Sony HT-NT5 review

Not a bad effort, but this Sony soundbar doesn't give your TV the boost it should... Tested at £600

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Our Verdict

Another stylish soundbar from Sony, but its lack of detail, dynamics and low-end punch leave us wanting more

For

  • Clear, open sound
  • Will go decently loud
  • Times well with good drive and organisation

Against

  • Sub is soft and poorly integrated
  • Midrange lacks detail and expression
  • Struggles to convey dynamics
  • Busy scenes can sound congested

Soundbars aren’t satisfied with being just soundbars anymore. They now offer all manner of wireless 5.1 setups, hi-res music playback, multi-room capabilities and streaming options. Sometimes going back to basics might not be such a bad thing.

The Sony HT-NT5 sits at the top of Sony’s soundbar line up for 2016. It boasts a stylish design, with a slim profile that allows it to be laid flat under your TV or wall mounted depending on your setup.

It will automatically know which way it has been positioned and adjust its EQ to suit – just be aware that it’s quite deep so you’ll need a fair bit of space in front of your telly.

Build

The HT-NT5 is made up of two parts: the three-way, two-channel soundbar and its accompanying wireless subwoofer.

The soundbar itself features two clusters of drivers at either edge, each comprising a single mid/bass unit angled diagonally upwards and two tweeters – one sitting under the grille and one along the bar’s bottom edge.

All six drivers are powered by their own proprietary S-Master HX amplifier.

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Features

On the back you’ll find a healthy number of connections, with an ARC-enabled HDMI output, three HDMI ins (all HDCP 2.2 compliant), one each of analogue audio and optical digital, and a USB port on the side.

There’s also an ethernet connection and dual-band wi-fi, plus Bluetooth as well.

Getting set up is pretty straightforward as the sub is as plug and play as it gets.

It automatically links itself to the soundbar when you switch it on (shown by a solid green light) and there are no crossover or phase controls to mess with – you’re just left to decide on positioning and volume.

Sony offers the option to add in wireless surrounds for a more enveloping sound, which can be done via the soundbar’s easy-to-use homepage.

This is also where you go to change settings or select a source, including the likes of Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and home network devices, alongside the physical connections.

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Sound

It supports music up to 24-bit/192kHz, plus Sony’s SongPal app for iOS and Android allows you to connect the HT-NT5 to other Sony kit in your house to create a quick and easy multi-room setup.

We put on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and skip to the stand-off between the Winter Soldier and the Avengers to see how the HT-NT5 deals with some action.

It’s a big soundstage with plenty of scale, so you can really push the volume to neighbour-bothering levels without an issue.

It’s a fast, agile sound too. As cars collide and metal crunches, there’s a satisfying zing to the treble that stays on the right side of bright without sounding hard – something Sony’s soundbars haven’t always managed before.

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This crisp high-end helps create an upfront sound, supported by a clean, open midrange that ensures dialogue is clear and projected, even in the busiest of scenes.

It’s not always the most expressive though. We’d like to be able to hear more detail both in a character’s voice and the movie soundtrack.

The sound might be fast and organised but it needs a better grip on dynamics to deliver what we crave in the way of drama or suspense.

This is particularly the case in busy scenes with a lot going on – the HT-NT5 finds it difficult to separate noises and effects, becoming congested and lacking space.

With less to worry about, the HT-NT5 can concentrate on fewer things, which helps with detail levels and dynamics.

But unfortunately, the sub is the weak link, proving too soft-handed to create any impact. Explosions and gunshots sound bigger than through your TV, but they lack the punch a soundbar at this level should have.

It’s a similar story with music. The bass makes itself heard, but it’s poorly integrated and feels disjointed from the rest of the mix.

Vocals are clear and focused, but lack the subtler details we need to really connect with the music.

Verdict

The HT-NT5 is a slender, well-designed and well-specced soundbar that appears to be a tempting proposition, even with its £600 price tag.

However, despite its ability to make things louder, wider and more focused, we’re not getting much more detail than from our television speakers – and that’s not good enough at this price.

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Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Brand NameSony
Product TypeSound Bar Speaker
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberHT-NT5
Product NameSony HT-NT5
Product ModelHT-NT5

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • 2.1ch Soundbar with High-Resolution Audio/Wi-Fi
  • HDMI Cable
  • Wall Hanging Bracket
  • Punching Grill support hook
  • Batteries
  • Quick Setup Guide
Country of OriginChina
DLNA CertifiedYes
Compatibility
  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
USBYes

Network and Communication

Near Field CommunicationYes
Wireless LANYes
BluetoothYes

Audio

Subwoofer TypeActive
Sound SystemVirtual Surround Sound, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD, S-Force PRO Front Surround, Dolby Dual Mono, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS-ES
Wireless SpeakersYes

Technical Information

FeaturesAdvanced Audio Coding (AAC), Ethernet, Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), HDCP 2.2, Google Cast, AV Sync, LPCM, Night Mode, ClearAudio+, S-Master digital Amplifier, Audio Return Channel (ARC)
PlacementWall Mountable

Physical Characteristics

Subwoofer Height38.2 cm
Width108 cm
Depth12.7 cm
Subwoofer Width19 cm
Height5.8 cm
ColourBlack
Dimensions5.8 cm (H): 108 cm (W): 12.7 cm (D)
Subwoofer Depth38.6 cm