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The first question that comes to mind when looking at the Sony HT-S350 soundbar is will this affordable 2.1 audio system sound good? It seems that Sony has managed to get a fairly high quality soundbar + subwoofer system for a relatively low price.
It may not be an audiophile level, but it is quite powerful, with different sound modes and subwoofer levels. It produces good thunderclaps and is excellent value for money. In our Sony HT-S350 review, we’ll take a closer look at the features of this soundbar.
Sony HT-S350 review
The main unit of the HT-S350 soundbar is a relatively modest panel. The black faux leather top panel has touch-sensitive buttons, and the front panel is covered with a grill that hides the speakers. The buttons are designed to turn on the power, TV (connected via optics), Bluetooth source and volume control.
The multichannel audio, TV, or Bluetooth indicators are labeled at the top, but the LEDs look forward from the grill. Also under the grill are the front speakers. Combined with a wireless subwoofer, they deliver 320W total power. The subwoofer is shaped like a PC tower cabinet and contains a 6.3-inch woofer.
The Sony 350 soundbar comes with an elongated black remote control, at the top of which are the power, TV and Bluetooth buttons, as well as buttons for sound modes, including Auto, Cinema, Music, Night and Speech. In the middle there is a volume control.
Below are buttons for adjusting the volume of the subwoofer, mute, channel selection for Dolby Digital multiplex transmission, Secure Link function (for connecting a subwoofer protected from interference from a neighboring wireless network), on / off LED indicators, etc. The remote control is powered by two AAA batteries.
Playing sound in movies
As usual, the HT-S350’s Standard mode is preferred, but other modes such as Cinema and Music have a lot to offer. And keep in mind that in these modes you can also adjust the subwoofer levels to your liking.
This provides a wide range of sound possibilities, you can even turn the level of the subwoofer so that it is barely audible. This extreme isn’t necessarily useful, but the bottom line is that the HT-S350 can be varied from relatively weak bass to a full-blown mega-subwoofer mode with a lot of states in between.
When an explosion is shown on the screen, for example, the HT-S350 produces a serious, imposing rumble. The S350’s subwoofer delivers superior depth. It can be increased or eliminated using the subwoofer level buttons on the remote control.
Dialogue is rendered crisp in both Standard and Cinema modes, although the latter is perhaps a little better focused on transparency. In Cinema and Standard modes, dialogue and music are played without errors, even if the subwoofer pounds with might and main. Those looking for effects similar to surround sound will not find anything like it here.
The focus is on clarity, bass depth and wide stereo imaging. The system only supports the most basic Dolby Digital and Dolby Dual Mono, but does not decode DTS. Although it does offer a Sony S-Force Pro virtual surround processor for basic 2.1 soundstage expansion during movie playback.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, the S350 delivers thunderous lows. The sub can be set to a relatively quiet position, but already at medium levels in Standard or Music modes, the depth of the bass is quite powerful and impressive. At maximum volume, the subwoofer does not distort anything, it can definitely shake walls.
At reasonable levels, you can set the bass depth you want, and also strike a good balance between the soundbar and rumbling lows. Tracks with less bass give a better idea of the HT-S350’s overall sound palette. The end result is a bumpy but not entirely accurate sound image in music mode and a little more natural and balanced in standard mode.
It would be nice to have treble and bass controls in addition to the subwoofer volume levels. Sound attack at low frequencies is decent. Allows you to preserve the punching pressure of drums in dynamic compositions. The subwoofer provides some serious support here. Vocals are usually heard clearly and clearly. In general, you need to find the right subwoofer levels for different styles of music and your listening pleasure is guaranteed.
On the back of the Sony HT-S350 there is an IR repeater in case the soundbar is blocking your TV’s IR sensor, and a niche for connecting ports. The HT-S350 only supports two physical connections, the HDMI ARC port and the optical port. This appears to be the first soundbar to lack analog inputs.
Those. you will not be able to connect old players or TVs without an adapter. Bluetooth offers wireless connections to newer Sony TVs, as well as streaming to the soundbar from your smartphone. There is no Wi-Fi support, although that would be nice for better music streaming.
But then again, it should come as no surprise that she is absent at this price level. It’s a shame there isn’t a second HDMI port to directly connect a Blu-ray player, network media player, or game console to allow the panel to decode audio.
The Sony HT-S350 Soundbar has ample headroom and improves the flat and unattractive sound of your TV. But the lack of balance and the right features do not allow it to rise above the crowd of contenders in the segment of mid-priced soundbars.
Therefore, the answer to the question “is it worth buying the HT-S350” remains open. Still, the sound can be found better in this entry-level and mid-range segment.