TCL Alto 6+ Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Nov 17, 2020 at 08:03 am
TCL Alto 6+ Picture
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.8
Music
6.0
Movies
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Channels
2.1

The TCL Alto 6+ is a simple 2.1 setup from 2020. This soundbar is advertised to work seamlessly with TCL Roku TVs, allowing you to use this TV's remote to control the soundbar and access controls. It has a decent, although somewhat dark sound profile and it comes with three EQ presets so that you can customize its sound. It can also get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room and streaming your favorite audio to the bar is easy as it supports Bluetooth. While it doesn't offer a lot of extra features, it's an alright bar for those on a budget.

Our Verdict

6.5 Mixed Usage

The TCL Alto 6+ is alright for mixed use. It struggles to reproduce a satisfying low bass for movies and music, and it doesn't support Atmos either. While it has extremely limited sound enhancement features, it has three EQ presets to help you adjust its sound a bit to your liking. That said, it can get pretty loud without too many compression artifacts. It can also reproduce voices clearly, which is great for podcasts or TV shows.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Supports Bluetooth.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
  • No room correction.
7.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The TCL Alto 6+ is great for dialogue and TV shows. Although it has a phantom center channel, it can reproduce voices clearly and accurately. Its 'TV' EQ preset also acts as a dialogue enhancement feature so that you can further improve vocal clarity. You can also stream your favorite audiobooks or podcasts to the bar via Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Supports Bluetooth.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No room correction.
6.8 Music

The TCL Alto 6+ is okay for music. It struggles to produce a thumpy low bass, which is a little disappointing for fans of EDM and hip-hop. Although this bar doesn't have a lot of sound enhancement features, luckily, there's three EQ presets available to help you customize the sound a bit. The bar can also get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room. You can stream your favorite tunes to the bar using Bluetooth, too.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No room correction.
6.0 Movies

The TCL Alto 6+ is disappointing for movies. Although it has a dark sound profile, it struggles to reproduce satisfying thump and rumble. It doesn't support Atmos either, its soundstage isn't very wide, and it has a bad surround performance, so it doesn't sound very immersive. That said, it can get loud enough for a large and crowded room.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
  • No room correction.
  • 6.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.8 Music
  • 6.0 Movies
  1. Updated Feb 26, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Jan 11, 2021: Updated DD+ and DTS support via ARC to 'NO' to reflect changes in ARC methodology.
  3. Updated Nov 30, 2020: Retested to confirm DTS and Dolby Digital + support over ARC.
  4. Updated Nov 17, 2020: Review published.
  5. Updated Nov 12, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TCL Alto 6+ is a 2.1 setup from this manufacturer's 2020 lineup. It's advertised to work seamlessly with compatible TCL Roku TVs so that you can use your TV's remote to control the soundbar. Unlike some of this manufacturer's other soundbars like the TCL Alto 6, it's much smaller and has a more rounded design. It competes with the TCL Alto 8+, the Sony HT-S200F, and the Samsung HW-T450.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The TCL Alto 6+ is fairly plain with rounded edges. It's mostly made of black plastic with a tight fabric to protect its speakers.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is made from black MDF. It sits on four plastic pegs as the driver is located on its bottom side.

Design
Style - Satellites

There are no satellites in the TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel's setup.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 31.5" (80.0 cm)
Height 2.4" (6.2 cm)
Depth 4.2" (10.6 cm)

The TCL Alto 6+ is a fairly small bar and it should easily fit between the legs of a 55" TV. It isn't very tall, and shouldn't obscure your screen unless it sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 8.0" (20.2 cm)
Height 12.8" (32.4 cm)
Depth 8.0" (20.2 cm)

The subwoofer is about the size of a medium-sized desktop PC. It's a little wide but you should be able to place it anywhere without a problem.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A

This setup has no satellites.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of this bar has one opening for its inputs and power cord. It also has universal holes on its underside so that you can wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The subwoofer's back contains the speaker. The power cable is located below it but it doesn't connect flush to the subwoofer's back.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No

This setup doesn't have satellites.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The TCL Alto 6+ has a decent build quality. It's made from mostly plastic and the front of the bar is wrapped in a tight fabric to protect the speakers. However, the fabric can rip or get dirty. The subwoofer is made from MDF, which makes it feel a little more robust.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Manuals
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Remote with batteries (2xAAA)
  • 2x Power cable
  • 2x Wall-mounting brackets
  • Wall anchors
  • Wall-mounting screws
  • Wall-mounting template

Sound
7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Music
Slope
-0.69
Std. Err.
3.40 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
48.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The TCL Alto 6+ has a decent stereo frequency response. It struggles to produce a thumpy and rumbly low-bass and some songs sound a little flat. That said, it has a balanced mid-range, which helps the detail and presence of vocals and lead instruments. However, its treble is a bit recessed, making your mixes sound dark and dull.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Music
Suggested Bass Setting
N/A
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
-0.69
Std. Err.
3.40 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
48.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz
6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.55 dB

The TCL Alto 6+ has an okay stereo soundstage. The width of the soundstage is about the size of the bar, and the bar doesn't do any tricks to help widen it. On the upside, the soundstage's focus is good, so objects feel like they're coming from accurate, pinpoint locations rather than a general area.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
96.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.35 dB

The TCL Alto 6+ has great stereo dynamics. It can get pretty loud, which is well-suited for a large or crowded room. While there are some thumping and compression artifacts present when you push the bar to max volume, it may not be noticeable to most users.

7.9
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.39
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.21

The THD performance of the TCL Alto 6+ is good. At a normal listening volume, it has clean and pure audio reproduction. When you push the bar to its max volume, the THD jumps a bit across the range. However, it's hard to hear this with real-life content, and it may not be noticeable.

6.2
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-1.61
Std. Err.
4.05 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.1 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.73
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.76

This soundbar's center channel performance is disappointing. Since it's a 2.1 setup, it doesn't have a dedicated center speaker, and it relies on its left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which results in a more diffused and less clear sound compared to a discrete center. That said, voices should still sound clear and accurate, although a little dark.

3.7
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.64
Std. Err.
4.10 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.70
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.30
7.1 Rears
No

The TCL Alto 6+'s surround performance is poor. This 2.1 setup downmixes this content into stereo to play it which results in less accurate and clear localization of surround objects in the soundstage. It doesn't sound very immersive and objects are perceived as coming from in front of you rather than from around you.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't have height channels and doesn't support Atmos.

1.8
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

The TCL Alto 6+ has very limited sound enhancement features. It only has three EQ presets: 'Movie', 'Music', and 'TV'. The 'TV' preset also doubles as a dialogue enhancement feature.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

This soundbar has a few physical inputs. You can connect it to your TV using either its Optical Audio in or HDMI ARC port. It also has an AUX port so that you can play audio from older devices as well as a USB port if you have audio stored on a thumb or external hard drive.

6.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

Update 01/11/2021: Some of our readers reported that their TVs didn't support DTS or Dolby Digital+ content with this soundbar. We re-evaluated our methodology for ARC support and concluded that DTS and Dolby Digital+ support should be reported the same over an ARC connection as over an HDMI IN and Optical connection. Some TVs, like the Sony A9G, may be converting this content, but other TV brands may not. Ultimately, your experience may vary depending on your TV.

The TCL Alto 6+ has good audio format support via its HDMI ARC port. While it doesn't support Dolby Atmos, it supports Dolby Digital, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

This soundbar doesn't have a Full HDMI In port.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

This soundbar only supports Dolby Digital over its Optical In port. This format is found on Blu-ray discs as well as on streaming platforms. Unfortunately, DTS, which is the fallback for the higher quality DTS-HD MA format, isn't supported.

8.3
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
37 ms
Optical
69 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A
6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

This soundbar has mediocre wireless playback options. It supports Bluetooth so that you can stream audio from your smartphone or other wireless devices but it doesn't support anything else.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

This soundbar doesn't have an HDMI port and can't be used as a hub between your devices and your TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

This subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar and has a power cable.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No

There are no satellites in this setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface is very basic and only uses one light to tell you which input you're on. If you forget what each color means, there's a label on the top side of the bar. The light also turns white when you're adjusting the volume and pulses when muted.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This bar has five touch-sensitive buttons located on its top side. You can turn the bar on/off, change inputs, pair with a Bluetooth device, and lower and raise the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote for this bar is rather plan but it looks almost exactly like that of the TCL Alto 7+. From here, you can control all of the soundbar's functions. However, it can't be used as a universal remote to control other devices.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Limited Support

The TCL Alto 6+ goes into standby mode after a certain amount of time. When you're connected via HDMI ARC, your TV remote can turn off the bar. However, this bar is compatible with the Roku TV remote.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The TCL Alto 6+ comes in one variant: 'Black'. You can see its label here. If you come across a TCL Alto 6+ that's differently equipped than our test unit, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The TCL Alto 6+ is a 2.1 setup from 2020. Like many 2.1 soundbars, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy bass and it doesn't support Atmos. It also has very limited sound enhancement features, which some users may find disappointing. That said, it can deliver a great performance for vocal-centric content like podcasts and TV shows. It's also designed to be compatible with TCL Roku TVs so that you can use that TV remote to control the soundbar. Check out our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.

Samsung HW-A650

The Samsung HW-A650 is better than the TCL Alto 6+. The Samsung is a better-built 3.1 setup with better soundstage and center channel performances. It offers more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ, and it has a Full HDMI In port. That said, the 2.1 TCL gets louder with slightly less compression at max volume.

Samsung HW-A450

The Samsung HW-A450 is better than the TCL Alto 6+. The Samsung has a better soundstage and it can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also has more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ. Some listeners may also prefer its more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. That said, the better built TCL has a better center channel performance, and it has an HDMI ARC port.

TCL Alto 8i

The TCL Alto 8i is better than the TCL Alto 6+. The 8i has a better soundstage performance, and it comes with more sound enhancement features like bass and treble adjustments. Unlike the 6+, it supports Dolby Atmos content and has a Full HDMI In port for high quality passthrough.

TCL Alto 9+

The TCL Alto 6+ is a better overall performing soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+. The Alto 6+ is a smaller 2.1 setup, has a better-balanced sound profile, and can get significantly louder with fewer compression artifacts. However, the Alto 9+ has a better performing center, surround, and height channels. It also has a Full HDMI In port, supports Dolby Atmos, and has outstanding wireless connectivity options.

Vizio V Series V21-H8

The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is a better soundbar for music and movies than the TCL Alto 6+. The Vizio can produce a thumpier, boomy sound, and its center, as well as surround performances, are better. It offers more sound enhancement features.

TCL Alto 8+

The TCL Alto 6+ is a better 2.1 setup than the TCL Alto 8+. The Alto 6+ is better built, comes with a separate subwoofer, and has a more neutral sound profile. It can also get louder, and its center and surround performance are better as well.

Samsung HW-T450

The TCL Alto 6+ is a better 2.1 setup for most uses than the Samsung HW-T450. The TCL is smaller, better-built, and its center and surround performances are better. It also has an HDMI ARC port. However, the Samsung has a slightly more balanced sound profile and it offers more sound enhancement features.

TCL Alto 7+

The TCL Alto 6+ is a better 2.1 setup than the TCL Alto 7+. The 6+ has a better stereo frequency response, and while it can't get as loud as the 7+, it can reach its max volume with fewer compression artifacts. However, the Alto 7+ is better built and its center and surround channels also perform better.

Sony HT-S200F

The Sony HT-S200F and the TCL Alto 6+ are both 2.1 setups with different strengths and you may prefer one over the other. The TCL is better-balanced and can get louder, although with a bit more compression artifacts. Its surround performance is better too. However, the Sony has a better center performance, and it offers more sound enhancement features. It also has a shared HDMI ARC and Out port.

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