Checking around the local tech store for the best sound bar is sure to bring you around some of the Sony brand. And if you do a bit of Googling to get some more information, you’ll find copious Sony sound bar reviews out there. These Sony sound bar reviews are useful in helping you determine which devce is best for you, but are typically lacking in comparisons, such as between the HT-CT260 and HT-CT150. These sound bars are both wonderful pieces of hardware, but they’re geared towards different audiences. Let’s compare and contrast.
The width of the main sound bar unit for HT-CT260 is 40-inch compared to 32-inch for HT-CT150. Based on this dimension alone, it is sufficient for some people to make their pick on which of the two will be the winner. Those who own or are thinking of buying a 37-inch or smaller, HT-CT150 will be the more suitable option. No one will stop you from putting a 40-inch wide sound bar below your 37-inch flatscreen TV but it will definitely look out of place.
In brief, if you have or intend to purchase a 42-inch (the most common nowadays) or bigger LED flatscreen TV, then you can safely strike HT-CT150 out of your option list.
The other notable difference between HT-CT260 vs HT-CT150 is the surround sound specification. The former is a 2.1 channel system while the latter is a 3.1 channel system. With 2.1 system, you are going to get a Front Left / Front Right output at the main sound bar plus a Low Frequency Effect (LFE) output at the rear or sub-woofer. With 3.1 system, you are going to get a Front Lef / Center / Front Right output at the main sound bar plus a LFE output.
Wait a minute. With more number of channels, does it make a 3.1 system (i.e. HT-CT150) better than 2.1 (i.e. HT-CT260) system then? The answer is yes and no. It all depends on the speaker quality and how far apart the channel drivers are separated from one another.
To support the additional center channel, an additional driver is required which means that there will be 3 drivers found in the main sound bar of HT-CT150 compared to 2 in HT-CT260. Each component comes with a price tag and there is no free lunch in the world. If you are paying the same price for both systems (they both have the same MSRP), it means that the price of each driver for the HT-CT150 has to be lower than that for the HT-CT260. In laymen terms, this means your are going to get lousy versus better quality speakers.
If this does not convince you and you are worried that you will miss out on the center channel, the answer is you will not. This is because the difference with and without center channel is only noticeable when you have the three front channels located further apart from one another. In the case of HT-CT150, the three are arranged side-by-side within the 37-inch width bar. You can be assured that Sony’s decision this time to put the 3 channels is not a very smart one indeed.
Sony HT-CT260 is equipped with active sub-woofer and power output of 130W while HT-CT150 is equipped with passive sub-woofer and power output of 85W. Based on this two information, one can easily decipher which of the two is the better option. (Check out our glossary if you are interested to understand the difference between active and passive sub-woofer)
First of all, with 130W output, HT-CT260’s sub-woofer will be able to deliver much more powerful bass kick compared to its counterpart model where the sub power is only 85W. Add this to the fact one is an active and the other is a passive sub, the quality of the rumbling sound from thunder and explosion when you are watching a blockbuster movie will be of different class. But if you have a small room or your appetite for powerful bass kick is not huge, then you might not have to worry so much about this aspect.
The total output power required by the 2 drivers at the main sound bar and 1 at the sub-woofer of the HT-CT260 adds up to 300W (85Wx2 + 130W). The total required by the 3 drivers at the main soudn bar and 1 at the sub-woofer of HT-CT150 adds up to 340W (85W x 3 + 85W). Since more power is consumed, I guess you are expecting a better surround experience. Otherwise, why pay for higher utility bill (even if you are not going to really feel the pinch)?
Based on the various evaluations highlighted above, I guess deciding the winner between the two will be much easier. I think HT-CT150 is an attempt by Sony to test out the market and it is one that is going to fail. The 3.1 system might lead some to think that it is better than 2.1 system. However, given the low price range of these sound bar models, sticking to less components (if that means better components) is a wiser decision. I’m not sure how long the 3.1 system will be available in the market but all my money will be on the Sony HT-CT260.
Now that you have the essential information about one of the latest sound bar model from Sony, do you think it is good enough for you? If not, check out the latest list on what we thought to be the best soundbar for slim screen TV that are available in the market currently. But since you are giving Sony sound bar a consideration, I think you may also be interested in Panasonic sound bars.