Best Sony soundbars Buyer's Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Sony soundbars you can buy in 2022.
The soundbar market can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. You've got a huge breadth of choice out there across a wide range of prices. But if you've already narrowed down your choice to one brand, in this case, Sony, then this page should help you narrow down your choice quite quickly.
Sony makes some of the best soundbars on the market, including some seriously good Dolby Atmos models. Below, you will find a list of the best Sony models tested and ranked by our team of expert reviewers. If you're wondering what to look for when choosing a Sony soundbar or wondering how much to spend, we're here to help...
How to choose the best Sony soundbar for you
Want to achieve an immersive cinema experience without peppering your living space with tiny speakers? These days, a soundbar could be just the job. Sony offers a decent choice of budget, mid-range and premium options – including some that integrate with the firm's newer Bravia TVs.
Most of Sony's soundbars use its S-Force Pro Front Surround wizardry to create a virtual surround-sound effect. More expensive models add features such 4K and HDR passthrough, more convincing vertical effects, cutting-edge gaming features, Chromecast for wireless streaming, and voice controls.
You'll also find that some of the best Sony soundbars support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X – multi-directional sound formats that aim to recreate the kind of 3D audio experience you would expect at your local cinema. Top-end Atmos soundbars usually have upward-firing drivers that disperse sound vertically, reflecting it off the ceiling to mimic overhead speakers.
You should also consider where your soundbar will live (is it slim enough, for example, to fit under your TV?), the number of HDMI ports (are there enough for your TV, games console, etc?) and compatibility with your favourite music streaming service (does it play nicely with Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer, etc).
Once you've taken a look at our list and bought the soundbar that meets your needs, you can take a look at how to choose and set up a soundbar. So, enough chatter, let's dive in...
- Our guide to Sony's 2022 TV lineup
The 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning HT-A7000 is one of the best Sony soundbars we have tested.
You get 7.1.2 channels – including two up-firing speakers and a dual subwoofer – plus support for a wide range of audio formats including Dolby Atmos (in both the Digital+ and TrueHD formats), DTS:X, LPCM, hi-res wireless audio and Sony 360 Reality Audio.
The HT-A7000 is as packed with streaming smarts too. Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast are all on board, along with support for Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home. Already own a newer Bravia TV? You will find that this premium soundbar offers excellent integration.
In terms of height and precision, the performance is similar to that of the Sonos Arc, but the width of the soundstage and its forward projection is more convincing. There is no lack of musicality, detail or power – all of which is expertly controlled.
It's not the cheapest option out there, but the Sony HT-A7000 is an outstanding, future-proofed, all-in-one performer.
Read the full Sony HT-A7000 review
Looking to level up your TV's sound without too much fuss or outlay? Sony's affordable SF150 soundbar offers a significant sonic enhancement for the money. Indeed, there is almost no other competition worth considering at this price – whether it be from Sony or a rival brand.
Despite the bargain price, the SF150 is a well-built speaker and wouldn’t look out of place perched beneath a high-end TV. Alongside HDMI ARC, it has an optical input supporting Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual mono and LPCM 2ch. There's also a USB port and Bluetooth 4.2 for music streaming.
The SF150 boasts Sony's S-Force Front Surround technology, which applies processing to give the acoustic impression of a more encompassing sound stage. It's not a patch on 'proper' surround sound, but it does add a dramatic sense of weight and separation.
Dialogue can sometimes feel a touch muffled, and anyone wanting a more musical, finely detailed speaker should aim for the HT-A7000 (above). Still, if you're on a budget, the SF150 is a cracking option.
Read the full Sony HT-SF150 review
The HT-G700 isn't the smallest soundbar, but it is big on sound and value, and it comes with a wireless subwoofer, HDMI input and support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technologies combine to produce a convincing Dolby Atmos soundscape, while a chunky subwoofer adds plenty of heft to big explosions. Sonos's Arc delivers an even more convincing Atmos experience – but it is twice the price.
The things in the 'against column' here are a slight lack of crispness, the absence of music-streaming features and the lack of voice control. But if you are after a dedicated piece of home cinema kit on a budget, the powerful-sounding HT-G700 Sony soundbar produces a cinematic performance without breaking the bank.
Read the full Sony HT-G700 review
The HT-X8500 was released in 2019 but is still worth considering. Mainly because it simulates 7.1.2 surround sound and supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (via either single HDMI input or the eARC feature of the HDMI output).
Build quality is solid, and the bundled remote control is a simple affair, but the lack of a display is disappointing. Want to send music to your soundbar wirelessly? The X8500 has Bluetooth 5.0.
Sound quality is a mixed bag. There's no denying that the HT-X8500 is a huge sonic improvement over most flatscreen TVs in terms of cinematic weight and spaciousness, but the bass from the dual subwoofer can overpower the midrange, resulting in slightly muffled dialogue.
The X8500 is slim and powerful. But if you're not wedded to Sony, and aren't that bothered about Dolby Atmos support, you should also consider the Sonos Beam (2nd Gen).
Read the full Sony HT-X8500 review
How we test Sony soundbars
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door.
Each soundbar we test is paired with an appropriate reference TV and is directly compared with the best in its price and features class – whether that's the current What Hi-Fi? Award winner or a few of the latest models we have been impressed by in recent reviews. What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, and we keep class-leading products in our stockrooms so we can easily compare new products with ones we know and love.
We are always impartial and do our best to make sure we are hearing every product at its very best. Before testing, we calibrate the sound of the bar to make sure it's working to the best of its abilities and also run it in. When reviewing we use plenty of different styles of films and TV shows to show what each soundbar is capable of. This includes the use of both advanced and standard audio formats. We test all the features onboard, including music playback, with a variety of genres and allow for plenty of listening time.
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team rather than an individual reviewer to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we are being as thorough as possible, too. There is no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.
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