Sony Shows It’s Still a Strong Contender When It Comes to Soundbars

Sony Shows It’s Still a Strong Contender When It Comes to Soundbars

Earlier this week, I published my review of Sony’s latest Bravia XR OLED TV, a TV that I said boasted beautiful contrast, but that it was too dull for me to get over and be content with the TV as worth your investment. What that TV had, though, was brilliant sound – with the sound coming through the actual screen, not just from around it, it almost gave off a soundbar-like scape. So it comes as no surprise that the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar blew me away.

Sony HT-S2000 soundbar

The Sony HT-S2000 soundbar is a new edition to the company’s 2023 audio-visual range. It’s a 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/ DTS:X soundbar that features powerful, cinematic surround sound. They’re Sony’s words, and I didn’t quote them, because I completely agree.

According to Sony, the HT-S2000 soundbar boasts a newly developed upmixer, which delivers a three-dimensional surround experience even when you’re playing stereo content, like TV shows and streamed music.

The soundbar will set you back $695 and the only thing I don’t like about it is the fact that even though it’ll work with most TVs, it’s best paired with a Sony one.

Setup and ease of use

With a Samsung TV in my loungeroom paired with a Samsung soundbar and a quite old Soniq powered by an Apple TV and two HomePods in my bedroom, I headed to my folks’ place to connect the HT-S2000 to my dad’s 55-inch Sony X9000F 4K LED TV. Besides, Sony makes soundbars to go with its TVs so I thought it was the most polite thing to do.

Set up was a breeze. Plug the soundbar into power, then into your TV with a HDMI cable. Download the Sony app (another bloody app), and allow it to find the soundbar. Once it does, you’re prompted with a handful of tasks or things to confirm, and that’s really it – the soundbar will be connected and will, providing you’re using a Sony TV, now take on the sound duties and it can be controlled via the TV remote.

Within the app, you can control the bass level, choose what type of audio scape you want, and toggle the volume up or down, too.

Sony HT-S2000 soundbar

But how does it sound?

Having just watched The Great Wall on Netflix a day prior, dad suggested we fast-forward to the battle scenes to really test the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar. There was a very stark sound of drums beating, yet everything else was silent. The drums were coming through seemingly all around me, immersing me right in the middle of the impending doom. The …little monster guys (???) could be heard running, creeping up on those atop the wall and every scuffle of their feet could be heard with precision, but not blocking the sound from the rest of the scene.

The centre speaker of the HT-S2000 sends out clear dialogue, while the built-in dual subwoofer still delivers the deep bass. This was very clear once boulders, swords, and people talking above the screams were peppering the scene. When arrows were being shot, it sounded like the started behind me on the left and landed in front of me on the right, after swooshing past my face. The screeching from the monsters was clear, yet not high-pitched, with the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar keeping all sounds at a level that added to the experience of the entire scene. I’ve never heard human flesh be devoured so crsiply. There was sound going on from the left, chomping on the right, in the middle a sword pushing straight into flesh – this scene isn’t for everyone, obviously.

Regardless, the soundbar did a brilliant job of delivering 3D sound and choosing the right sounds to overtake others.

Sony HT-S2000 soundbar
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The sound was a little bit delayed (as in, the movie was playing but sound took a while to reconnect) when fast-forwarding through the movie, but dad said that’s not unusual, it’s something he experiences with his TCL TS8132 Soundbar, too. Must be a TV thing.

We then switched on a little bit of free-to-air TV, with the morning 9 News reader sounding more like I was listening to a podcast than in a TV studio. It was isolated, crisp, clear, and clean and when it changed to a voiceover with b-roll filling the screen, his voice wasn’t lost. There was absolutely no Dolby Atmos and or DTS:X sound going on here with the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar, yet it was still somewhat of a cinematic-sounding experience. A nice way to listen to the news, made me think it was fiction for a brief moment.

Heading over to sport and the roaring of the crowd made me feel like I was back at the stadium watching this game live (that’s me, under the Allam sign, can you see?). As with the news anchor, the commentators were audible, with dialogue overpowering the action on-field, but not in a bad way.


Not pictured in these shots are the enormous speakers and amp/sub setup my dad has. They’re not important for the purpose of this review, but they do give context that the man loves to listen to music through quality speakers, so, naturally, next up was the music test. We opted for the live recording of the Hotel California by the Eagles at the Capital Theatre. It’s an old recording, one that’s been remastered and uploaded to YouTube. So the quality is OK, but by no means great.

That didn’t really matter, though.

It was actually quite good. It’s too tinny to be a full-time music speaker, but reducing the volume was more than fine and it would be perfect if you’re sitting in front of the screen watching live festival feeds or sitting right by it having old music videos on while you do something else. Anything more, I’d never recommend a soundbar, anyway.

Opting for ‘Sound Field’ in the Sony app made the HT-S2000 soundbar elevate the vocals a bit more, providing a more evenly blended background sound. The vocals were gorgeous, but the instruments did fade away a little too much for my liking.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Interestingly, when Sony announced the HT-S2000 soundbar, many were labelling it the “Sonos Beam Killer” – this was the soundbar I used at home before the Samsung TV and soundbar pair was installed a few weeks ago. The first thing I said to my dad when the sound started coming through was that it sounds exactly the same. If it wasn’t a different colour, I’d have needed to double check I took the right one with me.

The other stuff

I like that the soundbar looks like a soundbar, but the fact it just comes in black and looks like a soundbar might not appeal to you. The remote is unasuming, but not necessary if you have a Sony TV, and the app is user-friendly, though it could do with a few more options.


On the fourth pic above, you can really see just how perfectly the HT-S2000 soundbar fits below a Sony TV.

Final thoughts

The room I tested the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar in was around 30 square feet, (with an open staircase sucking up some sound, too), almost double the size of the loungeroom in my apartment. While this soundbar in this particular room would be best paired with a sub and rear speakers, in my space, you wouldn’t need it.

The HT-S2000 soundbar delivers crisp, bass-heavy tones in a way that truly showcases just how much Sony is still well and truly a master when it comes to sound. The company may have all but given up on making really good TVs, but it definitely hasn’t when it comes to soundbars.

It’s an all-round great soundbar, better if you’ve got a Sony TV.

Where to buy the Sony HT-S2000 soundbar

Sony Australia $695 | Harvey Norman $695 | The Good Guys $699

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