Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF Review: Best Sound Quality

For You get within your budget a well-built Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF home theater in a box.  That’s simple to set up with decent connectivity options. But, its music performance may not appeal to audiophiles and the low front channel separation is noticeable.

The lack of HDMI passthrough is missed. But, if you are new to the world of home theaters and are looking to invest in a simple, convenient, best sounding out of a box solution, then you can consider the Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF.

Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF Review: Best Sound Quality

To enhance your TVs sound power, you have two options to choose from. The first is a soundbar which will give you a better 2.1 channel experience. The second is a home theater in a box which will not only improve the sound from your TV, but also give you a local sound experience.  

You get within your budget a simple plug and play setup.  Is the Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF a worthy home theater in a box?

Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF: Full Features

  • Total Maximum Power: 1000W
  • Soundbar Weight: 3kg
  • Subwoofer Weight: 9kg
  • Rear Speaker Weight: 1kg
  • Audio Inputs: Optical-audio input, Analogue audio input (stereo mini), USB type A, Bluetooth
  • Soundbar’s Dimension: 900 x 64 x 90 m.m
  • Subwoofer’s Dimensions: 207 x 402 x 330 m.m
  • Back Speaker Dimensions: 91 x 216 x 91 m.m
  • HDMI Input: 0
  • HDMI Output (Audio Return Channel): 1

Body and Design

A conventional 5.1 home theater has 5 separate speakers representing each of the channels and one subwoofer. Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF has decided to integrate the front three channels in one soundbar that will sit flush below your TV. There are advantages and disadvantages to this body design built that we will highlight in the performance section but let’s start with the build.

The Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF is very well built. It has a metallic net grill covering the front protecting the drivers. You can see the drivers by the grill. At the bottom it has 8 rubber feet which give it good grip when hidden on a table.

You can also wall mount the Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF if you like. A virtue thing about buying this system in the USA is that you can call a Sony technician to install the system for you, ensuring you get a perfect setup for your room.

There is no display on the Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF. The display is on the subwoofer which we will catch in a bit. For aesthetic references, the Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF is slightly smaller in length than the 50-inch TV that we have which means that if you have a behemoth of a TV, this soundbar may seem small. But, if you have a 43, 50 or 55-inch TV, you should be fine with this.

The cabling for the speakers is not detachable and it is integrated into the soundbar and the speakers. This is best because you don’t need to worry about connecting the cables correctly to each speaker.

All Setup 

 Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF When it comes to connectivity, the home stage has optical—audio input.  Analogue audio input (stereo very small) and USB type A. It also has HDMI ARC ( Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF Audio Return Channel), but there is no HDMI input for passthrough which is a bummer.

This means that if you use HDMI to connect the  audio speakers to your TV, then you are losing out on a port of the TV. Setting up the home stage is as easy as dialing  Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF‘s helpline number and waiting for an engineer to turn up and install it for you.

Just remember. The rear surround speakers should be at ear height and facing you to get the best possible knowledge from the system.

However this is where the length of the bundled cables is helpful. There is an HDMI cable in the box of the system which is nice, but the length can be a problem if you don’t want to keep the sub under the TV.

Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF coming to the remote control, it is built of plastic. Feels minimalistic and is ergonomic. It is lightweight, and buttons are rubbery making them simple to press. The power and source buttons are right at the top making them simple to reach. 

The remote gives you access to a bunch of features such as auto audio sound, subwoofer level controls, sound modes, playback controls and extra. There is also a Dimmer button which dims the display on the sub for an over immersive viewing experience.

The remote is simple and easy to use and when we paired the system with a TV using HDMI ARC; all the primary volume button and playback controls were usable through the TVs remote control. Overall the remote control is functional, simple to use with one hand and has a convenient layout.

Audio Performance

I especially played music from Apple Music, YouTube on a smartphone and connected it to the speaker via Bluetooth. I played some Free Fire, Charlie Puth, Pink Floyd, Wake Me Up by Avicii, and more than.

One thing to note is that the system can deliver excellent bass. The audio comes from the enclosed speakers as well as the front left and right, giving you a very holistic sound. You can control the level of bass via the remote control and keeping the system at music settings gives the best output. 

Sony Soundbar HT-S500RF’s Clarity of instruments can be an issue and if you set up the home stage in a little room, then the audio doesn’t sound great. You will need to set it up in a living room to really enjoy it. Ideally the size of the room should be about 16 feet wide and 21 feet long to enjoy the home stage experience.

If you are an audio lover, you are better off investing in a good pair of studio monitors at the same price. But, for the average joe looking for a multipurpose system, this one can get the job done.

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