We've currently tested fourteen 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 offers versatile performance with support for surround sound content, like Dolby Digital, and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos often found on streaming services. Like most premium options on the market, it comes with a room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room - Sony calls it Sound Field Optimization. With it on, the sound profile is fairly neutral, meaning that dialogue in the mid-range is clear and detailed in the mix. With the additional subwoofer, you get more thump and rumble in the bass range, meaning you can feel the intensity in action-packed scenes.
While the bar does a great job overall, there are a couple of downsides compared to some of the other premium models we've tested. Its soundstage isn't as wide or immersive-sounding as models like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module or the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. As a result, sound doesn't quite match the action on the screen at certain angles, especially with Atmos content. There aren't a lot of sound customization features on hand, either, so there's no graphic EQ like the Samsung HW-Q950A or more traditional bass and treble adjustments. There are a few EQ presets available, but it doesn't give you the same level of control across the range.
If you're looking for a setup with a wide and immersive soundstage that surpasses other premium models on the market, you'll want to check out the Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module. This 4.1.4 setup has a unique design compared to a traditional soundbar, comes with a control box and left and right stereo speakers, and two more satellites that you can place anywhere in your setup. Its soundstage is much better than the Sony HT-A7000's, so it seems like your favorite movies are taking place all around you. Its design also gives you more flexibility than a traditional bar, as you can move each of the satellites to different locations based on your preferences. There's the same Sound Field Optimization room correction feature that you get with the HT-A7000, too. With it on, the balanced mids mean that dialogue is pretty clear in the mix, and the added sub brings some additional punch in the bass range.
Unfortunately, compared to the HT-A7000, the bar lacks a discrete center channel. As a result, dialogue isn't as accurately localized to a pinpoint location matching the action on the screen, and you notice some holes in the soundstage. Like many other brands, 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.
The best Sony soundbar with a standalone design that we've tested is the Sony HT-A5000. It's a mid-range option released in 2021 as a more affordable alternative to the Sony HT-A7000, and its standalone design is ideal if you don't have space in your living room for a subwoofer or satellite speakers. Its soundstage isn't as wide as the HT-A7000, but otherwise, the bars perform very similarly, so it's a solid value pick. You'll find Sony's room correction feature, Sound Field Optimization, and support for Dolby Atmos content. With room correction on, the bar has a pretty neutral sound profile, so voices and lead instruments in music and movies are clear and accurate. The high-bass is present and thumpy, but it can't reproduce as much low-bass, so you don't feel as much rumble in action-heavy scenes.
Unfortunately, the bar's surround sound performance isn't very impressive either. Without discrete satellites, it has to use front-firing drivers built into the bar to simulate a phantom surround, which doesn't sound as clear or real. Audio seems like it's coming from speakers placed in front of you rather than from all around you. It comes with one less HDMI input compared to the HT-A7000, too. Still, if you're low on space and want a more affordable pick, it's a solid choice. You can even upgrade it with a sub and satellites down the line if you want.
Sony also offers a couple of budget-friendly models, and the best one that we've tested is the Sony HT-S200F. It's a 2.1 soundbar that doesn't come with as many features as the more premium options on our list, but if you're looking for a simple upgrade over your TV speakers, it's still a solid choice. It has a small, standalone design that fits easily into any existing living room setup. You won't find a room correction feature, but out-of-the-box, it offers a fairly neutral sound, especially in the mids where dialogue reproduces. There's a bass adjustment feature available if you want to add more boom to your sound and a few EQ presets.
Like most bars in this price range, you won't find support for Dolby Atmos content. Its surround sound performance isn't great, either, as it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it. The resulting sound isn't very immersive, and it just seems like audio is coming from a speaker placed in front of you. There's no subwoofer, so you don't feel the rumble in action-packed scenes or bass-heavy music genres. It's ideal for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows, but it's not as versatile as the more premium offerings from the manufacturer.
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 should be more than adequate for everyday use.
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.
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, 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.