Think you can't afford a soundbar and subwoofer with surround sound? Sony disagrees. | Cult of Mac

Think you can’t afford a soundbar and subwoofer with surround sound? Sony disagrees.

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Sony's new soundbar and subwoofer combo add surround sound to your TV for $300.
Sony's new soundbar and subwoofer combo add surround sound to your TV for $300.
Photo: Sony

Hot on the heels of Denon’s launch of a soundbar-and-subwoofer combo with Dolby Atmos for just $449, Sony said Thursday it will offer its own affordable surround-sound rig for only $300. It’s the HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar, set for launch in April.

At that price, Sony’s new soundbar looks like a solid budget-friendly option for stellar TV audio. Pumping out 330W of sound, it comes with a wireless subwoofer, easy connectivity to the company’s newest TVs and an OLED heads-up display.

Judging by the Denon and Sony launches, it appears an era of high-quality, affordable TV audio solutions is upon us. After all, just months ago, companies raced to put out similar gear that cost many hundreds of dollars more, in many cases.

Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar

Sony said it will launch a new virtual surround-sound solution it calls the HT-S400 2.1-ch Soundbar. It features virtual surround sound via its proprietary S-Force PRO Front Surround and Dolby Digital. While a large wireless subwoofer provides extra punch and depth, the soundbar’s “unique digital sound field processing technology virtually reproduces the surround sound field” for an immersive experience, the company said.

The HT-S400 2.1-ch Soundbar takes advantage of wireless Bluetooth, HDMI ARC and optical audio connectivity. That means you can use it with virtually any display. That said, it’s designed for easy integration with Sony’s Bravia displays.

“Thanks to an integrated user interface, the soundbar settings automatically appear on the BRAVIA TV’s Quick Settings menu for easy control of sound settings and volume with BRAVIA’s remote control,” Sony said. “To minimize cable clutter, the HT-S400 soundbar has been built to receive audio wirelessly from a BRAVIA TV for an easy, wireless connection.”

Night and voice modes

Sony’s new soundbar-and-subwoofer rig features different modes to suit what you watch or listen to. A night mode lets you take in TV and movies while others sleep. A voice mode enables clearer dialogue in programming like films, news and sports.

Sony includes a remote control with the soundbar, of course. But it also features a nearly hidden OLED display panel under the front grille. The display “offers at-a-glance status information on remote control functions, including input source, volume, and sound settings.”

The new Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar ships starting in April for $299.99. In the meantime, you can sign up for email notifications on Sony’s website.

Price: $299.99

Where to buy: Sony