Both offer wonderfully crisp sound and both soundbars have four pre-set equalisers - movies, games, voice, and music, a remote control, and a range of connectivity options - HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, co-axial, 3.5mm audio jack, and optical.
However, they differ in three ways. You might think the XT120 is the big brother of the XT100 but it’s not quite so; they have their own special distinctive and the right one for you depends on your room size and what you will be listening to.
Where they differ is, of course, the XT120 has a built-in subwoofer while the XT100 does not, but also in Dolby support, and total RMS power.
First things first; the subwoofer is the speaker that delivers the lower frequencies, specifically 20 to 200Hz, which a traditional two-channel or surround sound setup cannot reproduce on its own. When you think of the subwoofer, think of the bass guitar, pipe organ, kick drum, or explosions in movies and games. The subwoofer gives you the hardware support to hear these low and menacing rumbles.
So, the XT120 has a subwoofer and therefore gives more in the bass than the XT100.
Yet, the XT100 brings more power with 50W x2 of output power or 100 RMS, vs. the XT120’s 30W x 2 (60 RMS) plus 60W subwoofer.
To get technical, RMS is the root mean square, a measure of an electric current’s strength. When we speak about audio RMS power correlates to powerful sound. There’s a common myth volume equals power, but that’s not so. RMS power is the average power a speaker can handle on a daily basis without compromising sound quality or experiencing any distortion. I’m sure we’ve all been to concerts in under-equipped locations where the band’s amplifier output exceeded the RMS of the venue’s speakers and the sound was distorted, uncomfortable, and vocals and individual sounds difficult to distinguish. By contrast, there are excellent concerts in professional, international-scale venues where, despite how loud the band plays, the highs and lows and mids and vocals all stand out. There are other factors, such as the speaker’s decibel sensitivity, but in essence, RMS is the measure of a speaker’s power.
That’s a lot of words; the point is you can comfortably drive either soundbar at high volumes for sustained periods without straining the electronics or ruining the sound. And, 100W is also a perfectly suitable amount of power for room sizes up to 1000 square feet and up to 30 people. So, if you’re having a party the BlueAnt XT 100 will serve you well, and most definitely if it’s for you playing games or you and your partner or family watching movies, while the XT120 is better suited for room sizes up to 500 square feet and up to 20 people - or again, for the more personal enjoyment of yourself and your family.
When it comes to Dolby support the BlueAnt XT100 comes out with Dolby Atmos, while the BlueAnt XT120 supports Dolby Digital.
Both are great, make no mistake, but to clarify, Dolby Digital drives sounds from the existing speaker setup, while Dolby Atmos can create a superior sound experience using both software as well as compatible hardware.
Dolby Atmos is an object-specific audio system, which is a fancy way of saying it enhances the sound of specific objects more vividly instead of improving the overall sound quality. It’s a surround sound technology developed by Dolby and adds height channels. This means sounds can be interpreted as 3D objects and can make the placement of overhead (and underground) sounds more accurate. You get realistic sounds with greater precision when an object, like a helicopter or rocket, flies by overhead.
Yet, to get the greatest out of Dolby Atmos you will typically want more Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, whenever possible. Using four speakers, for example, can make the audio placement far more thrilling and precise by leveraging your hardware’s vertical spacing as well as what it achieves through software.
So, what we have here are two soundbars that actually offer different experiences. In my view, the BlueAnt XT100 provides multi-dimensional sound with the potential to fully envelop you in an immersive soundscape, and cater for a larger environment, while the BlueAnt XT120 allows you to feel more with dedicated bass hardware delivery.
Both give you crisp, distortion-free experiences, a vast array of connectivity, easy placement and mounting options, and a remote.
The BlueAnt XT100 soundbar is available for $349 inc GST and the BlueAnt XT120 soundbar is currently on sale for $209 inc GST, down from $279.
To get room-shaking audio at this price-point is pretty impressive, and with its connectivity options you can get running in only minutes. Plug in power, then use Bluetooth, or plug in a second cable for AUX, HDMI, coaxial, optical, or USB. It's that easy.
See and listen to the BlueAnt XT120 here for yourself as I replace a set of Bose speakers with it on my own personal computer: