I been living with the stand for a little over a week so I thought it was time to post a review. It’s an all in one A/V Amp and stand with 7 speakers built in which are configured to create a full surround sound field.
Starting with delivery – be prepared – it comes fully assembled in one box. This is very heavy (59 kilos) and very large – the box is about 50% bigger than the unit. Aside from putting the glass top on and setting the height for the adjustable shelf – it is ready to go, right out of the box.
First stop is the manual and it’s here you find the biggest disappointment – The specifications for the RHT-G800 given by Sony are:
“Coax Digital In X 1, Composite In Audio/Video X 1, Opt Digital In X 3, HDMI In X 2 and HDMI Out X 1”
So that’s 7 Sources and 1 Output – isn’t it?
WRONG!. There are only 4 input sources, e.g. the “SAT” source uses 3 inputs, 1 X COAX, 1 X OPT and 1 X HDMI. Also one of these four sources in analogue only. This presented my first headache – I have 4 digital audio sources – XBOX360, Sky Satellite, DVD player and AppleTV.I had to sacrifice digital input from one of those devices – I chose the Apple TV, mainly because I don’t have any content with multi-channel sound – YET.
After quite a bit of careful planning, I ended up connected as follows:
??? XBOX360 – Component Video connected to the TV, audio connected to the “TV” Optical Digital input of the stand.
??? SKY+ Box – RGB SCART video connection to the AV1 SCART of the TV, audio connected to the “SAT” Optical Digital input of the stand
??? LG DVD Player – HDMI to the “DVD/BD” input of the stand.
??? Apple TV – HDMI2 input of the TV
??? Sony VCR – Composite SCART connected to the AV2 SCART of the TV
??? Stand HDMI OUT to HMDI1 of the TV
??? Panasonic TV Analogue Audio Out to stand “AUDIO” Analogue Input.
This means that ALL sources can output from the stand including the TV tuner and the VCR, The labels on the stand cannot be changed so I am left with a minor anomaly that the TV tuner and VCR use the input marked “AUX” and the XBOX360 uses the input marked “TV”
With everything connected, it was time to tackle the usual headache of moving it into position without any of the cables coming loose, whilst also trying to keep things looking as tidy as possible. Given the unladen weight of the stand I was anticipating quite a struggle here, but that was not the case. The stand has four, round, steel legs, about 6 cm in diameter; These glide almost effortlessly over my carpet. There is a recess underneath the rear bottom shelf and this provides a natural home for any slack cable and power strips.
There is very little to configure on the stand – you cannot adjust the sound field, other than to apply a couple of effects and to adjust the volume of the sub woofer and centre speaker. There is also night mode or “Audio RDC” for playing movies etc at lower volumes.A/V Sync adjustment is also available for digital input if the sound and picture are out of sync – I have not found it necessary to use this.The remote is very large and most of the buttons are for controlling components other than the stand, e.g. dvd player etc. It can be programmed for various manufacturers equipment and I have successfully set it up to control my Panasonic TV – I have not tried the other components as a don’t intend to use the Sony remote after I have programmed my Logitech Harmony remote. There are apparently some benefits if you use all Sony components, and if they support Sony Theatre Sync,
So that just leaves the big question – how does it sound?
Well to my ear, very good – the sound is rich and the subwoofer gives it the punch that is missing from the TV’s built in speakers. The 6.1 virtual surround is effective – it’s not quite as obvious as with my previous 5.1 setup where I had real (rather than virtual) rear speakers – but that is almost certainly because I used to have the rear levels too high to exaggerate the effect.
Overall – what’s the score?
I had a very specific reason for choosing an all-in-one solution. I previously had a Sony A/V receiver connected to 5 speakers + a sub woofer – however, I live in a fairly small flat and I could never really take full advantage of what it offered. The room has a lot of furniture, which affects the quality of the sound and also, out of consideration to the neighbours, I rarely turned the sub woofer on. Despite this I had still sacrificed a lot of space to the speakers and stand for the amplifier. Over the years, technology has moved on and I needed an upgrade to support HD inputs amongst other things. This time I decided on a compromise that reflects the reality of how it would be used. There aren’t many all-in-one solutions on the market, so it didn’t take long to narrow this list down to the Sony RHT-G800. After my little “Technology Refresh” I have halved the footprint of my A/V equipment without, to my ear, sacrificing any of the sound quality – I am very happy with the choice.
How could it be improved?
Well, firstly the Sony website should make it very clear that you can only have four sources, and second, well four is not enough!The ability to change the labels on the inputs would also be nice
8/10 (would have been higher if it was not for the misleading specs).