Sony HT-S400 soundbar Review

Sony HT-S400 – Review

In 2022, Sony introduced the Sony HT-S400 budget soundbar with 2.1-channel sound, wireless subwoofer, and S-Force Pro and X-Balanced speakers. The latter is no small advantage among budget soundbar models. These speakers, by increasing the diaphragm surface, provide accurate reproduction of dialog and sound objects with the same sound pressure level.

At the vertical level, the acoustic sweet spot should be improved by special notches on the edge of the diaphragm. In the offered review of Sony HT-S400 we will consider pros and cons of this soundbar, so that afterwards we can make a conclusion whether it is worth buying at such a price.

In the audio segment Sony focused primarily on expensive systems with HDMI 2.1. Apparently the company is not going to fall behind its competitors in terms of the patch panel. The lineup of flagship models includes such soundbars as the Sony HT-A5000 (5.1.2-channel soundbar with built-in subwoofer), Sony HT-A7000 (7.1.2-channel soundbar with external subwoofer).

The manufacturer also launched the Sony HT-A9 surround sound system (4.0.4 channels). All of these models can be supplemented with the SA-SW3 (adds 200 watts of bass power) or the SA-SW5 (adds 300 watts of bass power) wireless subwoofers. However, the manufacturer did not forget about consumers with average income. The solution to this problem is the new Sony HT-S400.

Design

The combination of the soundbar and subwoofer is said to have been designed with the environment in mind. The back of the subwoofer is made of recycled plastic developed by Sony. This, of course, is far from the best material for making enclosures. But it is much better than the materials of other budget soundbar manufacturers.

Since the device has 2.1 sound, there are no rear speakers. The soundboard connects to the subwoofer using a wireless connection. The package includes an HDMI cable, remote control with batteries, and instruction manual. Wall mounting of the sound bar is allowed, but screws are not included.

The manufacturer recommends using screws with a diameter of 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm. The color of the panel and subwoofer is black. The acoustic panel has two speakers. The dimensions of the main panel are (W x H x D) 902 x 67 x 89 mm. Subwoofer dimensions (W x H x D): 194 x 387 x 400 mm.

Music playback

Can the Sony HT-S400 soundboard playback music at the level of a full-fledged soundbar? Consider stereo mode, since most broadcasts and streaming shows are recorded with two-channel sound.

Despite two small speakers located in a small case, the system is capable of playing back music broadcasts with good sound quality. You do not have to complain much about the sound stage and deep bass. And this applies to almost all music tracks, regardless of the genre.

At the same time, you should not expect from the system something supernatural. It is also worth adding that the Sony HT-S400 speaker system has a lot of music modes that can be adjusted with the supplied remote control.

Surround sound with S-Force PRO

There can be no perfect surround sound in the HT-S400 soundbar. This is due to the configuration of the system itself. A panel with a 2.1 sound scheme cannot provide 5 or more separate channels. However, the S-Force PRO front surround technology is designed to offer the viewer a wide soundscape, such as a surround sound setup.

At the very least, the system does a good job of reproducing frontal sound. A wireless subwoofer with a 160-mm speaker will take care of crisp dialogue, as well as bright midrange and low frequencies.

Although the subwoofer is not too big in size, it is far superior to built-in or passive subwoofers. Two-channel audio signals can be converted to Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono, and LCPM. The entire system has an audio output of about 330 watts.

Connections

When paired with a compatible Sony Bravia TV, the HT-S400 sound bar can be set up and its volume adjusted directly through the TV remote. Audio signals can also be wirelessly transmitted from your Bravia TV. Bluetooth A2DP is required. A large number of TVs from 2017 onwards support this format.

Audio signals from mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets) can also be played via Bluetooth. In addition to the wireless connection, the panel has an HDMI 2.0 (ARC) input and an optical digital audio input. The USB port on the back of the soundboard is for firmware updates only.

Specifications

Soundbar
Channel Configuration 2.1-Channel
Full-Range Drivers 2 x 2 x 3.9″ / 52 x 100 mm Front-Firing Cone
Amplifier Output 200 W
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) ≤1%
Subwoofer
Enclosure Type Bass-Reflex
Drivers 6.3″ / 16 cm
Amplifier Output 130 W
Subwoofer Connectivity Wireless
Connectivity
Inputs 1 x HDMI – ARC
1 x Optical TOSLINK
USB Ports 1 x USB (Version Unspecified) (Service)
Wireless Audio Protocols Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Codec Support SBC
Bluetooth Range 32.8′ / 10 m
Compatibility
Audio Decoding Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono, LPCM
HDMI Compliance ARC
Power
Power Consumption 35 W (Soundbar)
20 W (Subwoofer)
0.5 W (Soundbar, Standby)
0.5 W (Subwoofer, Standby)
AC Input Power 120 VAC, 60 Hz
Physical
Wall Mountable Yes, with Optional Hardware
Dimensions 35.5 x 2.6 x 3.5″ / 90.2 x 6.6 x 8.9 cm
7.6 x 15.3 x 15.8″ / 19.3 x 38.9 x 40.1 cm
Weight 5.4 lb / 2.4 kg (Soundbar)
16.1 lb / 7.3 kg (Subwoofer)

The HT-S400 speaker panel has an OLED display in the middle. The display is located under the metal speaker grid. The display can show information about the current playback, volume level, etc. The smooth surface of the HT-S400 has function keys for manual operation. A compact remote control is also included.

Summary of the HT-S400 review

To conclude the Sony HT-S400 review, it remains to add that if you’re looking for an affordable sound upgrade for your TV, the Sony HT-S400 soundbar may be one good option. The 2.1-channel sound system, consisting of a sound bar and wireless subwoofer, should generally be far superior to your TV’s built-in sound system. The advantage over the competition lies mainly in the system with S-Force Pro and X-Balanced speakers.

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