Plenty of detail
Punchy, attacking sound
Expansive soundfield
Good build and features
Hard edge to treble
Voices could be more expressive;
Rivals have better integration
Reviewed on

As Sony’s first soundbase, the HT-XT1 certainly makes an impact. The sleek black box, the abundance of features and the crisp, attacking sound grab our attention, especially at such an attractive price.

Oh, and there’s a nifty remote, too.


The Sony, like the Canton, has downward-firing woofers

With the training scene from the new RoboCop Blu-ray on screen, the Sony delights us with a crisp and clear sound that’s full of excitement.

The zing of gunshots, the punch and thunk of every metallic impact, and the rousing dynamics all keep us at the edge of our seats as Alex Murphy takes down all the android cops. It’s richly detailed.

The Sony storms through the movie’s sound effects with aplomb; the treble just teetering on the wrong side of hardness.

We had the soundbase running in for a couple of nights to soften that hard edge, but there’s still enough left to make us wince ever so slightly when there’s an impact.

There’s a good spread of sound from the HT-XT1, and the sense of space and movement comes across nicely. The bottom end is taut and textured, although we could’ve done with a bit more warmth to the rumble.

There seems to be a slight discrepancy with integration across the frequencies, though. The bass and treble stick out just slightly, leaving the midrange feeling intimidated and lost.

Sony’s ClearAudio+ technology automatically selects the best EQ setting for film, TV, games or music, and it’s worth playing around with the different sound modes.

We toned down the subwoofer a bit and selected Voice 2 (which pushes the midrange forward) to hear dialogue a bit better. (Portable Audio was our favourite sound mode.)

More after the break


You'll need to run it in for a couple of days to tone down that hard edge

It may be a black rectangular box like most other soundbases, but the HT-XT1 does look good. The build quality is excellent, and the sleek glass top adds a touch of style.

The unit is also raised on discretely-placed feet, too. The long, slim remote, too, has its own appeal, complete with sloped buttons and a slide-down bottom half that reveals hidden controls underneath for going deeper into the various menus; it’s a breeze to use.

If you’d rather use your smartphone as a remote, download the SongPal app. The sound adjustments are easier to make on screen, and the app has shortcuts to various services – music player, Spotify, YouTube, imdb, and SoundCloud – to make streaming easier.

If you want to prop a TV on top of the HT-XT1 (don’t worry, that glass is scratch-proof), the soundbase has a 30kg weight limit.

Sony has designed the soundbase with its 2014 TV range in mind, and recommends 32in to 50in TVs.


Sony has been generous with its set of connections. The HT-XT1 is kitted out with three HDMI inputs, and single optical and 3.5mm inputs.

There’s an HDMI output, too. And for those that want to play music from phones and tablets, there’s Bluetooth streaming and NFC connectivity.


Sony’s hit the ground running with the HT-XT1. We really like this soundbase: the wealth of connections, features and the smart design make it an attractive buy, and the punchy, energetic sound is bound to have its fans.

It’s worth an audition.

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Sony HT-XT1
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