The Sony HTS350 is a 2.1 soundbar system that has sub-par performance with stereo content due to an always-on surround sound mode. This results in a dark-sounding sound profile but helps to widen the soundstage a bit. The HT-S350 is a well-built soundbar and gets loud enough for most people. However, it doesn’t support DTS, nor Atmos. It also struggles at max volume and there are compression artifacts in the bass range.
The HT-S350 is a budget, entry-level 2019 soundbar from Sony. It is a 2.1 system with a wireless sub, which the previous HT-S100F and HT-S200F didn’t have. Like most Sony soundbars, it has an always-on surround sound mode called S-Force Pro Front designed for a more immersive listening experience. For a more premium setup, take a look at the more high-end 7.1.2 HT-ST5000. The main competitors of the Sony HT-S350 are the 2017 Sony HT-CT290, the Bose Solo 5, and the 2019 Yamaha YAS-209.
The Sony HTS350 is a pretty plain bar. It has a metal grill that covers the front face and most of the sides, whereas the top has a faux-leather texture which feels nice. The rest is made of solid plastic.
The subwoofer has the port in the front and a metal grill right on top of it covering the speaker. The sides and the top are made mainly of wood whereas the port is made of plastic.
The bar is a little wide and it might not fit between the legs of many 55" TVs. On the upside, it is not too tall and you should have no issue placing it in front of the TV as it will not cover the bottom part of the screen unless your TV sits flush on the table like in the case of the Sony A9F.
The subwoofer has the size of an average desktop PC. It pairs wirelessly to the bar and you should have no issues placing it anywhere in the room as long as you can plug it to power.
There are no satellites in this setup.
The back of the bar is plastic and has one opening for the input ports. The power cable is permanently attached to the bar.
The back of the subwoofer is metal. The power cable connects at the bottom so you can easily hide it and won't be in the way. At the top of the back, you can find the pairing button.
The build quality of the HT-S350 is good. The metal grills on the bar and in the front of the subwoofer give off a premium feel. The entire construction is robust and feels solid.
The stereo frequency response of the Sony S350 is sub-par. It lacks a lot of sub-bass and detail in the treble, making it muddy and dark-sounding. Its low-frequency extension (LFE) is very high and won’t be great for experiencing the deep thump, punch and rumble of bass-heavy music genres or movies and games. However, this soundbar has an always-on surround sound like some other Sony’s soundbars, which causes sub-par stereo performance. On the upside, there are also a few audio modes that can help the overall performance, but the standard one is disappointing.
When listening to the Sony HTS350, the soundstage is decent. It sounds to be a tad bit larger than the bar, but this is probably due to the always-on surround mode. The focus of the soundstage is great and objects are easy to pinpoint, but the always-on surround makes those objects a bit stretched in the soundstage.
The Sony HTS350 can get loud and will be suitable for large rooms and slightly crowded environments. However, when pushed to its maximum volume, there are some pumping and compression artifacts in the bass range. This will be mostly noticeable on bass-heavy music.
At a normal listening volume around 80dB, the THD performance of this soundbar is great and produces a clean and pure sound. However, when using the bar at the maximum volume, there is a big jump in THD in high-bass and low-mid. This shouldn’t be too audible for most and you probably won’t notice it with real-life content.
The Sony S350 is a 2.1 soundbar setup, which means it doesn’t have a dedicated center speaker. It uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete center. When sending a 5.1 surround sound signal, it will downmix it to stereo, although it might sound a bit wider due to the always-on surround mode. Overall, voices still sound fairly clear and accurate, and the bar gets loud enough for most people.
The Sony HTS350 has poor performance with surround channels. The 2.1 configuration of the soundbar won't result in the most accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage. Everything is downmixed to stereo and doesn’t feel as real as a discrete surround experience offered by home theater speakers. The overall sound profile is fairly dark as this soundbar lacks a lot of detail in the treble range. Also, this soundbar, like many other Sony's, has an always-on surround sound mode that causes a strange frequency response measurement, visible in our plot.
This soundbar setup doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.
The Sony HTS350 has okay sound enhancement features and has more than the HT-S100F and HT-S200F thanks to the subwoofer level adjustment that lets you control the amount of bass coming out of the sub. It also has a Dialog Enhancement feature with the Voice Mode, which makes it easier to hear dialog in movies, even at a lower volume and a night-mode to normalize the volume of all your different content. This bar is also advertised to have an always-on S-Force Front surround sound feature, which is common on Sony soundbars.
The Sony HT-S350 have very basic physical inputs. It can connect to your TV through HDMI ARC and to one external device by Optical Audio in, but that's all. There is no Full HDMI In so it can't act as a hub and there is no Analog Audio in to connect to an older device with limited connectivity. Also, you won't be able to playback music stored on a USB.
You can decode surround sound over ARC with this bar thanks to its Dolby Digital support, but it will be downmixed to 2.1. Unfortunately, the bar can't decode DTS or any of the higher-end formats like Dolby Atmos and this means that more advanced object-based surround sound formats won't be played back at all. On the upside, Dolby Digital content is very common on streaming platforms like Netflix and on most Blu-ray Discs.
There is no Full HDMI In port and thus the Sony HTS350 can't act a hub between your TV and any of your devices.
The audio format support via optical connection is decent. The Dolby Digital surround sound format is supported, which is good as it is widely available in the content of streaming platforms or Blu-ray discs. The unsupported DTS format is not widely available on its own, as it is the fallback for the higher quality DTS-HD MA found on many Blu-ray discs.
Bluetooth is the only wireless way to playback sound on this bar. You can seamlessly connect your phone or tablet and hear your favorite music through the bar. Unfortunately, the bar lacks other wireless connections that could make it more versatile.
Since there is no Full HDMI In port, the Sony HT-S350 can't relay the video signal of any external device to your TV.
The subwoofer connects to the bar wirelessly and all you have is the power cable.
The interface or the Sony HT-S350 is very basic and consists of only three lights that flash when you change the settings.
On the top side of the bar, there are a few touch-sensitive buttons that control the basic functions. You can power the bar, select TV mode, change the volume or pair with a Bluetooth device.
The remote control is slim and can control all the functions of the bar. It has some preset modes and can control the volume of the subwoofer independently, but can't act as a universal remote.
There is no app that pairs with this bar.
The Sony HTS350 soundbar enters in a 'Standby' mode after some time of inactivity. Thanks to HDMI CEC support, you can use your TV's remote to control the soundbar.
The Sony HT-S350 is a budget soundbar setup with a wireless subwoofer, but that doesn't have a good audio reproduction. It sounds muddy and has an always-on surround mode, like some other Sony soundbars. There are some noticeably better options in the same price range. See our recommendations for the best soundbars under $200, the best soundbars under $300, and the best budget soundbars.
The Samsung HW-R550 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. It has a more accurate audio reproduction and overall sound profile. The bass of the R550 is more extended as well. While the Sony can get marginally louder, it compresses noticeably more than the R550. The Samsung soundbar also has more inputs, since the HT-S350 lacks Full HDMI Ins, and supports DTS, which the Sony doesn't.
The Samsung HW-Q80R is a noticeably better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350 in pretty much every aspect. It sounds better with all types of content, supports Atmos, can get louder, and compresses less. It also has more inputs and supports more audio formats, on top of having a dedicated center channel for better dialog in movies. On the other hand, the Q80R doesn't have a night mode like the Sony, and the HT-S350 is smaller, which might be easier to fit into your home setup.
The Samsung HW-N450 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. Its overall sound performance is better and more versatile, especially that the S350 has an always-on surround mode, which makes it sound a bit muddy. The N450 also has better connectivity options, as the Sony soundbar doesn't have a Full HDMI In port.
The Sonos Playbar is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350, even without the separate sub and satellites. It has a noticeably better audio quality and wider soundstage. It also has a dedicated center channel, which makes voices and dialog clearer and easier to understand. However, it doesn't have any HDMI ports. If you prefer the simplicity of Bluetooth, the S350 supports it while Sonos believes in better audio quality over Wi-Fi.
Sub-par for mixed usage. The Sony HT-S350 has an always-on surround sound mode that affects its stereo soundstage. The audio reproduction is fairly dark-sounding, although it does help with the soundstage a bit. On the upside, it might make movies a bit more immersive, but it affects the performance with music and voice-oriented content like audiobooks, podcasts, dialog and TV shows. The HTS350 is loud enough for most use cases at a normal volume but might struggle slightly when pushed to the max volume.
Okay for dialog. The Sony HTS350 has a pretty dark-sounding audio reproduction and isn’t very well balanced. However, this performance might be due to the always-on surround sound mode. This won’t be ideal for voice-oriented content like audiobooks and podcasts. On the upside, there’s a dialog enhancement feature to help its performance with this type of content and the bar can get loud enough for casual listening at a normal volume. It is also easy to play content from your smart device to the bar thanks to the Bluetooth compatibility.
Sub-par for music. Due to the always-on surround sound mode, the stereo frequency response of this soundbar is sub-par. The overall sound profile is dark-sounding, which won’t be great for a wide variety of music genres. Also, the soundstage isn’t as good as other soundbars and there’s no way for you to customize the sound to your liking. On the upside, it's easy to stream music via Bluetooth and the bar can get loud enough for most people.
Sub-par for movies. The Sony HTS350 has a subwoofer, but the bass isn’t extended enough to be able to reproduce the deep punch, thump, and rumble of movies. It also lacks support for height channels and Atmos, which results in a less immersive experience. On the upside, the always-on surround mode might help a bit to make the soundstage a bit wider than a normal stereo bar.