Many consumers believe that an affordable product equals an inferior one. While that may be true in most cases, it is not in the case of the TCL Alto 5. If you are worried about the sound quality and how it will impact your experience, our experts have conducted a TCL Alto 5 review to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
TCL Alto 5 Design
The TCL Alto 5 is the perfect soundbar for minimalists. You will see nothing on the smooth surface except the logo in silver on the grille and a basic controller panel that is straightforward and simple to use.
The 2.0 channel soundbar can be placed on the wall with a wall mount and is lightweight enough to move around easily. The Alto 5 soundbar is an excellent choice for users without much space to spare as it does not come with an external subwoofer. The Alto 5+ has a small accompanying sub that will give you the stereo effect you crave.
At 31 inches, the Alto 5 fits TVs with the same length or larger. It has a good build quality and has a high gloss finish on the surface for a luxurious feel. All the connection ports on the back of the soundar and can run along the wall to your TV.
The 2.0 soundbar has dual drivers located on the left and right and are designed to enhance the sound from your regular TV speakers into improved stereo sound. The 5 comes with everything you need including everything to wall mount the soundbar.
Features of the TCL Alto 5
TCL Alto 5 Sound Quality
The sound delivered by the Alto 5 is steady and clear with no distortion at max volume, as our experts have discovered in our TCL Alto 5 review. This is achieved by plenty of research and the careful design of many sound experts to create this specially-tuned soundbar. Your movies and music will never be the same again even without a sub.
You may be skeptical about the bass levels the Alto 5 is capable of without an external sub. However, the deep bass ports within the soundbar offer optimal bass performance to heighten the low frequency sounds. The TCL Alto 5 will give other 2.0 sound bars a run for their money with a max 89.9 decibels (dB) of sheer power.
The frequency response is between 70 Hz to 20 kHz. This means the Alto 5 can deliver very balanced sound for the price even without Dolby Digital or DTS technology. One of the best parts about the Alto 5 is its vocal relay capability.
When tested with different genres of movies, our team found the sound spectrum from the soundbar to be more than acceptable. In terms of music, while it won’t produce thumping bass like 5.1 or above soundbars, it still delivers well-balanced audio. Yet, if you really want heavy bass, your Alto 5 is compatible with other powerful subs including Polk PSW108 and PSW10.
Sound Enhancement Features
Unfortunately, the Alto 5 does not have Dolby Digital or Atmos technology or any other advanced audio technologies. A product is more than just surround sound capabilities, but sound enhancement features can play a great part in providing improved sound from regular speakers.
The Alto 5 delivers an astounding performance for a 2.0 channel soundbar. You don’t need the Alto 7 to experience max volume with no distortion. The left and right speakers of the 5 do more than just produce sound, but they also have dialogue enhancement features to clarify speech.
If you have ever felt the pains of inaudible conversations onscreen without pumping up the volume, you will love the dialogue enhancement feature. The other audio modes that you can find on the 5 are movie and music. They are meant to elevate the quality of sound in your favorite movie and music content.
One thing our team did find surprising was the lack of a standard sound mode. This is not a big deal since it just means you will always be enjoying some sort of audio enhancement. Our experts suggest utilizing the dialogue mode as the standard mode.
Supported Audio Formats
Unfortunately, compared to the Alto 7 Plus, the 5 is more lacking in supported audio formats. The Alto 7 Plus at least has Dolby Digital decoding, but the 5 does not.
However, your device can still support balanced audios without advanced technologies and adjustment features. The specially-tuned soundbar also has an EQ balancer, which is essentially just the dialogue mode.
The EQ allows users to adjust the individual frequencies and boost it. If you only have 60 Hz, the EQ feature will get you more than that and access to a higher frequency response.
TCL Alto 5 Subwoofer
As previously mentioned, the TCL Alto 5 does not have a subwoofer, but the 5+ does. Some soundbars like the plus models have a wireless subwoofer to create more thunderous bass. Our team will admit that the lack of a subwoofer would impact the bass experience, but that isn’t enough reason to write off the TCL Alto 5 just yet.
It is a soundbar capable of producing very balanced audios and this includes the lower frequency spectrum. If you want heavy low tones, our team suggests looking into the Alto 5+.
The Alto 5 soundbar has both wired and wireless connections. Most top-rated soundbars you find on the market will have both. Some even offer wireless connections through Wi-Fi.
For a better, stronger and more stable connection, our experts suggest sticking to wired connections, unless you want a seamless setup with no cables or have an intent to stream content from mobile devices via Bluetooth.
For wired connections, the Alto 5 would support optical audio input and an analog 3.5 mm audio cable connection. 3.5 mm is similar to a headphone jack and doesn’t support digital content. This is why our experts suggest opting for the optical input.
One glaring con that the Alto 5 has is the lack of HDMI . HDMI, or high definition multimedia interface, will relay the best quality sound and visuals. HDMI is also separated into different tiers with eARC, HDMI ARC and CEC to name a few. HDMI is always our experts’ top choice for connectivity, but without access to it, digital optical is the next best choice.
The difference between HDMI Arc port and regular HDMI is the former can send and receive signals while the latter can only receive. The HDMI ARC port can be found on the back of the devices.
Optical connections can still support Dolby and DTS formats that are often present in movies and music we enjoy. Analog options do not produce the best stereo sound and can sometimes do little to improve the standard and is comparable to regular TV speakers.
As for wireless connectivity, we have Bluetooth. This connection provides great value to your product. This is because it gives you the flexibility to stream good content from your tablet, phone and other mobile devices. You will be able to enjoy clearer stereo sound with the help of the bar at max volume.
For better connection, our expert team suggests keeping your Bluetooth enabled mobile device as close to the bar as possible. This will ensure a more stable connection and a better sound output from the speakers.
TCL Alto 5 Control
The TCL Alto 5 can be controlled in two different ways — remote control and the adjustment panel. The controller is included with your products and gives you access to a power button, connectivity, sound modes, connection and volume levels. With this tiny add-on, you get full control over your bar.
The bar is compatible with your TV remote as well and it’s simple and straightforward to use. If you do happen to lose the remote, your bar can also be controlled with the panel on the interface.
The panel is also simple to use with clear icon displays signifying the function of each button. There are the volume buttons, power button, and more with indicator lights to show you the settings.
The bass is not adjustable but you can have quick access to the speaker modes via the remote for the full spectrum of acoustic effects. Enjoy your favorite movies and music with no hassle.
The Alto 5 and Alto 7 are both single soundbars that are very convenient to set up. Your 5 will come with the wall mounting kit in case you want to place it on the wall and each cable necessary for connection, including the optical cable. We have seen many reviews for products that do not come with the mounting kit and users find themselves inconvenienced.
The overall process of hooking up the Alto 5 will not take more than a few minutes without requiring much adjustment. All you need to do is to locate the corresponding ports on the back of both devices to get better sound almost instantly.
If you purchase the Alto 5+, you will need to make sure the sub automatically pairs with the soundbar. The process is simple and it is done without any effort on your part.
TCL Alto 5 Price
The Alto 5 bar comes at a very affordable price. Many will wonder if you really get better stereo acoustics and if the performance can measure up to other 2.0 soundbars.
Our experts say the lack of a sub in the 5 does have an effect on the pricing and the performance, but they are overall pleased with what you get. If you want the deep bass relays, then the 5+ has a subwoofer that can more than meet your needs.
Is TCL sound bar good?
Yes, TCL sound bar is good. It depends on which one you want to get, but TCL is a reliable brand and consistently earns high reviews. Naturally, the soundbars with more channels will perform better, as will ones with advanced technologies embedded inside.
How do I connect my TCL soundbar to my TV?
You can connect your TCL soundbar to your TV with wired or wire-free connectivity. Digital connections are always recommended above analog choices and wire-free connection can come in the form of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
TCL Alto 5 Review Conclusion
After completing the TCL Alto 5 review, the soundbar made an overall above average impression on our team. While the 5 does lack a subwoofer, the 5+ is an alternative option that comes with one. The 5 can still perform well with minimals channels — 2 channels are the most basic for a soundbar — and the Alto 5 still creates a pleasant experience.
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