Many households use an extra speaker set with the TV to replace the standard built-in speakers. The sound has more volume and is often also an added value while watching an exciting movie for example. Because not everyone wants to fill their entire living room with a full setup, a 2.1 set in the form of a soundbar and subwoofer the perfect alternative. The Sony HT-S400 is a good example and is also very affordable.
When you are looking for a good addition to your TV in terms of audio then you quickly end up with a soundbar or home cinema set. Over the years, this market has expanded considerably and models and prices vary widely. The Sony HT-S400 is a 2.1-set, which consists of a soundbar and a wireless subwoofer. Upon unpacking, we encounter both components and immediately notice that they differ from each other when we talk about the build quality and material chosen. The soundbar is about 90 centimeters wide and is mostly made of plastic, with a metal layer on top. This immediately makes the soundbar look and feel a bit more exclusive. This is something they didn’t do with the subwoofer. Indeed, this one looks and feels a bit less premium as well. Normally it is not in everyone’s sight, but for the eye you want to have a nice complete set. The subwoofer is relatively large in the process, measuring 19 x 38 by 40 centimeters.
The installation process of the HT-S400 is child’s play and can be done by almost anyone without any technical knowledge. There is a power cable for both the soundbar and subwoofer and an HDMI-ARC or optical cable is needed to connect the soundbar to the TV. That’s all to make use of the speaker set. Wireless speakers often require pairing through a pairing process that often involves pressing buttons to enter a pairing mode. In this case Sony got it right by automatically pairing the set and this also happens pretty quickly after turning it on. If you own a Sony Bravia TV or a TV that supports A2DP Bluetooth, it is even possible to pair the HT-S400 wirelessly with your TV so you don’t have to use an optical cable or HDMI cable.
Once connected, you can sit back on the couch and listen to your favorite program, series or movie. Operating the soundbar is almost as easy as connecting it. The remote has only the highly necessary buttons and there aren’t many of them. Think of a power button, volume button and a control for the present bass. These are the buttons you will probably use the most, but there are more. There is the so-called Night mode where you can mute or even turn off the sound completely at the touch of a button, a Voice button to bring the dialog more to the fore, and a Sound Field button. The latter is perhaps somewhat misleading, as you would expect it to allow you to switch between various profiles, such as movie, cinema or music, switching between various pre-configured audio settings. Unfortunately, this is not part of the feature, but is meant to enable or disable the surround effect. It might have been a better choice to also offer the ability to adjust the sound settings more to taste.
When we look at the sound quality, we have mixed feelings about it. The Sony HT-S400 is a set that can be scaled in the relatively cheap speaker sets considering the recommended retail price at the time of writing is just above the €200,- lies. With this in mind you get a fine set that for many home users will be good enough to complement your TV. Fans who want a little more will soon notice that the HT-S400 is not entirely optimal in terms of sound quality. The subwoofer is very present and often even drowns out the midrange, making the bass too much present. When you lower the level of the bass, the sound becomes a bit too faint again. In general, the set produces a fine sound that fits the price range and you will certainly not miss out on a purchase with this either.
The relatively low price makes the Sony HT-S400 a great addition to your standard TV sound. The sound quality is also in proportion, but leaves something to be desired. It is a shame, though, that the soundbar and subwoofer are not of the same build quality and materials.