. It works out fairly well, because it resonates well up in the overtone area.
Dialogue in movies is clear, and if you want even clearer articulation at low volume, the “Voice Up” feature works fine. It becomes sharper and not as comforftable as having it turned off, but if you are watching TV late at night and do not want the sound on high, then it serves a purpose.
The movie feature provides a certain sense of surround sound. It is somewhat at the expense of the dialogue in the centre channel, which becomes a little thinner, but the compromise is worth having it on to enjoy an extraordinary soundscape.
The subwoofer is well integrated and the sound system works on the whole quite well for movies.
Music in stereo runs smoothly. The dynamics are not the best, but it sounds pretty clear and open. Sony is a little thinner in the mid-range than Sonos, Bluesound and Heos and is also not as balanced as Samsung, but it is not far behind. Overall, a decent music package, and definitely an option if you do not have a wall-mounted TV, but want a soundbar that should be on the TV table without blocking the bottom edge of the TV.

Conclusion

The Sony soundbar is flat and elegant. It works fine for movies and TV with a natural and open soundscape, and it is surprisingly okay for music for a soundbar that lies flat and plays upwards.
Streaming with Google Cast works great, and it is an advantage that the soundbar doesn’t block the bottom edge of the TV, while the disadvantage is being unable to see the display from the couch. But with the on-screen menu on the TV, you don’t have to give it another thought.

Also in this test

Yamaha YSP-2700

Hissing sound

The biggest problem with this soundbar is a huge hole in the soundscape.

Many speaker drivers and advanced DSP allow one to get virtually true surround sound.
There is a large hole in the sound between the subwoofer and the soundbar. The soundbar gives us the consonants from vocals, while the subwoofer provides the vowels.

Bluesound Pulse Soundbar

The most accomplished

Bluesound’s soundbar costs a bit more, but pays off in the form of a much better experiences on both film and music.

Very powerful sound, even without a subwoofer, timbre balance is great and user-friendliness very good.
There could also be even more air at the top.

Sonos PlayBase

The TV's resting pad

Sonos’ new sound base PlayBase acts as a base for the TV. But did it arrive too late?

The sound is balanced, and the room correction fixes problems. Increased chassis volume accommodates subwoofers.
It lacks HDMI inputs, and the sound is not as engaging as the best sound bases.

Samsung HW-MS660

Impressive balance

Samsung’s soundbar sounds just as well on music as it does for movies.

The sound is very clear and clean, Samsung is in the forefront when it comes to natural sound.
The bass can once in a while almost be too rich.

Yamaha YAS-306

Rather complete

If you are looking for an affordable option with multi-room, and do not want an extra bass crate, then this one is good.

A low price and good usability are a plus, and the soundbar provides a rich enough audio without a subwoofer.
Music in stereo lacks energy and life.

Philips HTL5160

Clear speech

The Philips soundbar does its job, with crystal clear dialogue and a fairly balanced sound.

The balance in the sound is fine, and the soundbar simulates surround sound quite well. Google Cast provides great usability for streaming.
We want more overtones, and the stereo perspective on the music should be wider.

Bose SoundTouch 300

Not good enough

Bose has banked on user-friendliness, but has unfortunately forgotten about the sound quality.

In typical Bose style, the soundbar is very user-friendly, and room correction can help in difficult environments.
The sound is too bad, and it lacks support for multiple streaming services.

Klipsch RSB-14

A lot of sound pressure, little else

Klipsch has the highest sound pressure in the test. But the soundbar disappoints on sound quality.

When it comes to sound pressure, Klipsch is in a separate class. The user-friendliness of the Play-Fi multi-room is very good.
The sound quality does not measure up.

Heos HomeCinema

User-friendly and tough

Heos has endowed this with user-friendliness, and here one also gets tough, rich sound for one’s money.

The usability is top notch, many streaming services are supported, and with subwoofer included, the price is very favourable.
It lacks some nuances in the overtones, especially for music in stereo.

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