The sound-synch problems that I wrote about in mid February were apparently not the fault of my Samsung 60-inch plasma nor the Oppo Bluray. It was the apparent fault of my dusty old Samsung sound bar, which I bought at a Westwood Radio Shack four or five years ago. So I went down to Best Buy and inquired about a similarly-priced (maybe a slightly higher priced) sound bar, and a sales guy from their Magnolia Home Theatre section sold me on a Sony HT-CT180 Sound Bar System, for which I paid $240 including tax.

After bringing it home I paid a freelance guy to install it (I wanted to be 110% sure that it would work and sound perfectly as I’m a genius at fucking things up when I do it myself) and guess what? It’s a moderately sucky system and not worth the coin.

The Sony HT-CT180 has decent treble levels with moderately effective bass but it doesn’t have half the sound power of the now-junked Radio Shack Samsung sound bar, which cost around $175 and change. No balls in terms of volume. You have to turn the Sony up all the way to level 50 to achieve sound levels that the old Samsung delivered when it was cranked between halfway and two-thirds.

This is all my fault. I was too lazy and impatient to do the research. And so now I have to lug the Sony HT-CT180 back to Best Buy and give the Magnolia sales guy shit for selling me a weak-ass system (just for the fun of it — the guy who really deserves to get reamed out is me) and demand a better one. Or just get a refund.

I won’t pay big money ($400 or $500 plus) for a sound-bar system. I don’t need tremendous blasting power. It’s not like I live inside a cavernous McMansion with a 55-foot-tall ceiling in the living room. I’m a budget guy. I just need a device as good as the nickle-and-dime Samsung that I bought in 2011 or thereabouts.

Okay, I’ll go a little higher than $240. On one hand I’m thinking of trying the Sony HT-CT260; on the other hand I’m thinking I shouldn’t even look at a Sony device again. My gut instinct is to buy another Samsung. It had balls five years ago — maybe it still does. Maybe I’ll go out to Fry’s and buy the Samsung HW-J55 sound bar system (2.1 Channel, 320W RMS, Wireless, Black).

Before this happened I knew it was easy to throw my money away at Best Buy or Fry’s. I knew that if I was lazy and impressionable enough that some conniving salesperson would sell me anything he/she could, regardless of quality. Now I’ve re-learned that lesson all over again. All you have to do is let your guard down just a little bit, and some dickhead will rush right in and take advantage.

Customer review #1 (i.e., Drake Mortensen) of Sony HT-CT180, posted on Amazon page on 12.22.15:

“I previously said in a review that I had had this for 2 weeks before it broke, however I was mistaken since I can still use the Bluetooth and it sounds fine. The crackling and popping is in fact coming from my Vizio TV, even through the speakers, leading me to believe there’s a bad part in there. The only thing I don’t really like about these speakers is that they don’t go as loud as I’d like, but they’ll do for any movie, I just also use this for music because it sounds great and the Bluetooth works great and is convenient. However I don’t think it’s worth the price it is on here, I picked mine up at a Target for $135, and I think it was a great deal.”

Customer review #2 (i.e., Sue):

“Horrible. Bass was barely noticeable. No volume. Could not hear speaking in movies then music was too loud.”