We've currently tested nine 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 Sony HT-ST5000 is the best Sony soundbar we've tested. This 7.1.2 setup offers a well-rounded performance using only a soundbar and subwoofer. It has a good stereo frequency response that can reproduce voices and lead instruments well. It can also produce a thumpy, rumbly bass that's well-suited for action flicks or EDM tracks. That said, it comes with EQ presets so you can adjust its sound profile. If you're a big movie buff, it supports Dolby Atmos, and it has a variety of inputs like three Full HDMI In ports that make it easy to use the bar as a hub between your TV and other devices like a Blu-ray player. It also supports a lot of audio formats like eARC, and you can passthrough 4k content. You can even stream your favorite audio to the bar using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Chromecast built-in.
Unfortunately, its sound enhancement features are a bit limited, and you can't fine-tune its bass or treble. It also has a disappointing surround performance, especially as it doesn't come with discrete surround speakers. While it can get loud, there are also some compression artifacts present at max volume. Still, if you're looking for a soundbar that offers lots of connectivity and audio format support, it's a suitable choice with a versatile overall performance.
The best Sony soundbar for dialogue that we've tested is the Sony HT-Z9F. This 3.1 setup reproduces dialogue clearly and accurately, which is great for your favorite podcasts, and you can further improve it with its dialogue enhancement feature. It has many connectivity options, and it supports all common audio formats, including DTS and Atmos. Although it lacks a bit of low bass, it has a balanced sound profile that should be suitable for most audio genres. If you prefer a different sound, there are a few EQ presets which could better enhance your experience. It can get loud, making it well-suited for large rooms or crowded environments like a house party. As it supports eARC, you can even play the most advanced object-based surround signals as well as high-quality lossless formats. You can wirelessly stream to the bar using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi if you prefer.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have many sound enhancement features, and you can't adjust bass or treble. There's also no room correction feature, which is a little disappointing. Although it supports Atmos content, due to its configuration, it uses Sony's Vertical Surround Engine to simulate an Atmos experience, which isn't as immersive as models with upward-firing speakers or with dedicated satellites. That said, it can reproduce clear and accurate speech, and it's even one of the best soundbars for dialogue that we've tested.
The best budget Sony soundbar that we've tested is the Sony HT-S200F. This 2.0 soundbar has a compact design that can easily fit into your existing setup, and it even comes with an integrated subwoofer. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly dark, sound profile that's still suitable for listening to dialogue-centric content like podcasts and TV shows. There are a few EQ presets available to help you customize its sound, as well as a bass adjustment feature. Its S-Force Pro Front virtual surround sound feature is advertised to help create a more immersive sound, but unfortunately, you can't turn this feature off.
Unfortunately, this soundbar struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy music or action-packed movies. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and its surrounds performance isn't very impressive. Also, it lacks a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use the bar as a hub between your different devices. That said, if you're on a budget, it's still a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers.
The Sony HT-S100F is the best cheap Sony soundbar we've tested. While this simple 2.0 setup is barebones in terms of extra features like a subwoofer, it feels decently well-built and supports Bluetooth, which is nice if you like to wirelessly stream audio. Although it has a fairly neutral but slightly muddy sound profile, it can reproduce dialogue in your favorite TV shows or podcasts accurately. If you want to enhance vocal clarity, it also has a dialogue enhancement feature. The bar can get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room, and there are minimal compression artifacts at max volume.
Unfortunately, since it lacks a dedicated subwoofer, it lacks a thumpy low-bass, which fans of EDM or action-packed movies may find disappointing. This bar also lacks more robust sound enhancement features like an EQ or presets. Just like the Sony HT-S200F, it doesn't support Atmos or DTS content either. That said, this affordable soundbar offers a step up from your TV's integrated speakers without breaking the bank.
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 fairly large and available features vary across it, 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 should be more than adequate for everyday use.
Jun 17, 2021: Added the Sony HT-S200F as 'Best Budget' pick.
Feb 18, 2021: Verified the text and checked for product availability. There hasn't been a change in our picks.
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, 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.