Monday, November 1, 2021

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer: Detailed Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Sound
Features
Value for Money
The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt 2.1 channel soundbar with external wireless subwoofer delivers well balanced sound through HDMI ARC and Dolby Audio. It is a great Soundbar for both movies and music.

Verdict

The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar for around Rs. 11,000 will allow you to enjoy Dolby Audio through HDMI ARC but do not expect full surround experience from this 2.1 setup. Its external wireless 60 Watt subwoofer is easy to place and adds extra punch to bass. The Soundbar’s four speakers are sufficient to cover a mid sized room. The Soundbar has Optical, USB, Aux. and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity as well. All in all, this is great for both movies and music.

  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Loud with balanced bass and treble sound
  • Bass and treble can be adjusted separately
  • Large display visible across room

  • Sound loses clarity if bass gain is increased
  • Not many cons

Introduction

The Motorola MT160DSB is a 160 Watt 2.1 channel soundbar with wireless external subwoofer from Motorola Mobility LLC.

The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar was launched in June 2020 with an MRP of Rs. 24,999 and sells online for around Rs. 10,999. The units are made-in-China and are imported by Motorola Mobility.

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

Who Should Buy Motorola MT160DSB

You should buy the Motorola MT160DSB Soundbar if-

  • Your wish to spend around Rs. 11,000 on a Dolby soundbar with HDMI ARC and Bluetooth
  • You prefer a wireless subwoofer to avoid complex installations

What Is In The Box

  • Soundbar (1)
  • Subwoofer (1)
  • Remote (1)
  • Optical Cable (1)
  • RCA TV Cable (dual male RCA to 3.5mm male) (1)
  • Wall Mount Kit having screws (2) and wall fixes (2)
  • Wall Mounting Bracket (2)
  • Power Cable (2)
  • User Manual (1)

No HDMI cable has been provided. Batteries for remote are not included.

Key Features and First Looks

The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar comes in an L-shaped rectangular packaging. The components are also packed securely inside with sufficient packaging material.

The Motorola MT160DSB Soundbar is made-in-China and imported by Motorola Mobility India.

This Soundbar does not have FM like the Motorola MT150-HT51 5.1 channel soundbar.

Soundbar

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

The soundbar unit of Motorola MT160DSB is made of ABS plastic with glossy black top and black metal mesh grille. The Motorola batwing black & white logo is placed at the front left of the Soundbar. 

A large LED console is placed centrally behind the metal mesh grille.

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

The soundbar unit has 4 round buttons on the right side for POWER, SOURCE, VOLUME+ and VOLUME.  

The left side of the Soundbar is bare.

The rear has all the inputs for 3.5mm LINE, USB, HDMI ARC and OPTICAL. 

There is an AC in for powering up the soundbar.

The soundbar is 89 cm long and can fit comfortably under your TV.

Two long rubber pads at the bottom allow for slip-free placement on table tops.

Wireless Subwoofer

The 60 Watt RMS vertical type subwoofer is made of MDF and has a 6.5 inch driver on the right side with one large air vent port at the front. Motorola logo adorns the front. 

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Sondbar

This is a wireless subwoofer which connects with the soundbar unit using Bluetooth 4.2 technology. This allows for flexible placement of the subwoofer. 

At the rear is a single AC power socket for powering the subwoofer. A PAIR button has been provided to pair the subwoofer with the soundbar. An orange colored LED lights up once the subwoofer is paired. There are no controls or buttons on the subwoofer.

Installation and Wiring

You can keep the soundbar on the TV unit. Two rubber feet allow for slip-free placement on table-tops.  

Alternatively you can hang it on the wall below the TV using mounting brackets provided. 

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

Connecting the Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar is easier as compared to other wired soundbars.

Step 1a: Connect to TV with HDMI ARC (or HDMI): using a high speed HDMI cable, connect the HDMI ARC OUT of TV to the HDMI ARC IN at the back of the Soundbar. If all components have HDMI ARC, you can play multi-channel audio content.

Step 1b: Connect to TV without HDMI: Using 3.5mm AUX cable (provided) or OPTICAL cable (provided), connect the Soundbar to the respective 3.5mm OUT or OPTICAL OUT of the TV. 

Choose the appropriate source using the SOURCE button on the remote or Soundbar button.

Step 2: Connect AC power sockets of the Soundbar and the Subwoofer with wall power socket using two AC power cables (provided).

The Soundbar is all set to play your favorite music or movie.

Review

Connectivity Options

The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar has HDMI ARC input for multi-channel audio. The Soundbar also has Bluetooth 4.2, OPTICAL IN, 3.5 mm Stereo IN and USB IN.

Bluetooth

The Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar has Bluetooth 4.2, which is no way inferior to Bluetooth 5.0 for delivering good audio quality. Do not reject this soundbar just because it has Bluetooth 4.2.

To connect through Bluetooth, you can either press the SOURCE button at the side of the Soundbar or use the SOURCE button on the remote. 

The Playback buttons on the remote can be used to browse soundtracks, play-pause, forward-reverse and choose the next-previous track. 

The Bluetooth connection is fairly straightforward and gives nearly 10 meter range. The audio quality is also good over Bluetooth.

Remote

The IR remote is handy with a neat button layout. It has a SOURCE button for selecting desired connectivity options. 

Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

3 preset EQ buttons have been provided for MUSIC, NEWS and MOVIE.

For USB playback, track FORWARD, REVERSE, PLAY & PAUSE buttons have been provided in a round dial centre button layout. 

VOLUME+/- buttons have been placed on the round dial centre button layout. A handy MUTE button has been given.

The buttons are not that great and feel plasticy.

Sound

Audio level and clarity through HDMI is much better and louder as compared to AUX, Bluetooth and Optical. 

Sound level can from 0 to 31 after which V-Max is displayed. 

Bass and treble gain upto 5 levels can be set. 

The Soundbar is Dolby Audio enabled but does not support DTS. 

One observation is that as bass level is adjusted upwards, the bass gets very boomy and the soundbar loses clarity. Vocals and instrument frequencies are all clipped at the cost of bass. So it is best to set the bass gain to 0 level.

Sound: Music

The Soundbar plays all kinds of music very well, be it pop, rock, classical or Bollywood. The bass and treble is very well balanced at normal listening level and at zero bass & treble gain. 

In bluetooth mode you can play/pause and change tracks.

Bass: Bass is delivered through a single 6.5 inch side firing driver. Low frequencies (bass) is not audible till volume level reaches half-way. As volume increases, bass is able to cover a mid sized room. The bass frequencies however do not go very low. As per mentioned specs also, the lowest deliverable frequency is 120 Hz. I would say the company is being realistic here and not quoting specs that are beyond the Soundbar’s capabilities. At higher volumes, if bass gain is increased, the subwoofer starts to vibrate and loses clarity. 

Stereo soundstage is better as compared to other soundbars in the same price range.

Stereo sound dynamics is also good. The soundbar can play at loud volumes and is sufficient to fill a small to mid sized room. You can tweak the bass and treble levels as per your preference.

The frequency response of the Soundbar becomes better as the volume increases. The issue is, at low volume the bass response cannot be heard. Bass kicks in quite late but becomes better at higher volume. The treble or high frequencies play well at all volume levels.

Sound: Movies

For enjoying movies, the MOVIE EQ preset can be selected through the remote. The Dynamic Range Control (DRC) on the Soundbar is better as compared to cheaper Soundbars.

Soundbars are meant for movies more than music and this Soundbar is no exception. The movie experience is better than the music experience. 

That said, the soundbar delivers an excellent movie sound experience. The dialogues are clear even over noisy action scenes owing to good Dynamic Range Control (DRC).

The subwoofer delivers balanced sound and does not overpower other frequencies. Crank up the volume to enjoy the bangs and crashes in action scenes. The bass get pretty loud when required. 

The Soundbar is Dolby enabled which increases the overall audio experience. HDMI ARC allows for multi-channel audio but you will not be able to enjoy surround because this is only a 2.1 channel Soundbar. The multichannel Dolby audio is downmixed and delivered through 2.1 channels only. It also does not have surround sound processing technologies of Sony’s Soundbars like the Sony HT-X8500 Dolby Atmos Soundbar.

All in all, at this price range, the Soundbar delivers excellent movie experience.

Sound: Daily Usage

For other uses, NEWS EQ mode can be selected to get enhanced vocal experience. Overall, the Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar is a clear enhancement over your TV speakers.

The LED display is large with large characters making it visible from a distance also

HDMI CEC allows you to control the Soundbar volume using your TV remote. You may have to enable CEC of your TV.

Check out how it performs against its competitors, the Xiaomi Mi Soundbar and the Creative Stage V2 Soundbar.

Specifications of Motorola MT160DSB 160 Watt Soundbar

FeaturesSpecifications
No. of SpeakersSoundbar: 4 speakers
Subwoofer: 1 speaker
Speaker Power OutputTotal: 160 W RMS
Soundbar: 100 Watt
Subwoofer: 60 Watt
Driver SizeSoundbar: 3.00 inch (7.62 cm)* 4 drivers
Subwoofer: 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) * 1 driver
SizeSoundbar (L x D x H): 890 mm x 83 mm x 60 mm
Subwoofer (L x D x H): 170 mm x 313 mm x 344 mm
SubwooferYes, External Wireless
Frequency Response120 Hz – 20,000 Hz
Input PortHDMI ARC, OPTICAL, USB, 3.5mm AUX
BluetoothYes, v 4.2
FMNo

About Motorola Mobility

Motorola, a company founded in 1928 in the US and was a pioneer in many telecommunication technologies. In 2011 it was split into 2 companies – Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Mobility was sold to Google in 2012 and was acquired by the Chinese company Lenovo in 2014. 

Motorola Mobility is currently offering mobiles, home appliances, personal mobility accessories and home theatre products. All the consumer products from mobiles to soundbars are being sold by Lenovo owned Motorola Mobility.

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