Originally Posted by macaque
I picked up the HT-CT660 on a boxing day sale - where it was needed did not have space for 5.1, wiring, etc.
My thoughts - it's not bad overall. The crossover frequency is too high resulting in some localization at the bass module, and the shipped SW level is too high (-2 is good for me).
There are a few UI/technical design flaws which are surpsrising for a product coming out in 2013 from Sony. They are actually shocking.
1) No discrete input remote codes for inputs or power - for something in this day and age where it will be likley used as part of a "system". My Harmony remote can deal with this, but it is easy to get out of sync - not great for the wife acceptance factor.
2) Night Mode is buried in the menus. C'mon Sony - this is the very definition of a feature that will be used frequently (like DAILY). Having to navigate menus to switch it is ridiculous. Also too many keystrokes to make it a harmony macro! Meanwhile there are a bunch of discrete soundfield buttons, and since they are save per input you don't generally need to use - or very rarely need to change.
For anyone who thinks a 2ch soundbar does not benefit from > 2ch input though is not understanding what is going on. Virtual surround from 2ch is just phase tricks to make everything sound spacious. Even with stereo there are ways to localize sound to almost any position - even behind you. The illusion requires excellent level matching between the right and left channels, which involves the electronics, speakers, and positioning. Luckily the class-D amplifiers provide this from an electronics perspective, and the speakers are small and forced to be ideally positioned in a sound bar form factor. The last piece is listener position and if your are directly in front of the TV, that is pretty ideal too.
If your source is 5.1 or 7.1 and the bar can decode it, it can position _those_ channels correctly in a 2ch output instead of not having any information about where they should come from (like in a 2.0 channel source). Listening to 5.1 content on this bar gives me the impression that Sony is in fact positioning the channels correctly in that the stuff that is behind me is not a "spacious" version of the entire content but is based on would what is actually encoded in the surround channels.
Macaque - fantastic first post and excellent explanation for the 2-ch from multi-channel issue.
On your gripe about discrete input codes, welcome to the world of soundbars. This has been an ongoin issue since the early days of the Yamaha Sound Projectors and has not changed.
Why these various manufacturers do not use at least a set of codes from their receivers is beyond me.
I was advised by Yamaha back in 2006 to purchase a Harmony remote which could resolve all of the issues. It did just that and made my remote life so simple, I have kept one for my home theater ever since. Of course, at the time, I was a little bit irate with Yamaha that after spending close to $ 2,000 for their sound bar and dedicated sub-woofer, I should need to go out and spend an additional $ 150 for a remote so it could be integrated seamlessly into my system.