A good soundbar has two important features: of course a nice sound, but also ease of use. Because not everyone is convinced of the idea behind the soundbar, manufacturers have to score well on both points. How about the Sony HT-SF150?
The sound on a television is often moderate to sufficient. However you want to describe it, there is always room for improvement. That is why there are various receivers, speakers and sound bars. The question is always how much you want to spend on such an ‘extra’ product and which is worth its price. The Sony HT-SF150 has a suggested retail price of 150 euros, but is often available online for two decades less. Can you get a good soundbar for that amount? A comprehensive look at this new Sony budget.
Sony HT-SF150 – design and specifications
The Sony HT-SF150 is a pretty wide soundbar. That is not only better for the sound: it is also nicer among large televisions (but if you have a television that is wider than ninety centimeters, then you undoubtedly have a different soundbar or other audio system in mind). There are two speakers in the housing, which are good for 120 watts of power. On the back is an optical input, an HDMI connection (with support for cec and arc) and a USB connection.
Via that USB connection you can directly play music play, but not in any format. The soundbar offers support for wav, mp3 and wma. In addition, there is support for Dolby Digital and you can count on bluetooth, version 4.2. So you can play sound in many different ways, but not via Wi-Fi or the internet. In addition, there is no extra HDMI connection available, so you have a port standard on your television. Anyway, how much can you expect for 150 euros?
At the front of the soundbar there is a single LED light. This light is on when you use the remote control and when the Sony HT-SF150 is activated. On the top are some buttons for the most basic operation of the device. Super convenient for when you are just in front and not at the remote control. You control the sound, switch the soundbar on and off and change sources. You can also immediately activate the bluetooth mode. Furthermore, a remote control is included.
Sony HT-SF150 – installation
Installing the Sony HT-SF150 is a piece of cake. The box contains an optical cable that allows you to connect the soundbar to your television, but it may be that your modern television has no opening for it. That’s why we recommend using an HDMI cable (we did that too). Anyway: you plug the cable into both the devices, tell your TV that there is now a soundbar and you can immediately start listening. You can also connect bluetooth devices: that is the now known process.
Sony HT-SF150 – in use
Because the soundbar offers support for hdmi-cec it is possible to operate the device with your own remote control. For example, you can adjust the volume or turn the Sony HT-SF150 on and off. The soundbar also comes with its own remote control and that is one that Sony supplies with multiple soundbars. As a result, there are buttons for functions that this soundbar does not have. That is difficult at first, but you quickly know which buttons can and can not be used.
Do not put this remote control directly in the drawer, because you need it for changing audio modes. You can not do that without the remote, since your own remote control logically does not have these buttons. The remote is comfortable in the hand and the buttons are all easily accessible, so it is fortunately all user-friendly. You can also use the remote control to change sources quickly or activate the Bluetooth mode immediately, so you do not have to go to the soundbar yourself.
Sony HT-SF150 – audio quality
On the field of audio does not make the Sony HT-SF150 look good, but looking at the price is not a big surprise. Let’s put one thing first: the sound produced by the soundbar is in fact clearer and better than the standard sound of the television, but in many cases also sharper. Especially when you activate the cinematic sound mode. In an action scene where, for example, the broken glass of a window falls on the floor after someone has just been thrown through it, the sound sounds sharp and unpleasant and almost cacophonically. Especially when music is being played.
It is simply put too busy for the soundbar, so the production of a fine sound seems to be too ambitious. To counteract that a bit, you can activate the normal mode, but then you will miss some form of strength again – the spectacular display will then stay out. The position for clear conversations seems to be good at first, but falls through the basket when, in the background, music is used in the background. That too is suddenly audible and sounds unnecessarily loud.
The music is also a bit disappointing. Although the sound sounds decent and produces warm tones far away, the lack of a good bass response is clearly audible. The low tones do not come through well and sound dull, making a large amount of songs sound less dynamic. However, if we keep it simple and watch TV programs, the soundbar performs well. Conversations are easy to understand and sounds do not sound harsh, sharp or harsh; the soundbar is clearly meant for this.
That said, we have to let the Sony know that the sound can fill a room and does not sound limited. When you watch (quiet) films or series, or even listen to music, you do not feel that the sound comes from a compact box in front of the television. Other sound bars within this segment are often smaller (mainly smaller), so that the sound is also directed into the room. The Sony HT-SF150 does not do this: the sound reproduction is a bit disappointing with certain content, but it is fired broadly at the listener.
Sony HT-SF150 – conclusion
Sony does a lot things are okay with the Sony HT-SF150. It is an inexpensive sound bar that is mainly about ease of use. The simple plug-and-play principle comes out well. Unfortunately Sony supplies an optical, instead of an hdmi cable in the box, but with a small investment you have a good hdmi cable. The soundbar is connected and set up so that you can get started with the device very quickly. The included remote control is also comfortable.
However, for the amount of 129 to 150 euros you do not have to expect a lot from the sound. We are not impressed by the different modes and sometimes sounds cacophonous when it gets too crowded. That said it is true that the sound is most likely (unless you have a built-in soundbar) sounds better than through the built-in speakers of your television.
It is also just what kind of situation you will use this soundbar. Because the soundbar is fortunately able to send the sound wide into the room, it can sound a bit better when you use the Sony HT-SF150 in a smaller room. Moreover, it can be a nice addition to your viewing experience when you watch a lot of TV programs, because the audio reproduction is generally quite clear and tight. But the device does not come close to a cinema experience – whatever you may not expect.