Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Introduction
Sony has launched a new 2.1-channel soundbar named HT-S350 in India. The new soundbar succeeds the bar of its Sony HT-CT290 2.1, and its price is lower than that of its predecessor. The HT-CT290 is available in India at Rs 18,999, while the new Sony HT-S350 is priced at Rs 17,990. The affordable soundbar is for those who want a fast home theater setup without having to invest a lot of lakh there.
The HT-S350 is equipped with a 6.30-inch speaker, along with a wireless subwoofer with a total power of 320W, designed to produce deeper bass. It is a 2.1-channel system, which also includes a wireless subwoofer and supports Sony surround sound technology, such as the Vertical Surround Engine and the S-Force Pro Front Surround System. The Sony HT-S350 sports a perforated metal finish that matches the design of Sony Bravia TVs.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Design
The central unit of the HT-S350 is a relatively small bar of 2.7 x 35.5 x 3.5 inches (HWD), with a black outline with touch buttons on the top panel made of leatherette and a grid oriented towards the front covering the drivers. The buttons are used for power, TV (optical source), Bluetooth source and volume, as well as indicators for MultiChannel, TV or Bluetooth modes: they are labeled up, but the LEDs are turned back from the grid. Also under the grille, front-mounted drivers produce audio, in conjunction with the wireless subwoofer for 320W of power.
The subwoofer measures approximately 15.2 x 15.3 x 7.5 inches, has the shape of a computer tower and houses a 6.3-inch driver. In terms of connectivity, the HT-S350 has an HDMI (ARC) output and an optical input, with an included optical cable. The rear panel also houses an IR repeater to transmit the signal from the remote control to the TV. You have a 6.2-inch black oblong remote control with buttons in the top section for power, TV and Bluetooth sources, and many sound modes including Auto, Cinema, Music, Night and Voice.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Setup
Installing the HT-S350 is extremely simple, especially for TVs with HDMI ARC. Just plug in the bar and subwoofer, connect a high-speed HDMI cable (not supplied) to your TV’s HDMI ARC port and you’re probably done. This should also allow the remote control of your TV to control the volume. However, in some cases, you may need to enable the ARC and HDMI-CEC options in your TV’s settings menu and change the output sound to External Speaker or Receiver.
If your TV does not have HDMI ARC, connect via the included optical cable, although this means that you will need to add remote control to the mix. As mentioned earlier, the new Sony TVs can also connect to the bar via Bluetooth.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Features
Speaking of its features, the Sony HT-S350 boasts a metal finish, with Bluetooth connectivity, that allows wireless coupling of speakers to an audio source, including smart TVs, mobile phones or computers. The speakers also have an HDMI ARC port.
Sony says its new soundbar offers a more luxurious theater-style surround sound experience, while the 6.30-inch subwoofer with a 6.16-gallon volume further enhances this experience and gives users an experience incomparable movie viewing. The total power of the subwoofer is 320W. At the back of the bar is an infrared repeater in case it blocks the infrared sensor of your TV and a compartment for the connection ports. This is the first soundbar we remember to have encountered zero analog input, which means that you’ll not be able to connect a turntable or aging TV without an adapter.
Bluetooth offers a way to connect wirelessly to the latest Sony TVs, as well as to stream to the soundbar from your phone. There is, however, no Wi-Fi support, which would have been suitable for streaming music of better quality, but again, we are not surprised that it lacks at this level. Unlike our favorite soundbar in its class, the Yamaha YAS-207, the HT-S350 also requires a second HDMI port to connect directly to a Blu-ray player, broadcast device or game console to allow it to handle audio decoding.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Performance
As noted above, this system removes some powerful sounds, especially when it comes to its beefy subwoofer, which adds punch to your favorite movies. We had lots of fun with John Wick: Chapter 2, while the icy upper part leaned into the techno soundtrack and tarnished steel collisions, and the subwoofer warmed the multiple explosions, a barrage of blows punch and the torrential stream of balls.
The system has some problems with softer TV programming, however, in part because of a hissing feel in the upper midrange, which can occasionally cause dialogue and effects to take on a high pitch. This was intensified when using the voice key, to the point where we dropped it.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar – Verdict
For a soundbar system 2.1 at this price, the Sony HT-S350 is a good deal. The various audio modes and subwoofer levels allow many settings, but the sound is already very good at first. The Sony’s HT-S350 has all the appeal of the other 2.1 soundbars – it is a system rather than a single part, and it’s much easier to install than two library speakers – but the sum of these parts is a bit too constraining. We would have liked to see more connectivity options or just better sound at this price.