Sony 5.1-Kanal-Soundbar HT-RT3 Test 2023 (2023)

The Sony 5.1-channel soundbar HT-RT3 in the test 2023: Happy all round?

If there is one thing consumer electronics manufacturers can do, it is to confuse customers with labels! Do you look at themSony 5.1-Kanal-Soundbar HT-RT3If you take a closer look, you can hardly see any difference to the offers that run under the term "home cinema systems".

131,94 Euro

Table of contents

  1. Sony 5.1 Soundbar HT-RT3: construction, connection, fitting accuracy
  2. operation and functionality
  3. Soundcheck
  4. TV-Serie: „Sherlock“Blockbuster: „Iron Man 3“
  5. More functions
  6. Conclusion on the Sony Soundbar HT-RT3

There isn't one either. But if you want to sell your audio devices for televisions today, you have to work with the buzzword "soundbar". This creates a problem specific to this device.

In ourSoundbar-TestIn 2023 - and the entire category - a loudspeaker will not only become a soundbar because the most important loudspeakers are built in the form of a bar. The joke of the system is also the wireless connection of all speaker components to each other via Bluetooth.

Because soundbars have the edge over classic home cinema systems in that you can create a surround setup wirelessly. This saves cable clutter, creates more flexibility when setting up and ensures that you will eventually find the best cinema sound in your living room.

With the Sony HT-RT3 5.1-channel soundbar, you can forget about all that. You have to connect the two rear speakers and the central speaker bar to the massive external subwoofer with (high-quality) audio cables. Oh, and you also need a cable connection to your respective television.

In this case, we are dealing with a case of “misleading advertising” in the Amazon product description. Not justiciable, but annoying nonetheless.

I don't want to know how many people sent this thing back because of the wrong accidentals. By the way, there is no mention of a soundbar on the packaging, it says correctly "Home Theater System".

What do we do with this knowledge now? First of all, the same as with all other candidates: We look at how and how well the TV sound is improved and whether series and blockbuster fans get their money's worth.

We also look at how good the room impression is with two additional rear speakers - and whether they are necessary and useful in my test setting.

However, the overriding question must be: Can the classic home cinema system still compete with the modern soundbars or is it a discontinued model that makes the topic of "better TV sound" unnecessarily complicated?

Let's put it this way: on its own, the Sony 5.1-channel soundbar isn't a bad device and it's capable. But in my opinion, the necessary effort is by no means outweighed by the result.

In fact, with modern soundbars, there's no compelling reason for you to buy an entire system anymore.

(Video) Best home theater system 2022 | Sony HT-RT3 Real 5.1ch Dolby Audio Sound bar Home Theatre Review

Because 2.1 models like thatSamsung Soundbar HW-M450can easily compete with the Sony Klopper. Even without rear boxes. If your fingers are still itching, you can order an extra rear kit from Samsung and enjoy real surround sound.

Funnily enough, Sony with theHT-SF200own real soundbar on offer. Compared to the surround system, however, it has far fewer reviews and doesn't seem to be as popular. Maybe that's where the rebranding of the big sister comes from.

If you are interested, I would be happy to take a look at the real Sony soundbar in another test!


  • Easy to install
  • True surround sound possible
  • Well differentiated sound settings
  • Can bombast


  • Not a real soundbar - despite marketing

Construction, connection, accuracy of fit: the "good" old days

The difference between home cinema systems and soundbars is already evident from the fact that the central control unit of the Sony 5.1-channel soundbar is not the speaker bar, but the subwoofer.

This is where all the audio cables come together, this is where the connection to the TV is made, this is where the power is supplied, and this is where the display is located. The advantage of this structure is that, in contrast to other 2.1 systems, you only need one free socket. That was it already.

We only realize how accustomed we are to wireless connectivity when we have to deal with cables again.

In the case of the Sony system, this mainly applies to the two rear speakers, which each have to be routed through the booth with a 10 meter cable.

My living room - or the television set-up - is not designed for it. Normally, I wouldn't know how to cleverly lay the cables and set up the box in such a way that the surround sound is also useful.

Identify true audio enthusiastsfirstthe sweet spot of a room, install your armchair or couch there, then set up the loudspeakers and finally take care of the furniture.

In everyday life, of course, this is perfect quark. That's why you should think carefully beforehand whether your facility is designed for surround box systems at all.

It's only worth it if you can set up the rear speakers at the ideal height and position and at exactly the same distance from your ears. This provides a very nice list of the most important factorsPost by Heimkino Praxis.

I don't have all of that, which is why I had to artificially create a sweet spot for the test with makeshift constructions made of displaced furniture and tall boxes.

The subwoofer as the central control unit is correspondingly heavy and powerful, but strives for a slim, reserved look.

I'm not a fan of the fact that I can see the membrane through the front panel with the right incidence of light. That looks too much like speakers if you know what I mean. Samsung's look was more successful. However, you can also see it differently.

Perhaps I should also briefly explain why the thing is called a 5.1 system, but obviously only has three speakers plus an external subwoofer.

The solution to the riddle is provided by the soundbar itself, which, in addition to the left and right speaker channels, also provides a boomy center speaker with a full 170 watts of nominal power. In plain language: This device not only wants to offer you real 360-degree sound, but also blows you off your chair from the front.


So much power needs space. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the latch is sticking out over my TV dresser, as is the case with practically all soundbars in the test.

Again the note:Always pay close attention to the dimensions so that the thing stands completely on the base.

I don't know why, but I also find this bar exceptionally ugly. Here, too, the speakers peek out from behind the panel, the three-part front looks intentional and the whole thing just doesn't look good. But that matters less.

Like Samsung, Sony supplies you with an optical cable that theoretically produces the best sound. You can read more about this in ourGuide to the soundbar test.

For the sake of comparability, however, I have also used the simple HDMI connection here, which many of you prefer.

Despite the annoying cables, connecting is a snap. This is ensured by foolproof color coding and high-quality sockets and cables. These cables are just a real thorn in my side.

I don't really like the included remote either. Where the Samsung 2.1 soundbar, for example, impressed with its intuitive clarity, the buttons on the Sony are annoyingly small and the labeling is not exactly comprehensible. We'll see in a moment that it would have needed comprehensible keys.

Overall, given the price tag, first impressions leave me a bit perplexed. There is no doubt that all parts and components are of high quality. You can tell by the weight. But neither the haptics nor the optics are particularly appealing and the antediluvian connectivity also results in point deductions.

But it is also a fact that at around 220 euros at the time of purchase (October 2019) we are far from scratching the upper league in terms of price, but are playing in the middle field. And for the price called, there are also the rear boxes, which you have to buy extra for other soundbars for quite a lot of money.

Operation and functionality: the little things add up

If you don't have a Sony television, you may have to live with the fact that the soundbar only works to a limited extent with the device. With Samsung, compatibility ends when you turn on the television – I always had to turn on the soundbar. This shows once again how annoying it is when there is no CEC standard on board.

Either way, you'll be greeted by an excellently legible font menu on the subwoofer. And from an unsightly little thing: The subwoofer emits a subtle continuous hum.

It doesn't bother me when the sound is running. But no other model has buzzed so far. The sound quality is reminiscent of a PC fan.

It also took a while before the system felt like taking over the sound output - although it generally started with the correct basic setting. At some point, however, the switch from the television to the soundbar worked and I was finally able to get started.

First I worked my way through all the settings behind the "Menu" button on the remote control. An exact list of all things would now lead too far, you can look at theoperating manualread through. However, the default settings are selected in such a way that you can theoretically get by without a set-up.

As already mentioned, the remote control is not quite as intuitive as with Samsung. The buttons are very small and too close together, the lettering is not very clear. "Soundfield" hides the six different sound modes, of which ClearAudio+ is your most important setting - we'll see why in a moment.

You can make the subwoofer louder and quieter with its own keypad, in the upper area there is the dimmer for the front display and the control panel for the menu.

Like for example with theLG 2.1 Soundbar SJ4Sony offers you a night mode in which all deep, rich tones and sound events are muted so as not to disturb the neighbors. It's a nice gimmick, but not a must.

Right from the start, I noticed that the Sony system reacted a bit sluggishly and had an annoying quirk, especially with the sound modes:

When you press the switch button, you only wake up the display, which shows you which setting is currently in effect. The sound is only changed after the second press.

It's a minor thing, but it shows the difference in convenience between Sony and Samsung:


Where Samsung played with playfulness and intuition, Sony is somehow scratchy and awkward. Not that you don't get it. But scratchy enough to annoy you.

However, these little things add up all the more clearly when I use intuitive models like thePanasonic SC-HTB254next to it. I am convinced that ease of use will become even more important in the future. Because in the basic performance, the models are inevitably becoming more and more similar. And that's why I attach so much importance to it today.

Sound: The pleasure comes after the circumstances

The Sony HT-RT3 definitely passed the "volume fiddling" test. Once you have found a sound setting that is optimal for you (see below), you can easily enjoy the film or series in one go.

Sony 5.1-Kanal-Soundbar HT-RT3 Test 2023 (12)

Until then, you should prick up your ears and pay attention to a few special features of the model. For example, I found out that the "ClearAudio+" button is basically the only important button for sound modulation - at least on blockbusters.

This is the only way to activate the 5.1 sound, and the automatically following sound dynamics also modulate many sounds better in series. On the other hand, the differences between the other presets are sometimes far too subtle for me to see a clear purpose.

The "Voice" button on the remote control, in turn, operates a preset that only modulates the voices. This is possible in two stages: once for normal optimization, once for areas that older people in particular understand poorly.

The problem with all these buttons and sets is that they sometimes contradict each other or get in each other's way - and thus almost cancel each other out. With the double key press compulsion, you quickly lose track of which combination has just been selected.

This means that you sometimes have to start the game all over again for different films or series to find the right setting. That may go away with longer use, or you can just go for a compromise of your choice and stick with it throughout. But I don't get warm with these conditions.

At least you can control the subwoofer cleanly and clearly via its own control panel. It delivers a wonderfully spherical sound impression that never sounds fringed or pressed.

My scene tests took longer than usual under all of these conditions because I didn't know what I was adjusting. But these are the results:

1. TV-Serie: „Sherlock“

Season 1, Episode 1 – from minute 8:30:Speech scene in a pathology

  • Without sound bar:
    Different British accents, Sherlock speaks exceptionally softly and indistinctly, other characters louder, sound effects in between and some background music that can be heard loudly (compared to the dialogue)
  • With standard setting:
    Louder, noises better tied together, very pleasant overall impression. Good to listen to
  • With Clearaudio+ setting:lower voices get pretty muddy, but brighter voices are much nicer. The background noise is given a compressed quality. Biggest problem: quiet voices blur and almost disappear
  • With movie setting:
    Quite good for the scene, sound is more present and closer, only slight pressing impressions
  • With Music setting:
    Very bad. All mixed up wrong, pressed and hollow at the same time
  • With Sports setting:
    Deep voices not understandable, compressed impression, but good fullness
  • With game setting:
    Mixing of all voices quite well, impression of a sound hole, sounds pressed

Once again we have the problem with this "soundbar" that the preset names do not fit the purpose or perhaps were not thought through to the end. It is at least characteristic that the ordinary Standard setting is a better choice than the Clear Audio setting here.

The "Voice" function had no significant positive effect on my ears here. Rather, the artificiality of the modulation becomes clearer. There are similar findings for the blockbuster test:

2. Blockbuster: „Iron Man 3“

Movie with 5.1 – from minute 34:30:House flies up in the air, quick change between bombast and speech parts

  • Without sound bar:
    I have to keep turning the volume up because voices are hard to hear (too quiet) and then all hell breaks loose right after (too loud)
  • With standard setting:
    The sound from the soundbar itself is okay, the bass is very pleasant
  • With Clearaudio+ setting:
    5.1 surround sound, the rear speakers sound a bit like a tin bucket, but they are pleasant. Overall, there is a tonal hole in the mids
  • With movie setting:
    Top blockbuster feeling, good differentiation, very good choice of presets
  • With Music setting:
    Hole in the sound, but very good spatial feeling
  • With Sports setting:
    Best preset, great volume levels, sufficient fullness, beautiful spatiality
  • With game setting:
    Dull, dull, but full

At the latest after these findings, I asked myself why you should buy the thing - in the form in which it is in front of me. Because with the blockbuster, it's the settingswithoutSurround that sound best.

And even if the sound is very powerful and present, I miss the ultimate aha feeling. Still, there's no question that television sound is improving not just by miles, but by whole worlds.

If your living room is structurally similar, it would almost be worth considering not connecting the rear speakers. However, I also have to say that the listening experience with the speakers is completely different. You just have to say goodbye to the claim to a real cinema feeling.

In addition, it becomes very clear that the virtual technical gimmicks that ensure an almost all-round surround effect in a modern soundbar do more for your ears than some would like to think.

Sony 5.1-Kanal-Soundbar HT-RT3 Test 2023 (13)

In order to increase the surround effect a little, you should turn up the subwoofer a little here. This is a more psychological measure, but then conceals the less successful appearance of the rear boxes.

(Video) Sony HT-RT3 ⚡ Best Sound Bar ? Home Theatre In India in 2022⚡ 9 Months In-Depth Review

Other functions: Now I get it

The Sony 5.1-channel soundbar definitely has one clear advantage: it can be connected to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth very conveniently, at a great distance and very quickly.

Thanks to NFC, all you have to do next time is hold devices that have already been paired to the subwoofer. You will then find yourself. That's always a comfort point.

I also have to admit that I really enjoyed listening to my Spotify playlist from the surround boxes in my recliner chair. You swim in the sounds and can immerse yourself almost as well as with an excellent oneheadphones.

But here, too, you can clearly feel that the system is designed more for films than for music streaming. The sound is somehow too small for 600 watts of power, but the bass is again a great affair. However, the hollow feeling remains a constant companion here as well.

It's no surprise, however, that I particularly like the vocals in their purity. After all, the human voice is the frequency range in which all speakers above a certain price range can convince.

Conclusion on the Sony HT-RT3 5.1-channel soundbar: Let's be honest!

Marketing strategy or not: Sony should quickly remove the name "Soundbar" from the product page of theSony HT-RT3 5.1 channel systemremoved. Otherwise you are like meSoundbar-Test2023 and you are rather disappointed.

Sony 5.1-Kanal-Soundbar HT-RT3 Test 2023 (14)

131,94 Euro


  • Easy to install
  • True surround sound possible
  • Well differentiated sound settings
  • Can bombast


  • Not a real soundbar - despite marketing

But even beyond the name, I've heard home theater systems that are much better. The functionality is too ambiguous or contradictory for me, the sound is very good in some settings, but not exceptionally outstanding.

I imagine my parents with this model, who would despair of the functions after a few days.

The two rear speakers only deliver a really successful sound if they are optimally placed and the acoustic conditions in the room are right. There are too many ifs and buts.

What's the alternative? Definitely look around for a real soundbar. For example, if you visit ourSamsung 2.1 Soundbar HW-M450 Testtake a look and then decide on this model, you can order wireless rear speakers separately. However, this also costs extra.

So first check whether you really need it. A virtual 3D effect is usually sufficient for our sound brain. It's only worth buying if you can't do without all-round sound.

The classic Sony variant saves itself with a good average rating because it doesn't cost as much as it would be possible with home cinema systems.

How are you? Do you have a home theater system or do you want to make the switch to soundbars? Feel free to leave comments.

(Video) Sony HT-RT3 unbox malayalam review|home theater 5.1 unboxing andsound text|Dolby 5.1|Explore vibes


Is Sony HT RT3 worth it? ›

Overall, the sound output is fantastic for the price range that the Sony HT-RT3 is placed in and in our opinion it's a better sound system for gaming than watching movies. It's also compatible with Apple TV and Google's Chrome Cast.

How do I increase the bass on my Sony HT RT3? ›

On the remote control, press the + (plus) button of the SW (subwoofer volume) to turn up the subwoofer volume.

How do I reset my Sony Home Theater HT RT3 sound bar? ›

How to reset the Sound Bar
  1. Press and hold + (volume up) button, power button, and input select button on the unit for more than 5 seconds to reset the system.
  2. Disconnect the AC power cord (mains lead), and then plug it back in.
Mar 20, 2023

How do I test my Sony soundbar with a subwoofer? ›

Link the soundbar and subwoofer.
  1. On the supplied remote control, press the AMP MENU button.
  2. Select WS.
  3. Press the Enter button.
  4. Select LINK or S. ...
  5. Press the Enter button.
  6. After START appears, press the Enter button to allow the soundbar to search for the subwoofer.
Feb 2, 2022

Is JBL soundbar better than Sony? ›

On a purely aesthetic level, Sony wins out over JBL. While JBL soundbars are sleek and simple, its Bluetooth speakers are on the flashier side, with various bright color choices and rugged builds that show off their toughness against water, dust, and other nasty things.

How long do Sony soundbars last? ›

Time to failure is typically 8-11 years. A newer amplified soundbar, like a Sonos Arc, should not become obsolete anytime soon, though expect the hardware to operate for up to 7 years before needing a repair or a replacement.

How do I test my Sony sound bar? ›

Select Audio Settings. Select Speaker Settings. Select Test Tone and set it to On. NOTE: Once this setting is enabled, the test tone is emitted from each speaker in sequence while adjusting the level.

Why doesn't my Sony sound bar work? ›

Check your cables to ensure they're in good condition, if not, replace the cables as needed. Reconnect the cables connecting your TV to your audio system making sure all cables are secure. Then turn on your TV, followed by your audio system. Refer to the connection options as needed.

How do I calibrate my Sony surround sound? ›

You can perform automatic calibration from where you are sitting.
  1. Select [Settings] - [Speaker Settings] from the home menu.
  2. Select [Auto Calibration].
  3. Follow the instructions on the TV screen, then press to select [Start]. The measurement starts in 5 seconds. ...
  4. Select the item you want. ...
  5. Save the measurement results.

How do I test my 5.1 surround sound? ›

For a 5.1 setup, you can test the surround sound system in a few ways.
  1. Use the Sound Receiver App. ...
  2. Download a Surround Sound File Online. ...
  3. Test Patterns on Netflix. ...
  4. Go to Sounds in Settings. ...
  5. Check the Playback Option. ...
  6. Choose the Speaker to Configure. ...
  7. Test the Surround Channel. ...
  8. Configure the Speaker.
Mar 22, 2023

How do I know if my soundbar is working? ›

At lower volume, it is harder to tell if the soundbar is working, but if you turn the volume up you should hear a difference. Also put your ear next to the subwoffer and you should be able to hear if it is working. Also, light on subwoffer turns to blue when it is on.

How many watts is Sony HT rt3 subwoofer? ›

600 Watts

How do I make my Sony subwoofer louder? ›

On the remote control, press the + (Plus) button of the SW (subwoofer volume) to turn up the subwoofer volume. Note: The button name (subwoofer volume, BASS, etc.) varies depending on the model. If Night mode is set to ON, set it to OFF.

Which is the best home theatre in Sony? ›

Sony HT-A7000 is our pick for India's best 7.1 home theatre system. The surround sound with five front speakers, including up-firing speakers, a built-in dual subwoofer, rear speakers and a Dolby Atmos effect, creates a whole new level of immersion.

How many watts is Sony HT-RT3 subwoofer? ›

600 Watts

Is LG soundbar better than Sony? ›

Side-by-Side Comparison

The Sony feels more premium and better-built, and it can reproduce a more extended low-bass. On the other hand, the LG has better surround and Atmos performances.

What is the price of Sony HT-RT3 bass? ›

The lowest price of Sony HT-RT3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is ₹ 23,990 at Amazon on 21st May 2023.
Sony HT-RT3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Price in India.
Product NamePrice in India
Sony HT-RT3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Black, 5.1 Channel)₹ 23,990


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