Sony HT-S400 review
Sony HT-S400 review : Want to increase audio quality in your TV’s audio, but don’t want messing playing with speakers or complicated setups? You’ll need an audiobar. One of the most recent choices are The $350 Sony the HT-S400 that is which is a 2.1-channel soundbar that includes an wireless subwoofer to help to provide deep low-end rumbles, which give the movies a theater-like experience.
Sony has decided to go for a simple design in the HT-S400. In its attempt to eliminate the complexity of its products, has it made its latest soundbar in the shadow of its competitors? Let’s have a look.
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Sony’s classic, minimal style is a perfect match for soundbars. The HT S400’s textured black body and a light gray metal grille draw virtually no attention towards themselves, which is what should be the primary goal of any soundbar. With 35.5 inches wide and an inch or 2.5 inches high it’s possible to position this soundbar on top of (and perhaps beneath) virtually any TV 40 inches in size or more.
The HT-S400 is able to connect to a TV using Bluetooth instead of the standard HDMI as well as optical cable.
The same cannot be said for the wireless subwoofer. It’s the largest we’ve seen with a height of over 15 inches and 15 inches in depth. However it’s possible to put this in the corner to keep it from being too noticeable. (Remember that the subwoofer’s placement is less because of the low frequency.) In addition, it’s one of the very few front-firing subs in this group and equipped with a secured driver, you can position it down on its back, to allow for more placement flexibility.
In terms of wireless connections and places It’s important to note that the HT S400 has the capability of connecting to a TV through Bluetooth instead of HDMI and optical cables. Your TV needs to be compatible with Bluetooth to work with the A2DP Bluetooth device profile, and the quality of sound isn’t as high when using the physical cable, but it’s an excellent alternative.
If you’re planning to mount the soundbar on a wall the speaker, all you require is the wall mount template that’s included inside the box, along with two screwswith keyholes built in and plastic standoffs on the rear panel will give you the appearance of being flush with the wall. If the soundbar blocks your TV’s infrared sensor an inbuilt IR repeater located on its back HT400 can help prevent communication issues.
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Connections and setting
If you’re looking for technology that’s basic and easy to use You’ll be delighted with the HT-S400. In addition to the Bluetooth option that I mentioned above There are only two options to connect the soundbar with your TV: HDMI-ARC and optical. Sony offers an optical cable inside the box, however If you’d rather use HDMI then you’ll have to purchase an HDMI cable.
Apart from Bluetooth There aren’t any alternatives to connect other devices.
Whatever option you select, you’ll enjoy exactly the same audio quality, and it’s really about two factors: your TV’s outputs and preferences. If your TV doesn’t come with an HDMI-ARC port, this makes it even more convenient -you’ll need optical connections. If you also have an HDMI-ARC port but not optical, then the choice is already taken for you.
If you do have both — which I have with the 2017 LG OLED C7 This is the best way to decide. The HT-S400 isn’t equipped with an HDMI input for transferring video to your TV, so if do not want to sacrifice the HDMI input for your TV, make use of an optical connector. If you’re looking to effortlessly control the soundbar with the remote on your TV, and you don’t mind losing the HDMI input, you should choose HDMI ARC as it allows HDMI CEC, an interface for control that is used by almost every HDMI-equipped device. This is something that optical connections cannot accomplish.
Unfortunately, no matter which you choose which one you prefer, you aren’t able to utilize the other one as an audio input secondary to the one you’ve chosen like CD players, Sonos Port or a Blu-ray player. With the other exceptions of Bluetooth and Bluetooth, there aren’t any alternatives for connecting other devices. The USB port that you can find on the side on the back of the speaker? Don’t bother with it. It’s only to update software and cannot serve as a way to listen to music on the external drive, or thumb drive.
After you’ve decided on your preferred option and you’ve made your decision, the rest is easy plug the soundbar into your TV, then plug the wireless subwoofer into the wall outlet, and then repeat the process for the soundbar. When you turn the TV on, it’ll detect that the soundbar has been connected and you’re ready to go.
A tiny OLED display concealed behind the grille of the soundbar’s steel will inform you if you’re listening to your TV or Bluetooth It can also show the adjustments you make to settings such as volume, bass volume, and the sound fields (more on this later). In the event that your display’s brightness is excessive or you want to switch off the display even when not in use, adjust its settings using the top controls on the soundbar.
I would much rather have an OLED display that scrolls alphanumeric rather than a set that of colored LEDs that have to be read by the help of a legendlike Vizio uses on its soundbars – which is why I commend Sony for including it.
If you have an compatible Sony TV and connect the HT-S400 to it via HDMI it is possible to view the settings of the soundbar on the big screen by using Sony’s user interface that is well-designed However, I haven’t had the time to test that.
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Sony offers a tiny but basic remote in the HT-S400. It’s comfortable when held in your hands, but it’s not backlit to allow for watching in darkened spaces. However, it only contains a handful of buttons you’ll require on a regular basis. A large, nice rocker sits in the center along with a lower bass level rocker , as well as mutes that are within reach.
Engines roaring, approaching thunderstorms or the footsteps of a T-Rex all have a deep and thrilling sound.
In normal circumstances, Bluetooth would get its own button. However, because the S400 has only the two available options (TV, Bluetooth), you can access Bluetooth by pressing using the button for input. “Night” engages the soundbar’s night mode, which lowers high-frequency sounds, so you’ll still be able to hear what’s happening without disturbing your homemates “Voice” places an emphasis on higher frequencies so that you can hear the dialogue a bit easier. In addition, “Sound Field” lets users switch off the Sony S-Force Pro front surround processing either off or on.
It’s an 2.1-channel system that doesn’t have compatibility with Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual:X, think of the HT S400 as an upgrade for the internal sound system of your TV instead of an entire home theater system. Also, films or TV shows as well as music will sound more powerful and more vibrant — as if they’ve been freed from their audio shackles -however, they fall from being truly immersive.
The HT S400 isn’t as powerful in the midranges, as they tend to sound hollow.
The most notable difference is the subwoofer that is wireless. It’s powerful enough to deliver the low-frequency sounds are associated with the blockbuster Hollywood films — roaring engines, approaching storms or the footsteps of a T-Rex all sound rich and exciting. The sub will not shake your couch or shake your teeth, however, given that the HT-S400 is likely to find a place in smaller rooms and condominiums it’s not a major issue.
It also has excellent clarity especially in the higher frequency range, giving everything from gunshots to squealing tires a thrilling and visceral experience. Sony offers an option to boost dialog, but I’ve found that I rarely required it.
But it’s true that the HT-S400 isn’t as effective in the mid-ranges, as they tend to sound somewhat hollow. This is evident while listening to music rather than watching TV, however there are occasions where I was expecting scenes from movies to be more rich than it actually did. A good example is of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune the Duke Leto’s flying ornithopter is nearing a harvester of spices. The sound is complex, as it’s a scene, with machinery and voices fighting each other. A higher midrange could have added real-world feel without diminishing quality of dialogue.
Sony’s S-Force Pro virtual surround sound excels at broadening the soundstage to the outside and also adding some depth. It’s not overprocessed. I’ve found that I want to use it for both music and TV content. As good as it sounds it is, you’ll have to remain realistic about your expectations. It’s not going to make up the lack of surround speakers that are physically present however it is definitely more enjoyable than the standard stereo display mode. I was awed by how close with the real Dolby Atmos features I’ve encountered in devices like Vizio M-Series 2.1 and the Vizio M-Series 2.1 and Sonos Beam Gen 2..
As I’ve mentioned, Bluetooth lets you stream audio from any device that is compatible as well as the only method of listening to music with the HT-S400 without turning on your television. Similar to the majority of Bluetooth connections there’s no high-end audio experience, and Sony does not even try to enhance it using AAC or aptX compatibility. It’s also the tiniest mid-range definition that prevents it from being an ideal replacement for music-focused soundbars such as those from the Sonos Beam or the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 however, considering that these speakers cost more than $100 and don’t come with subwoofers that are wireless, it’s possible that this comparison isn’t honest.
I’m curious to know if some EQ adjustments could help to offset some of the weaknesses in the midrange However, Sony will not let you alter anything else that the amount of low-end emanating out of the subwoofer.
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With an impressive wireless subwoofer, the HT S400 is a simple method to take your TV viewing to the highest level. For the cost Sony is offering for it, we believe it should provide better mid-range resolution and some additional features.
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Are there alternatives to this?
There are many competitors that are worth mentioning — particularly due to their pricing:
- The $80 Vizio Model 2.1 (M215a-J6) costs significantly less, has many more ports (including one that is an HDMI bypass port to stream video) and also supports the virtual Dolby Atmos. The M215a-J6 also suffers from the same issue in the mid-range that the HT S400 has, but at a price that isn’t much more than $200 I’m willing to overlook the fact that it is.
- The price of $250 for the Polk React Smart Soundbar isn’t equipped with a wireless subwoofer, however it’s an expandable unit which allows you to add an additional subwoofer and surround speaker in the event that you’re looking for these. It’s got excellent audio quality overall and provides more mid-range power than the HT-S400. A nice bonus is that it has Amazon Alexa and Wi-Fi built-in which allows it to be utilized as a smart speaker and also as part of a multi-room audio system.
- For those who want an all-inclusive 5.1 surround audio system, it’s extremely difficult not to outdo the $300 Vizio M-Series 5.1 (M51a-H6), that is priced at similar price to the Sony however, it offers a far more immersive audio experience in the home.
How long is it expected to last?
Sony’s products are generally well-built and reliable. I don’t see any reason to believe that the HT-S400 shouldn’t last the length of time you’ll need it to. Firmware updates are likely to be rare, however, if they do come out by Sony, you’ll be able install them with the USB thumb drive. Sony offers the HT-S400 with the standard one-year warranty.
Do you need to buy it?
Yes. While it’s expensive for the features you receive it’s worth it. the HT-S400 is still an excellent option to enhance your TV’s sound. The owners who own the Sony Bravia TVs and other versions equipped with A2DP Bluetooth who want a wireless connection to their soundbar may be able to purchase it, however we’re apprehensive that it could lower the quality of sound significantly.