Sony Soundbars

Sony - More than just the Playstation 5

Sony is one of the big names among consumer electronics manufacturers. Besides smartphones, TVs and of course the PlayStation, the Japanese technology giant also produces high-quality soundbars, which are not only interesting for people who want to upgrade the sound of their Bravia TV.

Especially Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine puts the soundbars in the spotlight. This simulates the sound format Dolby Atmos and DTS:X material well even without up-firing speakers, so that the impression of height and 3D sounds is created. Thus, even cheaper models are able to use these innovative sound formats.

Sony HT-ZF9
Very good 3.1 setup with powerful wireless subwoofer & satellite speakers

Room size
above 40 m2
Channels
3.1
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 400W Total Power
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & Chromecast
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • HDMI eARC
  • Extendable with Rear-Speakers
  • No room correction feature
  • Schwacher Atmos Sound
  • No Up-firing Speaker

The HT-Z9F is, in our opinion, one of the best Sony soundbars on the market and comes at a decent price. Even though the sound profile lacks a bit of deep bass, the sound is still precise, so the soundbar can be used well for music. However, you have to be aware that there are soundbars in this price range that perform better in this regard since neither a room correction nor a graphic equalizer are available.

Thanks to the Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth and the integrated Chromecast, content can be streamed to the soundbar very conveniently and it can also be controlled via Sony’s Music Center app without having to use the remote control.

All common sound formats are supported, even Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. To play back these 3D sound formats, the Z9F doesn’t use up-firing speakers, but Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine. This creates a decent, virtual 3D soundscape through a clever stereo downmix.

Variant: Sony HT-ZF9 & SA-Z9R

Very good 3.1 setup with powerful wireless subwoofer and 2 satellite speakers
  • 2x 50W rear speakers
  • Upgrade to 5.1
  • Better surround sound

Sony HT-G700
Great Atmos Soundbar with subwoofer and well implemented virtual 7.1.2 3D surround sound

Room size
up to 40 m2
Channels
3.1
(7.1.2 virtual)
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 400W Total power (Bar+Sub)
  • Virtual 7.1.2 Surround Sound
  • Wireless Subwoofer
  • Precise dialogue & bass performance
  • Dolby Atmos & DTS:X
  • Bluetooth, USB, HDMI eARC
  • No room correction feature
  • No network connectivity

Just like the HT-Z9F, the Sony HT-G700 can play back material with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with the Vertical Surround Engine. The result is a virtual 3D sound that is not available in any other model in this price range.

The sound still comes from the front, but still creates the impression of height and a certain 3D depth – but you have to be aware that satellite speakers and at least up-firing speakers are needed for a truly immersive soundscape – which you cannot expect at all in this price range.

The soundbar is versatile and reproduces various content like movies or music well. Unfortunately, the soundbar does not have Wi-Fi, which means that you can only use streaming services via Bluetooth. Its true supreme discipline is the reproduction of dialogue-heavy content. The center speaker can reproduce TV shows and audio books very well and understandably.

Sony HT-X8500
Soundbar with virtual Dolby Atmos Surround Sound

Room size
up to 25 m2
Channels
2.1
(7.1.2 virtual)
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar
  • Integrated Subwoofer
  • Virtual 7.1.2 Surround Sound
  • Dolby Atmos & DTS:X
  • HDMI eARC, USB, Bluetooth
  • Surround Sound always activated
  • Not much deep bass
  • Mediocre sound profile
  • No network connectivity

The Sony HT-X8500 is quite similar to the HT-G700, except that it does not have a center speaker and only an internal subwoofer. Therefore, it cannot provide a comparably good atmosphere for movies and some music genres are reproduced less atmospherically.

The sound profile is a bit less balanced due to the internal subwoofer, which can be compensated for to a certain extent with equalizer presets. However, there is no graphic equalizer and also no Internet connection, but at least it has a Bluetooth interface.

Content with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X can also be played via the Vertical Surround Engine, but it does not work quite as well as in the two more expensive models. However, it is probably the cheapest model with Dolby Atmos support.

Sony HT-S350
Affordable surround sound bar with wireless subwoofer

Room size
up to 40 m2
Channels
2.1
(5.1.2 virtual)
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 320W Total Power (Bar+Sub)
  • High max. Volume
  • Wireless Subwoofer
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI ARC
  • No Dolby Atmos
  • No DTS
  • Surround Sound always activated
  • Somewhat dull sound

The Sony HT-S350 is a soundbar with an external subwoofer from the low-price segment. The sound is a bit weak in the trebles, so the impression is sometimes quite muffled. In combination with the surround sound mode that cannot be deactivated, music often does not come across quite as well.

With HDMI ARC and CEC, the soundbar can be controlled with the TV’s remote and at least Dolby Digital is supported in contrast to DTS.

The soundstage is noticeably expanded, giving the impression that the soundbar is wider than it actually is, which allows for a slightly better degree in immersion. Therefore, the S350 is definitely an upgrade to most speakers integrated into TVs, but other soundbars in this price range usually achieve a better result.