By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The new Sony soundbar and subwoofer enhance the quality of movies, music, sport and much more
Sony HT-MT500 is a 2.1-channel soundbar that has amazingly big sounds and a powerful bass despite being attractively compact.
The MT500 features High-Resolution Audio support and has builtin Chromecast, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and supports multiroom technology, all of it packed into a unit measuring 500x64x110 millimetres along with a subwoofer unit just 95x383x380mm in size.
Despite its compact components, the soundbar has 50 watts of power (25+25 watts) while the subwoofer unit has 85. Best of all, the two units are automatically linked to each other wirelessly so you can place the subwoofer unit anywhere in the room. The soundbar unit, though, must be placed in front of your TV as its main function is to enhance the audio of movies and TV shows.
The MT500, which supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono and DTS digital formats, even offers a sofa mode, allowing you to place the subwoofer under your sofa and physically experience the pulsating booms of the action happening on screen.
The MT500 has a LAN port for connecting to your router if that’s located near enough to make it viable, an analog audio-in jack for connecting to a portable music player, and an optical digital-in jack for the optical out of a TV or from your TrueVisions receiver’s optical output.
When listening to music or watching movies, you can select sound field options of ClearAudio+, Movie, Music, Sports, Game Studio and Standard.
The Movie mode will use sound effects that are optimised for movies while Music does the same for tunes. The Sports option will make commentary clear and allow you to hear cheers as surround sound.
The Hi-Res Audio capability makes the sounds from the MT500 very clear. It’s well worth streaming Hi-Res Audio songs from your music player or smartphone that supports Sony’s LDAC technology and enjoying the pristine sound quality through Bluetooth. The LDAC supports High-Res Audio of up of 990 kbps or three times more than conventional Bluetooth audio.
Moreover, the MT500 can play full Hi-Res Audio of Flac 24bit/192kHz format, which is five times better in terms of quality than a CD. This allows you to enjoy even the most subtle nuances of studio-quality sound.
I tried playing Hi-Res Audio Flac 24bit/192kHz files from a USB attached to the soundbar. The quality was great with very good details of the instruments and crystal clear vocals.
The bass of the MT500 was so powerful I could feel my bedroom floor shaking! And I could have added even more just by separately increasing the bass volume of the subwoofer unit.
The Wi-Fi function and multiroom audio function make the use of MT500 really fun.
It’s not difficult to set up the Wi-Fi function of the soundbar either. Just link it to your smartphone with the Bluetooth connection and link it to the Sony Music Centre app to link the MT500 to your home wireless router.
Once the connection is done you can use the app to control various functions of the MT500.
I particularly liked the multiroom wireless sound. That allows you to use the app to group compatible Wi-Fi speakers into your sound system and enjoy sounds from your music service, music stored in your PC or smartphone or from the TV through the multiroom speakers.
You can also add support wireless speakers made by Sony to function as rear speakers to the soundbar.
The MT500 can also play music from shared folders of your PC or networked storage. During the test, I enjoyed streaming music from DiskStation DS 418j network storage.
And with the Chromecast builtin, you can cast music, podcasts and radio from over 100 audio apps, including Google Play Music and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to the MT500 by simply tapping the Cast button.
I had no problem casting from Sony Music app on my Sony Xperia XZ1. One of the benefits of Chromecast is that when you stream music from a support music streaming service, the MT500 will directly stream music, and have no affect on the battery or operation of your smartphone.
Spotify is supported by MT500 and you can use the app on your smartphone as a remote to control the streaming.
Sony HT-MT500 has a suggested retail price of Bt21,990.
Sony HT-MT500 KEY SPECS
– Power: 25 watts + 25 watts for soundbar, 85 watts for subwoofer
– Front speakers: 45mm cone type
– Subwoofer: 160mm cone type, bass reflex
– Inputs/outputs: Analogin, TV-in (optical), HDMI-out (TV ARC), USB, LAN
– Wireless connection: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1
– Supported Codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
– Dimensions: Soundbar: 500 mm x 64 mm x 110 mm, subwoofer: 95 mm x 383 mm x 380 mm
– Weights: Soundbar: 2 kgs; Subwoofer; 6.6 kgs