The Sony MUTEKI may not be hi-fi, but for sheer bang-for-buck it's a solid first choice for budding home theatre enthusiasts and party-goers.

CNET Rating
User Rating

View more from Sony »

About The Author

CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

We see a string of product names every day at towers -- and some are more tongue twisting than others. Japanese brands are usually the biggest culprits, and Sony names in particular are pretty incomprehensible. And sometimes the names can just be plain silly -- Pioneer, for example, with its receiver named ASS.

This is why we were surprised to see a Sony product with one main name, the MUTEKI. But of course the company couldn't help itself in the end and added a string of letters and numbers after that. It's also known as the HTDDW1600, combining the STRK1600 receiver and the SSCRP1600 speaker set. MU.TE.KI. means "invincible, without rival" in Japanese and it's easy to get that first impression.

The thing that immediately strikes you about this system -- even before it's set up -- is how large the packaging is! The MUTEKI comes in two large containers the size of plasma televisions -- but we suppose this is to be expected of a system that offers full-size towers and, count 'em, two subwoofers. We don't see 6.2 systems taking off in anywhere but the largest, dedicated home theatre set-ups, but here it's a decent gimmick. It certainly gets your attention.

As you'd expect from a system at such a low price, the quality of the speakers isn't as good as stand-alone units -- there's a certain amount of plastic and particle board -- but they're certainly well-built. The woofers have grills -- which may help deter young fingers -- and the front of the speaker is finished in popular piano black. It's certainly not an unattractive set of speakers.

The STRK1600 receiver appears to be a renamed STRDG510S (AU$599) and comes in silver only. It's as sturdy as you'd expect a Sony receiver to be.

The included remote is standard Sony fare -- a grey oblong which can control other Sony components as well. But it's not a learning model though.

You won't see many other systems that offer so much for this price. At AU$1,299 it's got several unique features including HDMI inputs, MP3 player connectivity and a "disco lights" option.

For that "party atmosphere", the MUTEKI includes a D-Light output which enables you to attach a compatible light device which flashes in time to the music. Late onset epilepsy anyone?

But of course at this price, the Sony also comes with the inevitable compromises. For instance, it's billed as a home theatre in a box, but the obvious thing it lacks is a DVD player. However, for around a hundred dollars more, Sony has a perfectly acceptable player, the DVPNS57PB, which will suit the system quite well. Also, there's no onscreen display (OSD) for the receiver -- which makes set-up a little harder.

The other letdown is that the amp will only act as an HDMI switcher, not a decoder, and the manual doesn't mention this at all -- it only goes as far to say that it may not decode audio from "certain components". Only a sticker on the box and the amp tells you this -- it may actually work in regions other than Australia.

Also, to utilise the Digital Media port you'll need to purchase an extra dock -- the Walkman model is available for AU$150 but the iPod dock is a stiff drink at AU$250.

With this imposing set in your house the only thing to do is turn it on. And the results are far from unpleasant.

Watch King Kong -- after connecting a digital coaxial cable of course -- and the results are good. The surrounds are smaller than the fronts but are able to give a decent amount of ambience during the island scenes.

Fed through an audio signal from the Marantz SR7001 DVD player, Nick Cave initially sounded a bit muffled. Quickly switching to Music mode made the sound noticeably more upfront, and stereo focus was good for the price -- unlike the Sony SAVS300H 6.1/7.1 speakers we saw recently.

But it's parties that this system was built for, and pumping some Pendulum through it in our test labs had the office complaining way before the speakers or the two large subs gave in.

Unlike other HTIB solutions the MUTEKI offers the user some flexibility. As it's essentially a speaker set combined with an amp it offers a decent upgrade path for the future. The amp should be able to tolerate much better speakers.

Hi-fi? Not a chance. But a good first choice for budding home theatre enthusiasts and party-goers? Definitely.

Previous Story

LG LH-RH9695IA Home Theatre

Home Cinema
Next Story

Sony RHTG800

Add Your Review 28

* Below fields optional

Post comment as

manyaminiman posted a review   

The Good:good/powerfull sound across the whole spectrum

The Bad:not hi-fi(cant complain though)

i have the newer model -same speakers with slightly different cosmetic look-black receiver replaces old one with hdmi digital decoding-good base from the two 10 inch subs -driven by a seperate amp -total of 1695 watts and thats RMS!-note though in music mode its only 400 watts (stereo) 100*2 in the floor standers and the same into the subs -all up brilliant value for money- even does fine not turned up as my place is small !


Sherminator posted a review   

Great buy....I have taken Home Entertainment to the next level....


Adhyaru posted a review   

The Good:Price & Claims

The Bad:Everything else

I should have rather got Roland stereo monitors for this price! Those 2 produce better sound ambiance & true fidelity sound reproduction! This one sucks, honestly!! Get it if you are getting it for FREE!


123 posted a comment   

i wonder when CNET is going to do a review on the htddw7000


boozer20 posted a review   

The Good:sounds incredible if you tuned it right
looks awesome

The Bad:nothing have in mind

it is really a MU TE KI!, i am very much satisfied with it, hdmi issue?, doesn't matter... toslink do the tricks.


abinav posted a review   

i found less -ve comments and more +ve comments..i'm confused.
im so not satisfied with my bose companion 6 ht system...sucky base..
so can i upgrde from bose to this beast..moreover my room is a little big[30ft by 15ft]


Jason posted a review   

The Good:Zippy performance.
Simple interface.
Excellent GUI.
Full-size subwoofer.

The Bad:Ordinary remote.

I bought this gem introduced by sony. I use HTDDW1600 on sony dvd players. Its sound quality is great. Tip for MUTEKI is when you purchase this you also need huge quantity of audio cables. Any how this home theater is same and no any special difference between others.


Dave28 posted a review   

I ordered one of these yesterday. Got a call from the dealer today. There is a new updated receiver now coming woth this system. It is now able to decode the audio through HDMI (now a repeater, not a switcher) which is great. And I was told that the receiver is now available in black. The speaker pack is still the same. Will post a review when I receive it. Should arrive in June.


slobbythegreat posted a review   

The Good:the look is awesome, looks intimidating and the 2 subs are awesome yes people say you only need one sub but having sex with one chick is good but u know 2 is always going to be better!

The Bad:if you dont know what ur doing with cables and the like its not straight forward, the no decoding of HDMI is a bit of a downer but you still get digital surround sound if you use fibre opitc, just deal with the clutter. i think the satellite's at the back are too chunky, especially if your lounge is against the back wall like mine which eliminates the need for the 3rd middle speaker. and the fibre optic inputs should be labled TV, DVD instead of SAT and AV2, because then the buttons on the remote coincide with the amp and the inputs.

just brought my muteki on the weekend, took me ages to set up correctly as i wasnt sure of what cables i needed etc, still having trouble i think but ive managed to get digital audio to it from tv and dvd and its pretty damn good, haven't cranked it up yet, anyone with info on best set up email me at


stux posted a review   

The Good:Awesome sound. Great for loud music/dance parties. Surround processing works well. Double Subs provide plenty of oomph.

The Bad:Doesn't decode HDMI audio, just passes through. Only 3 digital audio inputs. Since it doesn't decode HDMI audio this means that you can ONLY connect 3 devices with digital audio in TOTAL, no matter how many video inputs you may have available.

Eg. DTV, Bluray Player and Xbox.... and that's it. No foxtel, no PVR, No PS3, etc.

Now that I know a bit more about HDMI and Bluray, I miss the fact that the reciever can't handle the HDMI audio formats (7.1 PCM at a minimum).

It would've been okay, except the Samsung F81 will only pass stereo back to the reciever for all its HDMI inputs.

I plan to try to use a digital audio switch with my universal remote in the future to connect more devices.

Sound is awesome. Perfect Home Theatre system if you like having parties :)

Speakers can be a bit imposing, but my wife likes them! Sound is awesome

Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Sony MUTEKI HTDDW1600

  • manyaminiman



    "i have the newer model -same speakers with slightly different cosmetic look-black receiver replaces old one with hdmi digital decoding-good base from the two 10 inch subs -driven by a seperate amp..."

  • Sherminator



    "Great buy....I have taken Home Entertainment to the next level...."

  • Adhyaru



    "I should have rather got Roland stereo monitors for this price! Those 2 produce better sound ambiance & true fidelity sound reproduction! This one sucks, honestly!! Get it if you are getting it for..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products