Sony HT-S350

Verdict

The 2.1 channel & 320 watt-peak Sony HT-S350 soundbar is an entry level offering with wireless 6-inch subwoofer which delivers virtual multi-channel sound enhancing movie experience over your TV speakers.

This soundbar delivers virtual multichannel surround experience using Sony’s S-Force PRO Front processing. The soundbar is great for movies but not so good for music because it always converts 2.1 channel into virtual multichannel output, thus losing fidelity of stereo sound.

It has Dolby Digital and HDMI ARC but lacks Dolby Atmos, DTS, HDMI eARC or voice assistant support.

  • Easy setup
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Excellent bass upto mid volume
  • Great for movies
  • No display
  • No HDMI eARC
  • No Dolby Atmos, No DTS/DTS:X
  • Virtual surround always delivers multichannel output instead of stereo

Why should you buy Sony HT-S350?

  • You prefer uncomplicated setups
  • You are looking for best quality soundbars ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 17,000 (USD 278/ GBP 200) having HDMI ARC and Bluetooth 5.0
  • You prefer wireless subwoofer

Sony HT-G700 soundbar is the more premium version with 3.1 channels, 400 watts peak power, wireless subwoofer, Dolby Atmos and HDMI eARC.

What is in the box?

  • Soundbar (1)
  • External wireless subwoofer (1)
  • Remote Control (1)
  • Optical Cable (1)
  • AAA Battery (2)
  • Startup Guide (1)
  • Operating Instructions (1)
  • Wall mounting template (1)

No HDMI cable has been provided. No 3.5mm AUX cable has been provided. Screws for wall mounting not provided.

Key features and first looks

Sony HT-S350
Courtesy: Sony

The Sony HT-S350 units available in India are made in Malaysia by Sony and imported into India by Sony Sony India Pvt. Ltd.

Overall build quality is excellent and Sony HT-S350 looks and feels premium.

Soundbar

Sony HT-S350
Courtesy: Sony

The soundbar unit has a flat top with leather textured finish. Printed Sony logo adorns the top left side. 

Easily accessible touch sensitive buttons for POWER, TV, BLUETOOTH, VOLUME+ & VOLUME- have been given on the top.

Sony HT-S350

The soundbar frame is made of sturdy glossy plastic. The glossy part is visible only at the sides, rear and bottom.

A grey coloured protective metal mesh grill in matt-finish wraps around the front and sides. 

At the rear are two screw mounting holes for hanging on the wall. The AC power cable is non-removable and is tethered permanently to the soundbar. 

At the rear are the input ports for HDMI ARC and OPTICAL IN. a USB-A port has been provided for firmware updates.

Sony HT-S350

Neither the soundbar unit nor the subwoofer unit has any display. Both have LEDs to display information. Various combinations of flashing LEDs display status of the soundbar. No one would like to remember morse-code-like flashing LED combinations to gauge the status of the soundbar. Sony could have provided a small display at this price point. 

The left and right speakers are placed behind the metal mesh grill, towards the extreme right and left of the soundbar unit.

Sony HT-S350

The Sony HT-S350 soundbar is 90 cm long and 6.4 cm high and can fit comfortably under your TV.

4 sturdy round rubber pads for slip-free placement have been provided. 

Wireless subwoofer

Sony HT-S350

The 150 Watt (peak) subwoofer is vertical type. It is made of MDF and has a 6 inch driver on the front-top with one large air vent port at the bottom-front.  Printed Sony logo adorns the top. 

Subwoofer has a wraparound metal mesh grill in grey matt-finish protecting the speaker. 

At the rear is the power ON button and LINK button for wireless pairing. An LED in the front indicates status.

4 rubber pads have been provided at the bottom.

What is the peak and rated/ RMS power of Sony HT-S350?

Sony HT-S350’s peak power output is 320 watts out of which the subwoofer’s peak power is 150 watts and the soundbar’s is 170 watts.

The rated power output of the soundbar unit is 90 watts but the rated power of subwoofer has not been disclosed.

Installation and Setup

Placement

You can keep the soundbar on the TV unit. four rubber feet allow for slip-free placement on table-tops.  

Alternatively you can hang it on the wall. 2 mounting holes for screws have been provided at the rear. Using the wall mounting template, drill and fix two screws (not provided) on the wall and hang the soundbar under or over your TV set.

Sony HT-S350
Courtesy: Sony HT-S350 Operating Instructions Booklet

Wall setup is simple with no bracket mountings, just two screws. In India, you can call the Sony service centre and they will send a service representative to set up your soundbar.

How to connect Sony HT-S350 to TV? 

Option A HDMI ARC Connect to TV which has HDMI ARC: using a high speed HDMI cable with ethernet (not provided), connect the HDMI ARC OUT of TV to the HDMI ARC IN at the back of the Soundbar. If all components have HDMI ARC, you can play multi-channel audio content. There is no need to use OPTICAL cable.

Option B HDMI- Connect to TV which does not have HDMI ARC: using high speed HDMI cable with/without ethernet (not provided), connect the HDMI OUT of TV to the HDMI ARC IN at the back of the Soundbar. Next, using optical cable (provided) connect the OPTICAL OUT of the TV to the OPTICAL IN of the soundbar. This setup will prevent audio sync delays.

Sony HT-S350

Option C Bluetooth- connect to TV using bluetooth. Press the BLUETOOTH button on the soundbar/ remote. Search HT-S350 using TV menu, select and pair. Default password is 0000. 

The Sony HT-S350 does not have 3.5mm AUX IN, or RCA IN. TV can be connected through HDMI, Optical and Bluetooth only. 

A USB A input has been provided but it cannot be used for audio playback. It is meant only for firmware updates.

How to connect the wireless subwoofer of Sony HT-S350? 

Place the subwoofer at a convenient location but about 1.0-1.5 meter near an AC wall socket because the tethered lead is around 2 meters long. Plug in, power up and switch it on via the ON button.  Then press the LINK button. Both ON and LINK buttons are at the rear. Usually the pairing with the soundbar unit will be automatic when you switch the subwoofer ON.

Connect the Subwoofer using ‘Secure Link’ if you use multiple HT-S350’s. To connect the subwoofer using ‘SECURE LINK’, press ‘LINK’ on the rear of the subwoofer. The LED flashes ORANGE. Next, press and hold the ‘SECURE LINK’ button on the remote for 5 seconds. 

How to connect mobile / tablet to Sony HT-S350 using Bluetooth?

To connect with Bluetooth, press the BLUETOOTH button on the remote or on the soundbar for 2 seconds till the indicator LED flashes in BLUE quickly. Search and select ‘HT-S350’ on the bluetooth device (mobile or tablet). The default password is ‘0000’.

If paired correctly, the LED indicator is set to BLUE. Upto 9 mobiles and 1 Sony Bluetooth TV can be connected.

IR (Infrared) Repeater Function

This is a thoughtful feature though it may not be put to use on most installations. If the soundbar is obstructing the remote control sensor of the TV, press and hold STANDARD on the Soundbar’s remote control for 5 seconds to set the IR REPEATER function to ON.

Sony HT-S350

This will now the TV remote control unfettered access to the TV. The Soundbar’s IR sensor will take in the TV remote’s signals and relay them onto the TV’s IR sensor through the IR port at the rear of the Soundbar. 

This feature is available on select Sony soundbars like the Sony HT-S8500 and Sony HT-G700.

Remote

The IR remote, powered by two AAA batteries, is slightly on the thicker side but narrow and comfortable to hold. 

Sony HT-S350

It has a large POWER button and TV & BLUETOOTH input buttons.

It has EQ preset buttons for CINEMA, MUSIC, VOICE, NIGHT & AUTO SOUND towards the top half. Additional EQ preset buttons for NEWS, GAME, STANDARD & SPORTS clustered towards the bottom. 

The master VOLUME buttons are placed on a larger dial rocker. 

Subwoofer volume can be controlled using the SW+ and SW- buttons.

How to control Sony HT-S350 using TV Remote?

  • Make sure your TV has ‘HDMI CEC’ or ‘Control for HDMI’ capability. These options will be visible in the TV menu
  • Make sure your TV has an ‘HDMI ARC’ port
  • Connect Sony HT-S350 to your TV’s HDMI ARC port using high speed HDMI cable with internet
  • Press and hold ‘VOICE’ on the soundbar remote for 5 seconds. HDMI CEC is ON and Bluetooth indicator flashes twice
  • If your TV does not detect HDMI CEC automatically, manually switch it ON through TV menu settings

Connecting a TV/ Blu- ray compatible with the Control for HDMI function enables you to easily operate the device by using a TV/or Blu- ray remote control. Control for HDMI is a standard used by CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) for allowing HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) devices to control each other.

Please note, in addition to the soundbar having HDMI Control this functionality, your TV also has to be capable of this, otherwise this function will not work in your setup. 

Features of the soundbar can you control-

  • When you switch on/ off the TV using its remote, the soundbar switches on/ off automatically
  • Volume of the soundbar can be adjusted using your TV remote. The number for the volume level of the Sound Bar is displayed on the TV screen depending on your TV

Standby mode

If the auto standby function is on, the Sony HT-S350 soundbar enters standby mode if no input is received for 20 minutes and no operation is done on it.

How to Reset the Sony HT-S350 soundbar?

If the Sony HT-S350 soundbar does not respond normally, you can reset it by-

  • Step 1: pressing and holding ‘Volume-’ and ‘Power’ buttons the soundbar for more than 5 seconds
  • Step 2: Disconnecting AC supply
  • Step 3: Reconnecting AC supply and powering ON

Review

Sound Modes of Sony HT-S350

AUTO SOUND- This is the Sony recommended mode optimized according to playback content and function. If you do not wish to get bothered too much about setting up sounds, I recommend you switch to AUTO to allow the soundbar to select the optimum sound mode for you.

CINEMA- Sounds are played back with surround effects, and they are realistic and powerful, making them suitable for movies.

MUSIC- Sound effects are optimized for listening to music.

GAME- Sounds are powerful and realistic, suitable for game play.

NEWS- Clear speech of newscasts is recreated.

SPORTS- You can experience an atmosphere as if you were watching an event in a stadium. However, narrations of commentators are reproduced vividly.

STANDARD- Sound effects are optimized for each individual source.

NIGHT- You can enjoy clear sound with low volume at midnight. When you turn the Sound Bar off, the night mode is set to off automatically. Very helpful for late night watching.

VOICE- You can make dialogues clearer.

AUDIO DRC- Press and hold AUDIO on the remote for 5 seconds to enter into this mode. You can compress the dynamic range of the audio signal (range between the maximum and minimum volume) and sound with low volume is easy to hear. This function works only when playing the Dolby Digital signal.

Sound: Music

Audio output through HDMI ARC is much better and louder as compared to Bluetooth. For a more lively experience, go for the MUSIC preset using remote.

This soundbar has Sony’s S-Force PRO Front which converts stereo sound to multichannel output like a virtual surround sound. While this creates a wide, room filling audio, it is not desirable when listening to music. Unfortunately, this feature is ‘always-on’ and you cannot turn it off.

So for those wishing to use it for parties and general listening, this will do a good job. But this soundbar may not suit audiophiles who prefer accurate hifi audio. 

The frequency response of the Soundbar is acceptable till mid sound level. The bass level can be changed using the remote. At peak bass levels the Soundbar does start to break up though. Treble is nice and clean till about mid volume level and starts to sound shrill at higher volume.

Bass: Bass at normal level is enjoyable and accurate. The 6 inch sub-woofer is good for party songs and bass-heavy music at about 50% volume level. But the bass loses all control at higher volume. The sub-woofer is not able to hold composure and starts to vibrate a bit. 

Stereo soundstage is not great considering the always-on S-FORCE PRO virtual surround. 

The soundbar can become very loud in small rooms. The soundbar can play at loud volumes and easily fills a mid sized room. 

Overall for music, the Sony HT-S350 delivers enjoyable room filling performance and decent bass at moderate listening levels but cannot be called audiophile-grade. Good for Pop, bollywood, jazz but OK-OK for hard rock.

Sound Movies

For enjoying movies, the CINEMA EQ preset can be selected through the remote but it is best to leave the EQ’s alone for movies if you are playing Dolby Digital content. 

The movie experience is better and Dolby Digital content played over HDMI ARC delivers the most enjoyable experience.

S-Force PRO Front Surround Sound for virtual surround sound delivers a room filling movie audio experience and punchy bass. Quality far outperforms that of TV speakers and the sub-woofer adds heft to action scenes without overpowering dialogues. 

The soundbar though, feels a bit underpowered at higher volumes relative to the subwoofer. 

The Sony HT-S350 does not have Dolby Atmos or DTS/DTS:X and the S-Force PRO cannot reproduce Atmos effects. 

Overall for movies, the Sony HT-S350 delivers superior performance over TV speakers with room filling, though not accurate, movie audio. This is an entry level Sony Soundbar. Sony’s higher-end models deliver better performance at higher price points. 

Sound: Daily Usage

For daily usage like watching news or sports, the respective preset can be selected using the remote. Sony HT-S350 Soundbar’s ‘News’ mode enhances the voice over other frequencies giving crisp and clear voice audio without straining your ears. 

‘Sports’ mode tries to give stadium-like audio. I found it to be a bit on the noisy side, a bit less enjoyable.

Specifications of Sony HT-S350

FeaturesSpecifications
No. of SpeakersSoundbar: 2 active speakers
Subwoofer: 1 active speaker
Power Output (Rated)Soundbar: 45 W + 45 W (at 4 ohm, 1 kHz, 1% THD)
Subwoofer: rated power not specified
Power Output (Reference)Total: 320 W
Soundbar: 85 W + 85 W (at 4 ohms 1 kHz)
Subwoofer: 150 Watt (at 2.5 ohm, 100 Hz)
Driver SizeSoundbar: 2inchx3.5inch (52mmx90mm)* 2 drivers
Subwoofer: 6.3 inch (160mm) * 1 driver
SizeSoundbar (L x D x H): 900mm x 88mm x 64mm
Subwoofer (L x D x H): 190mm x 390mm x 382mm
WeightSoundbar: 2.5 kg
Subwoofer: 7.8 kg
Power ConsumptionSoundbar: 30 W
Subwoofer: 25 W
Standby Mode: Subwoofer~0.5W; Soundbar~0.5W
SubwooferYes, Wireless
PortsHDMI ARC, Optical
BluetoothYes, v 5.0
FMNo