Have you spent so much time at home watching TV and movies that you’ve realized your TV’s built-in speakers just can’t cut it? You’re not alone. A sound bar is pretty much mandatory, if you want decent sound from a TV.
TCL Alto 6+ sound bar & subwoofer review
After recently testing and reviewing the TCL 6-Series TV, I was able to add a TCL sound bar to my set up. The TCL Alto 6+ is a Roku-ready sound bar and subwoofer that is made to work seamlessly with TCL’s Roku TVs. In this review I’ll tell you about its key features, set up, and what the sound quality is like, plus how it integrates with the TV.
What’s in the box?
In the package you’ve got lots of bits: the sound bar and sub of course, but also two options for connections and cords: an HDMI and an optical digital audio cable.
But there’s also hook ups so you can use your own 3.5mm aux/audio, or USB inputs too for easy, wired connections to your TV, satellite box, and more.
Setting up TCL Alto 6+ sound bar and subwoofer
There’s a small basic remote control with this sound bar with controls for power, play/pause/skip, Bluetooth pairing mode and three sound modes (more on that in a sec) There’s also a wall mount kit, which a lot of other sound bars make you pay extra for. So that’s a nice touch.
Even so, there’s not a lot of bells, whistles and settings on this sound bar to worry about. It’s pretty much plug, play and listen.
Getting this sound bar set up was thankfully really simple; just plug it in, connect the HDMI cable to the bar and the TV, then connect the subwoofer. The Sub should pair to the sound bar on its own, as mine did.
If you are using it with a TCL Roku TV, as I am, you can also use the TV’s remote to control the sound bar. The connection happens pretty much automatically so there’s nothing for you to do.
Overall, the entire set up process is easy and fast.
TCL Alto 6+ sound bar and subwoofer: Key features
The Alto 6+ has support for Dolby Digital Audio, so if you’re watching video and content that’s made using this technology, you should hear more “cinematic sound”.
Music streaming & Bluetooth pairing
The Alto 6+ is also a convenient music speaker. You can use Bluetooth to stream music and podcasts from apps like Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and more, wirelessly from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
You can stream music from your mobile device via Bluetooth. Just tap the Bluetooth button on the remote and connect your phone or device by going to your phone’s Bluetooth settings menu then choosing TCL Alto 6+.
What do special sound modes do on Alto 6+?
The TCL Alto 6+ has three specialized Sound Modes designed to quickly adjust your home theatre audio to different types of programming you might be watching.
The modes are: Movie, Music and TV. TCL doesn’t tell you what you’re supposed to be getting from each of these modes, or what it adjusts or does differently. Slipping between the modes there’s not really any discernible difference to my ears. With some presets you’ll notice a shift to the higher or lower end, but with this bar, there’s nothing I can hear that truly differentiates these modes.
Sound quality on TCL Alto 6+
The sound quality on this sound bar is good, but it’s not outstanding. This is definitely an entry level sound bar.
I’d say that overall it’s a bit thin, with a narrower soundstage. While the Alto 6+ does a good job at boosting the audio and improving what comes from the TVs built in speakers, it’s not doing too much more than amplifying it.
Voices do come across better and are quite clear, but a lot of the intricacies of sound just aren’t there. Similarly, overall music listening is louder but the soundstage is narrow, and it’s really easy to hear that it’s coming solely from the soundbar; there’s no push that makes it feel that it’s filling the room.
The bass is also a bit on the wimpy side. There’s no floor-shaking rumble and not a lot of thump either.
Overall, this soundbar can go a long way to helping you get better and louder sound from your TV, but it’s not adding another dimension to the experience.
Voice assistant control: Use Alexa with TCL Alto 6+
You can activate a smart digital assistant within this sound bar. I enabled Alexa so that I could get smart home control and music streaming using voice control with my sound bar. Alexa is handy, but on the soundbar she sounds really oddly hollow and tinny.
Unlike some other bars or speakers, there’s no associated visuals that come up on the screen, despite the fact this sound bar and TCL 6-Series TV are kind of joined at the hip.
Overall review: TCL Alto 6+ sound bar and subwoofer
Overall, if you’re on a budget, but you want better sound than what your flatscreen TV is able to put out, the TCL Alto sound bar and subwoofer combo is a great choice. It’s easy to set up and use, it’s uncomplicated and comes with lots of options for connecting and wall mounting.
I want to be clear here, I’m actually not bashing this bar. I just want you to understand what you’re getting for the really affordable price. For what it is, it does a good job and what it is, is a simple, basic soundbar that will let you get better overall sound and output from your TV.
The TCL Alto 6+ is definitely an entry level sound bar, though it’s convenient and capable, but those looking for more depth, resonance and bass on their sound bar will want to keep looking. If it feels like features are missing, that’s because they are, but if you want more power, more bass and more settings and more depth of sound or intricacies, you can get those, albeit in a pricier bar.
The TCL Alto 6+ sound bar sells for $179CAD with the subwoofer, but is also available with sound bar only for $109.
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I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.