Gadget Review: Sony’s ULT Tower 10 wireless tower speaker is a musical tour de force

It looks good and sounds great

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Tue 2 Jul 2024, 3:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 Jul 2024, 4:40 PM

When is loud just loud? And when is it musical? Respectively, when it’s not a Sony ULT Tower 10 wireless tower speaker, and when it is.

After reviewing Sony’s ULT Wear headphones for these pages recently, we were not expecting much; just overblown loudness from the tower speakers of the same series from the Japanese behemoth. But boy, were we surprised.

The ULT series is part of Sony new line of revamped audio products with which the brand is seeking to improve and refine sound quality. We were not convinced, though, when we tested our first device of the series - the ULT Wear headphones.

It's all about that bass

Those cans came across as a very contrived attempt at boosting bass for the sake of bass, increasing the power and volume output for the sake of loudness and amplifying certain frequencies for the sake of a “party effect” – all at the cost of musicality.

Now, to start with a confession here, yours truly is hamstrung by being very finicky about sound, the result of years of training in classical music, which produced a failed musician but a definite audiophile. The result is that very few audio products seem to measure up, the ULT Wear headphones included. So, when Sony sent us the tower speaker of the same range for review, expectations were low based on our previous experience with its junior sibling.

But the ULT Tower 10 is a different kettle of fish altogether. It’s a beast in every way possible, including sound quality - that rare mass market product that can also be an audio purist’s delight.

Even before you switch it on and start to play your music through it, the Tower 10 impresses with its size and presence. Measuring 3.6 feet in height, 16.5 inches in width and 16.9 inches in depth, this is indeed a towering presence in your living room. And weighing in at 30kg, it is just as well that Sony recommends two people pick it up when moving it.

A handle is built into the top of the frame and there are small caster wheels set on the bottom edges of the rear frame so that you can wheel it around to the back porch without the extra hands when you need to set it up for a party, but the wheels could have been larger. Given the size and heft of this tower of sound, the small wheels make it difficult to drag it over uneven surfaces such as door sills, grass or bare ground.

In our estimation, however, the ULT Tower 10 will spend most of its time indoors as your primary listening device, helped by its two tweeters, two midrange drivers and a square shaped woofer that measures 12.59 inches across, giving it a whopping 1,000 Watts of power output and a claimed frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000kHz.

Big block of plastic

Design-wise the ULT Tower 10 is a massive block of black plastic, finished in a smooth -to-the-touch surface. The two tweeters are places at the top like tiny goggly eyes that look outward at an angle to disperse the sound better, the midrange drivers are set inside the body below and the woofer is placed at the bottom with ports along the bottom edge that fire towards the front. There are recesses for LED lights along the top and bottom frame edges and these lights fire onto the black surface for an indirect bounced effect that, unlike Sony’s competitors in the market, is subtle and not visually obtrusive.

The control panel is right on top, a flat, squarish slab of glossy plastic with the on-off and ULT sound boost switch, and touch controls of aspects such as play/pause, Bluetooth connection, the LED lights and input selector, of which there is the audio-in, USB and optical in that can also be a speaker for your TV. We tried hooking up our TV audio to the Tower 10 and found that while the sound is definitely enhanced manifold, this is no soundbar replacement because the dialogues get overwhelmed by the other sounds.

Sound-wise, the first area where the ULT Tower 10 excels is in Karaoke, which comes complete with an Echo button for reverb control and supplied wireless microphone. Guitarists also have nothing to complain about – a removable hatch at the back hides a quarter-inch guitar input jack for when you need to show off your shredding skills at the party.

Tempering sound

The ULT Tower 10 also has its own skills – clarity and musicality at high volume. In the interests of civility and good neighbourly relations, we were only able to pump it up to half volume for a few seconds, but that was enough to prove how heart-thumpingly pulsating the bass could get and how loud the overall volume could be without sounding jarring or losing musicality. A word of warning here: If you cannot hire a runway on DXB International for your party, then do not turn this up to full volume if you do not want to be arrested for causing public disturbance – it’s that loud.

The best surprise is that the loud here does not equate to noise. At decently low, living-room safe volume levels, the ULT Tower 10 is perhaps the only tower speaker we’ve heard that is addictively pleasing to hear. We played everything from Beethoven to the Beatles and Bollywood to Buddha Bar on this speaker and came away more impressed than with any other tower speaker before. The sound stage is detailed, the highs and lows balanced, the nuances subtle, musical and delicate, and the entire musical experience pleasing and enriching. Even the stereo separation was spot-on, the first we’ve experienced in a single tower speaker.

And if all this is still not to your liking, then there are, not one, but two apps from Sony – Music Centre and Fiestable – to further tweak and tailor the sound. We were so satisfied with the default settings that we decided to not fiddle further with these, but, should you choose to, you can use the first to manage the speaker’s basic functions and use the latter to further jazz up the sound and feel for your parties.

On the gripes side, we would have preferred a battery on this speaker for taking the party anywhere, but for something that’s already so heavy and such a heavy draw on the power, that would have made it a non-portable speaker. The five-feet-long power cable could also have been longer for when you need to take it to the poolside party. There’s no gripes, though, for the Dh3,999 official retail price. Given the ULT Tower 10’s sound, this is money well spent and easily earns it a five-star rating.

Sony ULT Tower 10 wireless speaker


- Excellent sound quality

- Twin apps for more control

- Loud without distortion


- No battery

- Small power cable

Price: Dh3,999

Rating: 5 stars


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