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TCL Alto 6+ Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Review updated Dec 16, 2021 at 09:40 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 25, 2024 at 11:48 am
TCL Alto 6+ Picture
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.8
Music
6.0
Movies

The TCL Alto 6+ is a simple, budget-friendly 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 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 many extra features, it's an alright bar for those on a budget.

Our Verdict

6.5 Mixed Usage

The TCL Alto 6+ is okay for mixed usage. It's a decent choice for dialogue-centric content since its balanced mid-range reproduces voices clearly and accurately. That said, its sound profile can also sound a bit dark and flat due to the recessed treble and lack of low-bass. There's no Atmos support, and its surround sound performance is poor. Also, there's a lack of sound enhancement features, especially compared to other budget setups.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
7.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The TCL Alto 6+ is decent for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, voices are clear and accurately reproduced, although they may sound a bit dark. You can enhance dialogue with the 'TV' preset, too. However, this 2.1 setup doesn't have a discrete center, so voices aren't anchored to a pinpoint location in the soundstage, which isn't very immersive-sounding.

Pros
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No auto-volume mode.
6.8 Music

The TCL Alto 6+ is alright for music. Its balanced mid-range reproduces voices and lead instruments pretty clearly, though they can also sound a bit flat and dark. It struggles to reproduce an extended low-bass, so you don't feel the thump in bass-heavy music genres like EDM. While it can get loud, unfortunately, there aren't a lot of sound customization features available.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No bass and treble adjustments.
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.0 Movies

The TCL Alto 6+ is mediocre for movies. It lacks some low-bass, so you don't feel the low rumble in action-packed scenes. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, either. Due to its 2.1 setup, it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which isn't very immersive-sounding.

Pros
  • Three EQ presets available.
  • Can get loud with few thumping and compression artifacts.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
  • 6.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.8 Music
  • 6.0 Movies
  1. Updated Jan 25, 2024: Added market comparison with the Creative Stage to the Sound Enhancement Features box.
  2. Updated Jan 12, 2024: Added market comparison for the TCL Alto 6 in the Style - Subwoofer box.
  3. Updated Jun 19, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  4. Updated Apr 06, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  5. Updated Apr 05, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  6. Updated Dec 16, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  7. Updated Feb 26, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  8. Updated Jan 11, 2021: Updated DD+ and DTS support via ARC to 'NO' to reflect changes in ARC methodology.
  9. Updated Nov 30, 2020: Retested to confirm DTS and Dolby Digital + support over ARC.
  10. Updated Nov 17, 2020: Review published.
  11. Updated Nov 12, 2020: Early access published.
  12. Updated Nov 02, 2020: Our testers have started testing this product.
  13. Updated Oct 30, 2020: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  14. Updated Oct 18, 2020: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The TCL Alto 6+ is also known as the TCL TS6110. It 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 forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The TCL Alto 6+ is a budget-friendly 2.1 setup from 2020. It's a decent choice for listening to dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. It's designed to be compatible with TCL Roku TVs so that you can use that TV remote to control the soundbar. However, compared to other bars in its price range, it lacks sound enhancement features. Also, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, which is disappointing.

Check out our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.

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.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a much better soundbar than the TCL Alto 6+. The Sonos is a better-built 5.0.2 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos content. It has better soundstage, center, and surround performances. There are also more sound enhancement features available, including room correction. Even though it doesn't come with a dedicated sub like the TCL, it can still reproduce a similar amount of low-bass.

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.

Hisense HS218

The Hisense HS218 is better than the TCL Alto 6+. The Hisense is a better built 2.1 setup with a more extended low-bass to help you feel more rumble in your audio. It has a better surrounds performance, too. There are also more sound enhancement features available, like bass and treble adjustments.

Creative Stage

The TCL Alto 6+ is a better budget soundbar than the Creative Stage. Out-of-the-box, the TCL has a more neutral sound, which some may prefer. It has less compression and distortion for a cleaner audio reproduction, too. Plus, it supports more audio formats than the Creative. You may prefer the Creative if you want a smaller soundbar, though.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Vizio SB2020n-J6

The TCL Alto 6+ is better than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. They're both budget-friendly bars, but the TCL has a dedicated sub that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It gets louder than the Vizio, with less compression at max volume, too. It also comes with HDMI inputs, and it can support multichannel audio formats like Dolby Digital, though it has to downmix it to stereo to play it. That said, the Vizio is still a solid choice for PCM content. It even has more sound enhancement features, like bass and treble adjustments.

TCL Alto 6

The TCL Alto 6 appears to be the same soundbar that comes with the TCL Alto 6+. However, the 6+ has a dedicated subwoofer, which noticeably improves its bass reproduction, especially with genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, the 6+ offers lower latency over HDMI and Optical connections. The 6 may be a better alternative for those with smaller living rooms, though.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
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
Sub Wireless
Yes
Enclosure
Ported

The subwoofer is made from black MDF. It sits on four plastic pegs as the driver is located on its bottom side. If you prefer a standalone soundbar without a subwoofer, check out the TCL Alto 6.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No
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 inch 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
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
Yes
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The TCL Alto 6+ has a decent build quality. It's mostly made from 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, making it feel a little more robust.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Optical cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)
  • 2x Power cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • 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
Channels
2.1
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 reproduce the deep thump in the low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in action-packed movies. You may also notice some port noises coming from the subwoofer. That said, it's better suited for listening to dialogue-centric content like TV shows, thanks to its balanced mid-range, which can reproduce voices clearly and accurately. Higher-pitched vocals can sound a bit flat and dark, however, due to the recessed treble range.

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

The TCL Alto 6+ soundbar doesn't come with any sound customization features like bass and treble adjustments or a graphic EQ. You can only use its EQ presets to customize its sound. If you prefer a more neutral sound, we recommend using its default 'Music' preset.

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 perceived to be 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.

8.2
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 TCL Alto 6+ has a very good THD performance. At a normal listening volume, it falls within good limits, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. There's a slight jump in THD at max volume, but this shouldn't be too noticeable with real-life content.

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
2.7
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. However, you can't customize its sound. Compared to other budget models like the Creative Stage, it lacks bass and treble adjustments, and there's no auto-volume mode for listening at night.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI Out
ARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
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.

4.8
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

The TCL Alto 6+ supports Dolby Digital content via ARC. This is the most common surround sound format, so it's often found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs. Unfortunately, there's no support for lossless or object-based audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
6.5
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Supported
DTS
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

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

The TCL Alto 6+ soundbar has a great latency performance. It has fairly low latency, so the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see on the screen. As a result, it's suitable for watching videos and movies. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, though, so your real-world experience can vary.

0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
8k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
HDR10 Passthrough
No
HDR10+ Passthrough
No
Dolby Vision Passthrough
No
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No

This soundbar doesn't have an HDMI port, and you can't use it as a hub between your devices and your TV.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No
Spotify Connect
No

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

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 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

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

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
No