We've currently tested sixteen Sony soundbars. Sony produces sturdy, well-built soundbars. They tend to excel in dialogue reproduction, but their lack of sound enhancement features can be a drawback if you want a touch more bass or treble in your mix. As Sony produces soundbars at several price points, they can range in features.
The best Sony soundbar we've tested is the Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module. This 7.1.2 setup gives you a versatile overall performance with everything from music to movies to TV shows, with lots of features on hand to make the most of its sound. As with most premium soundbars, there's a room correction feature to optimize the bar's audio reproduction based on the unique acoustics of your living space—it's called Sound Field Optimization. With it on, the bar's sound is fairly balanced, meaning everything from dialogue in your favorite movies to instruments in your favorite music are clear and accurate in the mix. The sub brings the rumble in the bass, so you feel the excitement in bass-heavy genres like EDM and action-heavy movies, just like you would at a movie theater.
This soundbar supports lots of common audio formats. You can enjoy 5.1 surround sound content like Dolby Digital, and the included rear speakers bring a clear and real feel to your audio, so sound effects seem like they're coming from the space around you. There's Dolby Atmos support, too, so you can take advantage of more immersive object-based formats commonly found on streaming services. That said, no soundbar is perfect. It's a good choice, but it doesn't have a lot of options to customize its sound. Given its balanced sound out-of-the-box, you might have an issue—but if you love to control your bar's sound, you can check out more customizable setups like the Samsung HW-Q990B or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module instead.
If you're looking for a more affordable alternative, consider the Sony HT-A5000. It's a mid-range option released in 2021 as a more affordable alternative to the Sony HT-A7000. Its soundstage isn't as wide as the HT-A7000, so you don't quite get the same immersive feel, and it comes with one less HDMI port—otherwise, the bars perform very similarly. You get the same selection of sound enhancement features, including Sony's Sound Field Optimization room correction feature, and it supports Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos content just like its premium cousin. With its balanced sound, you don't have trouble following the action on your screen, as voices and lead instruments are clearly and accurately reproduced right out of the box.
A standalone soundbar like this is a great alternative if you don't have a lot of space in your setup. That said, if you use the soundbar on its own, there are some tradeoffs when it comes to the sound. First, you don't feel as much rumble in the low-bass, which is especially noticeable on bass-heavy soundtracks and action-centered scenes. Also, without rear satellites, you don't get the same life-like feel with surround sound content. Audio seems like it's coming from speakers placed in front of you rather than from all around you. What's handy about this setup is that you can always purchase a separate sub and satellites from the manufacturer separately, meaning if you move to a larger space down the line, you can upgrade it for a more cinematic sound. If you don't mind the same tradeoff on the soundstage performance, you may even find that this bar provides a better value overall.
The Sony HT-G700 is a more wallet-friendly option from Sony's 2020 lineup. This 3.1 soundbar has a simple design that makes it easy to plug into your TV for an improved sound. Right out of the box, dialogue is clearly reproduced, and voices and lead instruments are present and accurate in the mix. There are a few EQ presets on hand to switch up its sound and a dialogue enhancement mode. However, compared to the Sony HT-A5000, you won't find a room correction tool, so it sounds a little different depending on your space.
Still, this soundbar supports many of the common audio formats that you're likely to come across on streaming platforms, like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. It has to downmix them to play them, but the bar's built-in S-Force PRO virtual surround feature is designed to give a more immersive sound. It can sound a little fake and forced, though, and ultimately it doesn't have the same cinematic feel as the top picks on our list. That said, it's still a fine choice if you just want an upgrade over your TV speakers without all the extra bells and whistles.
The best budget Sony soundbar that we've tested is the Sony HT-S200F. It's a simple 2.1 soundbar that's designed for listening to stereo content, including most music and TV shows. You don't get as many features as the top options from the manufacturer, but if you don't need them, you may find this bar to be a better value overall. Voices and lead instruments are clear and detailed from the jump, albeit with a touch less sparkle in the treble. The integrated subwoofer adds a little to the bass reproduction, too.
That said, this bar isn't designed for use with more immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos, which are becoming more and more popular with streaming services. It can't playback this content like the Sony HT-G700, which is disappointing. Still, it can play 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, albeit after downmixing them to stereo. However, if you don't subscribe to streaming services or don't plan to watch a lot of movies, it's still a solid pick at an affordable price.
The acoustics of your living space have an impact on the way you perceive the sound of your setup—and that's especially true for those who have larger, more open living spaces. Fortunately, some offerings out there are better suited to meet your needs, including the Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module. This 4.1.4 setup has a unique design that pushes the boundaries of our definition of the soundbar. It replaces the wide "bar" with a control box and two left and right stereo speakers, while its two satellites can be placed anywhere in your setup to stretch its sound around you. It gives you more flexibility than a traditional bar, as you can move each of the satellites to different locations based on your preferences.
The bar's soundstage is wide and immersive, rivaling the performance of other top-of-the-line setups on the market. Sound stretches all around you as if your couch were dropped right into the middle of the action. The additional subwoofer brings more thump and punch in the bass range, so you feel your seat rumble during action-packed scenes. The Sound Field Optimization room correction feature is available, too. Unfortunately, the bar lacks a discrete center channel. Sony has a feature that lets you use a compatible BRAVIA TV as the bar's center channel, which they call Acoustic Center Sync. However, there's a noticeable difference in the volume level between the bar and the TV when you use this feature, so it's not ideal for enhancing sound quality. If you're a more casual listener, the holes in the soundstage aren't too noticeable, but it's worth mentioning for audiophiles who want the best possible experience.
Samsung and Sony both create soundbars that are available at a wide array of price points to address different segments of the market. Their top-of-the-line models include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, as well as tools like room correction to optimize their sound. More budget-friendly options are available from both to address stereo listeners. However, Samsung soundbars tend to come with far more sound customization tools, including graphic EQs.
While Sony's products are available at many different price points to address a more broad range of users, Sonos is a more premium soundbar manufacturer that generally produces more premium setups. Sonos bars come with built-in smart features like voice assistants, and they use psychoacoustic principles to create wider and more immersive soundstages than other setups. However, Sonos offers fewer options at budget-friendly price points, and they might not be worth the value for those who want a simple upgrade over their TV speakers.
Bose is a premium soundbar manufacturer that focuses on creating premium, top-of-the-line offerings with built-in smart features like voice assistant control. Sony offers similar devices with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, as well as voice assistant capabilities. However, Sony has more options available at budget-friendly price points, and they may be a better value for users who mostly listen to stereo content.
Sony makes a wide range of soundbars at several price ranges, so it's easy to find one that works for your budget. Although this range is large and available features vary, Sony soundbars are generally well-built but ordinary in overall sound performance. When compared to Samsung soundbars, Sony isn't as well-rounded in performance. Some models can also struggle to produce a deep, rumbling bass suitable for movies or music. Since most Sony soundbars lack bass and treble adjustments, the basic preset EQ offered in their place may not be enough customization for some users. These soundbars are well-suited for dialogue-centric content and will be more than adequate for everyday use.
Sony has a couple of different soundbar lineups on the market, but their naming strategy isn't very clear. Soundbars in a particular lineup generally address a certain segment of the market based on price, but you may find a model with similar features under a different lineup on the market at the same time. Here are a few of their common naming conventions:
Others, like the Sony HT-G700 and the Sony HT-Z9F, seem to be standalone models that don't come as part of a broader lineup.
Dec 14, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Aug 24, 2022: Altered category titles to reflect price-based article structure. Added the Sony HT-G700 as 'Best Lower Mid-Range'.
May 12, 2022: No changes in product picks. Minor updates to the text after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Jan 13, 2022: Replaced the Sony HT-ST5000 with the Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module as 'Best Soundbar'. Added the Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module as 'Best Immersive'. Added the Sony HT-A5000 as 'Best 5.1'.
Oct 15, 2021: No changes in product picks. Minor updates to the text after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Sony is a well-known brand offering a variety of soundbars across several price points. Overall, they're sturdy and well-built. They're also well-suited for reproducing dialogue, which is great for your favorite TV shows and audiobooks. Unfortunately, if you don't like their default sound profile, Sony only provides EQ presets, making it challenging to fine-tune your audio experience.