Are you confused about choosing between the Sony HT-RT3 and Sony HT-S20R speakers? Then this article is for you. When making decisions between a pair of devices, it is common to see most people settle for less. By “settling for less,” I mean instead of comparing the features and specifications of each of the products in question, they settle for the one with a lower price or one that they can easily lay their hands on. In some cases, they give preference to quantity rather than quality. This trend permeates every industry, and the entertainment industry is not exempted. The comparison will focus more on the features and specifications of these two devices rather than their prices.
The Sony HT-RT3 is an excellent 5.1ch speaker that allows you to fill the room with real surround sound that elevates your movie-watching and general listening experience. Sony launched the speaker in 2016. It includes two rear speakers, an external subwoofer, and a 3ch soundbar.
Let us take a closer look at the specifics.
Appearance and Setting Up
All the components of the Sony HT-RT3 come in a solid black color. The subwoofer has a mini screen that displays vital system information like connection mode. You don’t need any elaborate technical know-how or the services of a sound technician to get the speaker connected. You can set it up in your home all by yourself. All you need is a little understanding of the colors depicting positive and negative cables. This ease of setup is similar to what you’ll find in the HT-S20R. A good thing about setting up the sound system is that all the cables run into the subwoofer for a neat setup.
Power and Subwoofer
The Sony HT-RT3 is the one to beat on the power output front. Compared to the HT-S20R’s 400-watt power output, it has an astonishing 600-watt of power output. Factor this in with the 15-inch subwoofer that comes with the unit, and you can be sure of getting the most immersive living room sound experience ever. The speaker’s S-Master digital amplifier is the icing on the cake. It is all you need for a refined and clear sound. Set this up in your living room, and you’ve got a sound monster on your hands.
Audio Formats and Sound Function
The HT-RT3 supports the following audio formats: LPCM, PCM, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Dual mono. The HT-S20R also supports Dolby Digital.
In terms of sound function, the HT-RT3 is no pushover. The following sound functions are available: standard, movie, music, sports, ClearAudio+, and game. ClearAudio+ is especially a game-changer as it detects the current music track being played and selects the best sound field to deliver the best listening experience.
Connectivity and Control
There are different connectivity options for the Sony HT-RT3. You can connect to the speaker using Bluetooth or NFC. The NFC option offers an easy connection to NFC-compatible smartphones with only one touch. Although the HT-S20R has a Bluetooth connection option, the NFC connection option is absent.
The unit’s USB port also enables users to enjoy music directly from their phones and USB sticks. Another upside of the USB port is that you can use it to charge your phone.
The Sony HT-RT3 also supports HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), allowing users to connect to a television through only one cable. Even if your TV does not support HDMI ARC, you can use the optical input option to enjoy the best sound quality for movies and games. The unit comes with remote control for easy switching between modes and general speaker control.
The Sony HT-S20R is a more recent speaker. It was launched in January 2020. Like the HT-RT3, it is a 5.1ch speaker that includes rear speakers, a 3ch soundbar, and a subwoofer. The HT-S20R puts you at the heart of the action. You don’t just watch the movies; you live and breathe them.
Appearance and Setting Up
There is little to separate the HT-S20R and the HT-RT3 in terms of appearance and ease of setting up. All the components of the HT-S20R also come in a solid black color. Like the HT-RT3, the subwoofer, which acts as the central unit, comes with a mini-screen that displays essential system information.
Setting up the HT-S20R is not rocket science. All you need is to understand the color-coding. Connect the cables to the soundbar, subwoofer, and rear speakers, and you are good to go.
Power and Subwoofer
The Sony HT-S20R has a total power output of 400 watts, meaning it falls short of the HT-RT3 in this regard. However, the lower power output does not diminish the speaker’s sound quality – it gives every movie a thrilling soundscape. The HT-S20R’s subwoofer is also 15 inches tall.
The Sony HT-S20R excels in terms of the number of sound modes available. Four distinct sound modes are available, each offering a unique listening experience. They are cinema mode, music mode, voice mode, and night mode. With the cinema mode, you get an immersive movie experience as the sound resonates and pulls you into the movie experience. The music mode amplifies all the fine details of your favorite songs, while the voice mode is ideal for listening to the news because it accentuates speech for better clarity. The night mode is suitable for movie nights so that even at low volumes, you are still able to hear everything clearly.
Connectivity and Control
There are different ways of connecting to the HT-S20R. It offers Bluetooth connectivity that allows users to easily stream music from their smartphones. The USB port on the subwoofer also makes it possible to connect a USB dongle to enjoy music. Alternatively, you can also connect a smartphone to the unit via the USB port using a cable.
Like the HT-RT3, you can connect the unit to a TV via HDMI ARC or optical input. However, the HT-S20R goes one better by offering an additional option of connecting via analog input.
Users can control the sound system with the lightweight remote control included. Considering the multiple sound modes available, it is only fair for the system to have a remote control.
Speakers, especially surround sound systems, are so important in today’s world to enjoy various programs available in the entertainment industry. As a key player in the electronics and entertainment industry, Sony understands the ever-growing needs of consumers and has met these needs with sound systems like the two ones reviewed.
The Sony HT-S20R and HT-RT3 have their similarities and differences. For instance, they both support Dolby Digital and have Bluetooth connectivity options. However, HT-RT3 goes one better because it supports connection via NFC.
With all the features and specifications analyzed, the Sony HT-RT3 slightly edges out the Sony HT-S20R. This verdict does not imply that the HT-S20R is a poorly made speaker; instead, it recognizes the better features available in the HT-RT3.
While the HT-S20R offers more versatility with multiple sound modes, the HT-RT3 has more raw power than the HT-S20R. If you need greater power output to enjoy your movies and music, the Sony HT-RT3 should be your first choice. However, for slightly lower bass that would not affect your concentration on programs like games, news, and sports, Sony HT-S20R is an excellent option.