Sony HT-S20R vs HT-G700: Which Soundbars Better?

рисунок 20 Reviews

Sony today announces two new soundbars, HT-G700 And HT-S20R. Thanks to the new models, you will be able to fully experience the sound of movies and TV shows: a powerful and immersive sound experience directly in your home.

Sony HT-G700 Soundbar Review

Soundbars have cemented themselves as must-haves if you want to enhance the sound from your flat-screen TV without investing in a dedicated home theatre setup. The biggest advantage of a soundbar is that it is easy to set up and with connectivity like HDMI ARC (or in this case eARC), and can also decode audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

Whether they can simulate surround sound effectively is a debate for another day. Today we have with us the Sony HT-G700. It is a 3.1 soundbar and brings with it a host of features like HDMI eARC along with HDMI passthrough, support for Dolby Atmos and a wireless subwoofer. Being a simple 3.1 setup, this soundbar claims to give you an immersive surround sound experience.

What’s in the Box

In the box you get a soundbar along with a wireless subwoofer. You also get a remote control in the box, an HDMI cable and wall mounting brackets. You also get two AAA batteries. The remote control included with the system is compact and has all the necessary functions. It’s very similar to the remote control we saw with the Sony HT-S20R (review), and that’s good. Instead of Sony’s vertical surround sound, which can be found on the HT-Z9F remote control (review) Sony HT-X8500 (review), we have an immersive AE button, and we’ll talk more about this in the performance section. Be aware that when you use ARC (or eARC) to connect the sound bar to the TV, you can control the panel using the TV remote control.

Connectivity Options and Setup

As for connectivity, the soundbar has an HDMI port for headphones and one HDMI port for data transmission, which supports 4K HDR transmission, including Dolby Vision at 4K/60P/YUV 4:4:4. It also boasts Sony BRAVIA SYNC function, which means you can connect the soundbar by wireless network connection to some Sony Bravia TVs. At a similar price, we have seen sound panels such as the JBL SB450 (review) with 3 HDMI ports with 4K HDR support (but without Dolby Vision support). The Sony HT-G700 also has an optical port, a USB port, and also supports Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity.

We have seen that the Yamaha YAS-209 has Wi-Fi and Ethernet support, as well as a built-in Alexa function. You can also control the Yamaha using a special smartphone app. All of these features are missing from the Sony HT-G700, and if you want to use them on the Sony soundbar, you’ll have to consider the HT-Z9F.

The Sony HT-G700 soundbar boasts support for DTS-X and Dolby Atmos, which is nice. However, without the overhead speakers or rear speakers, we were interested to see how surround sound works based on the objects on this panel.

The soundbar setup can be done in less than 5 minutes. The soundbar connects to the subwoofer wirelessly. Just plug them into a power source, plug the HDMI cable into your TV’s ARC port and into the HDMI out port on the soundbar, and you’re done. Just remember that some TVs require you to manually switch to ARC in the sound settings.

Thanks to eARC support, this soundbar is promising and will work with 2019 and 2020 flagship TVs that support eARC. Simply put, eARC has a higher bandwidth than ARC, and also provides bar access to DTS:X and Dolby Atmos content.

Once the soundbar and subwoofer are connected and turned on, you should see a green indicator in the front upper left corner of the subwoofer. If the indicator is red, it is not synchronized with the soundbar. If it is green, it means that it is connected and ready to work.

Assembly and Design

A high-quality finish is the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the soundbar for the first time. Unlike the HT-Z9F, which has a glossy finish, this one has a matte finish and the front grille is not removable. It has an industrial design with slightly curved edges and a certain weight. Despite the fact that the soundbar has a small depth, it does not look intrusive when you look at it from the front. Only from the outside you understand how big the soundbar is, and this is not bad at all, given that it has an excellent design and build quality.

All ports are conveniently located at the back of the sound bar in the cavity, which simplifies cable management. The soundbar also has a display on the front, and it only turns on when the soundbar is on. Place the sound bar under the TV with a diagonal of 50 to 65 inches, and it will look like at home.

The wireless subwoofer is large and quite heavy. The subwoofer works from the front, and the pairing button is hidden from the back. A barely noticeable green indicator on the front, indicating that the subwoofer is connected to the soundbar, is a nice touch. There are times when it seems that the subwoofer has probably disconnected from the soundbar, and one glance at the tiny green light dispels these doubts. It’s a subtle thing, but I really appreciate it, since I don’t have to get up and go to the back of the soundbar to check if the connection is stable.

The soundbar also has a touch control on top to control things like power, source, Bluetooth and volume.

Overall, the Sony HT-G700 is a very well-built premium soundbar with a simple industrial design.

Performance

Before we get to the pure sound performance of the soundbar, let’s figure out a few things. Firstly, unlike the HT-Z9F, which provided you with an on-screen menu when connected via HDMI, this one does not. You’ll have to rely on the small display on the front of the soundbar if you want to change any settings.

Despite the fact that it is functional and does its job, the lack of the ability to view settings on a large screen is a bit disappointing, especially when the setup process on the HT-Z9F was so simple and convenient to use. But again, this panel is designed to be more of a plug-and-play solution with fewer options to work with, so someone like me who likes to dig into the settings is just finding fault here.

Secondly, even though the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, don’t expect the sound to come from above or behind you. At best, expect a wider sound stage up front when consuming content. Having said that, I think we should all be realistic about surround sound without special surround speakers. Unless we’re talking about something like Sennheiser Ambeo or Sony HT-ST5000.

Let’s break down the soundbar performance into movies, music, and game performance.

Films

This soundbar is very loud. I placed it in my living room, which for reference is approximately 20 by 13 feet. I was sitting 6 feet away from my TV, right in the middle of the sound bar, and was amazed at how loud this sound bar could be. The soundbar has 400 watts of power, and you can feel it, especially when you increase the volume to 80 percent. In a movie like “A Quiet Place,” the sound was tuned to 75 percent volume, and there was absolute silence before one of the characters screamed on the screen, and background music turned on, and the clarity of the sound along with the volume was truly breathtaking.

Even in a movie like Mission Impossible, in which Tom Cruise sweeps across the screen on a motorcycle, the channel separation from left to right was excellent. Even the dialogues spoken during the action sequences are extremely clear. All of the above content is available in 5.1 via OTT services.

Netflix is one of the service providers that offers movies and TV shows in Dolby Atmos format. And, as I said above, don’t expect the sound to come from above you. In any case, expect a little more clarity in the spoken dialogues. In addition, a small white button on the remote control called “Immersive AE” will not work when streaming Dolby Atmos content, as it is designed to “zoom in” non-Atmos content to surround sound.

Sitting 6 feet away from you, whether you’re watching Atmos or 5.1 content from OTT service providers, one thing is clear: sound will immerse you in itself just because of how loud the soundbar can be, and for that reason alone, it’s great for watching movies. When viewing content that is not related to the atmosphere, you can turn on the immersive AE button, and if there is nothing else, this makes the dialogues much clearer, and the separation of the left and right channels more noticeable. For viewing content that has a lot more dialogs, I found that I use immersive AE mode more often than voice mode to achieve more clarity of the dialog.

Overall, the Sony HT-G700 is a great experience to watch movies, provided you don’t expect to hear rain from above.

Music

The musical performance of the Sony soundbar is what you would expect from a Sony speaker. If you like music with good bass, then this soundbar will not disappoint you. If you need additional sound, you can always increase the subwoofer level, but somewhere between 5 and 7 (maximum 12) I’ve been leaving it most of the time. I also heard Bang Bang performed by Will I Am, and the bass guitar along with the orchestra of instruments in the song made me want to dance, and my neighbors eventually had to call and ask me to turn down the volume at 10 a.m. Yes, I would like to emphasize once again that this soundbar can be quite loud.

So far, the best musical impression of the soundbar for me has been the Yamaha YAS 209 for 2 reasons. Firstly, when you are in stereo and listening to music, the bass is just right, it is not too strong and manifests itself only when necessary. And secondly, stereo separation when listening to music is almost as good as a stereo system on a bookshelf for listening to music, especially if you are sitting in a pleasant place. Comparing Yamaha to Sony, the Sony HT-G700 is much louder and better suited for a house party. It also has a more impressive bass, so bass lovers may prefer Sony. But in music mode, Yamaha still provides better stereo signal separation.

Gaming

For gaming, we played Marvel Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, God of War and Doom. Channel separation works well in all the games, especially when playing Spider-Man. You can hear the city pass you when swinging with chatter from the street clearly audible. Once again for gaming, I kept the Immersive AE mode on which helped with clever dialogue and easier separation of background sound from what’s happening right next to you. Even in the Last of Us Part II, when the emotional background score kicks in the soundbar shines. Even with bullets whizzing by you and enemies calling out to each other, you kinda know where to look based on the channel separation.

Dooms soundtrack is another one that sounds really good on this soundbar with deep rich bass, great bangs for the guns and the signature grunts of the demons. The bass from the sub when playing doom was room-filling.

Overall, the Sony HT-G700 is great for gaming. Dialogues are clear, sound effects crisp and Immersive.

By now you probably think I am in love with the sound output from this soundbar and you are right in thinking so. It checks all the right boxes for me. There is no complication with the sound modes and there is no customization needed. You could simply leave it on auto and forget about the rest. For movies, TV shows, gaming and even music, the soundbar is a great one-stop-shop. If you like, you can also dim the display of the soundbar when consuming content in a pitch dark room.

So what’s missing? Well, for one thing, I wish there was an app that could be used to control the soundbar. Once you connect it via ARC, you can control the volume using the TV remote control. So I tucked the Sony remote away for safekeeping and every time I needed to tinker with the settings I had to hunt for it. The Yamaha YAS 209 can be controlled completely with the companion app and the convenience of that is missing from the Sony.

Remote control

Speaking of the remote control, the bundled remote control with the soundbar is simple. All the buttons are neatly laid out in two rows. On the remote control, you have the options for input, control for the various modes, a mute button. Buttons like ‘Voice’ help with boosting the vocals if you like whereas functions like Night ensure the bangs in action movies don’t get too loud. You can also control the subwoofer level and there is a button to navigate the menu.

Bottom line

So here’s the ever-important question. Should you spend 40K on the Sony HT-G700? Well, if you have a budget of 40K for a premium soundbar then yes. It has fantastic sound output, supports Dolby Atmos, 4K HDR passthrough with Dolby Vision support and a simple plug and play setup. What it lacks is any form of internet connectivity or app controls and as we mentioned in the beginning, don’t expect the sound to come from on top of you or behind you.

With Immersive AE turned on, you do get clearer audio especially the separation between the dialogues and background score. However, for approximately 30K you can also consider the Yamaha YAS 209. It has 4K HDR passthrough without Dolby Vision and it does not support Dolby Atmos but does support DTS:X. It also comes with Alexa built-in and supports a companion smartphone app.

But remember, the Sony HT-G700 is a 400W soundbar and can get plenty loud when compared to the 200W of the Yamaha. Other soundbars in this price range include the JBL SB 450 and the Philips TAPB603 that you can consider.

Sony HT-S20R 5.1 Soundbar Review

Those looking for a more affordable and more straightforward soundbar will find the Sony HT-S20R an option that may be interesting.

HT-S20R is a 5.1 soundbar with 400W of power that has two rear speakers and also comes with a subwoofer. With a simple and elegant design in the purest Sony style, it can use with both TV and mobile via Bluetooth.

When you purchase a TV, especially one that is 32-inches or 40-inches in size, chances are the sound from the TV speakers are tinny, lack bass and apart from watching TV shows, lack the bang needed to enjoy a movie. The natural option is to invest in a budget soundbar which gives you a good 2.1 experience.

Upgrading to a 5.1 setup to experience surround sound can be an expensive proposition, especially if you want the convenience of a soundbar-like front channel setup and satellite speakers. Today, we have with us the Sony HT-S20R. It is a 5.1 setup and at first glance, it looks like a younger sibling to the Sony HT-RT3. With a selling price of about $200, is this the soundbar to enhance your TV viewing experience?

Specs at a Glance

  • Total Maximum Power: 400W
  • Soundbar Weight: 2kg
  • Subwoofer Weight: 6.9kg
  • Audio Inputs: Optical-audio input, Analogue audio input (stereo mini),
  • USB type A, Bluetooth, HDMI ARC.
  • Soundbar Dimension: 760 x 52 x 86 mm
  • Subwoofers Dimensions: 192 x 387 x 342 mm
  • HDMI Input: 0
  • HDMI Output (Audio Return Channel): 1

About this Subject

  • Dolby Audio: Enjoy impressive high-quality surround sound from individual 5.1 audio channels with Dolby Digital
  • 1-channel surround sound: 5.1 channels of real surround sound. The rear speakers and an external subwoofer work with a 3-channel sound bar, providing dynamic, immersive, cinematic sound.
  • Output Power: 400W output power puts you right in the center of the action. HDMI CEC: Yes
  • Bluetooth connection: Easily play your favorite content using a Bluetooth connection
  • USB Playback: Use the USB port to easily connect and play music from the memory card
  • Sound Mode: Button for each sound — select the mode suitable for what you are watching or listening to, including Automatic, Standard, Movies and Music. You can also choose night and voice modes.
  • HDMI Arc and Optical Connection: Connect the soundbar to the TV with a single cable connection.

Build and Design

A traditional 5.1 home theatre has 5 separate speakers representing each of the channels and one subwoofer. With the S20R, we have the front three channels in one soundbar that will sit flush below your TV. There are advantages and disadvantages to this design that we will highlight in the performance section but let’s start with the build.

The soundbar is very well built. It has a metallic mesh grill covering the front, protecting the drivers. You can see the drivers through the grill. At the bottom, it has rubber feet which gives it a solid grip when kept on a table. You can also wall-mount the soundbar if you like. A good thing about buying this system in India 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 soundbar. The display is on the subwoofer, which we will get to in a bit. For aesthetic references, the soundbar sits flush below a 32-inch or even a 40-inch TV without feeling too large for the setup. It may look a tad small when compared to a 55-inch TV, but nothing that will make it look out of place.

The cable management for the S20R is the same as what we’ve seen on other Sony soundbar-home theatre solutions. The cables come attached to each speaker and the end goes into the back of the subwoofer. This helps to make the cable connection process easy as each cable is colour coded but the downside is that if a cable gets cut, you can’t change it on your own.

The rear satellite speakers of the home theatre are small, and their build is ideal for those looking to wall-mount the surround speakers. The rear satellite speakers of the S20R have the same design as the front soundbar with the metal mesh grille up front covering the drivers and a plastic finish, giving it a very minimalistic look.

We set up the home theatre in a living room and its aesthetics and design are minimal enough to blend in with the room and home entertainment setup. The rear satellite speakers are quite light, making us feel that they may be a tad fragile and may not survive a few drops.

Moving to the subwoofer, this is the heart of the system. All the speakers’ connections convene at the back of the subwoofer and this is where the problem lies. Don’t get me wrong, the wires connected to the back of each speaker are generously long to fit more than the average living room size.

The thing is that the audio inputs like HDMI ARC optical audio, etc are all at the back of the subwoofer which means that you either need to place the subwoofer under/near your TV which may not be the ideal position, or you need to invest in a really long HDMI or audio cable. We did the latter as the position of the sub under the TV wasn’t working for us. We wish the connectivity options were at the back of the soundbar for ease of setup.

The subwoofer also houses an LED display which will show you information such as input along with information about the sources and the ability to customize the dB levels of the speakers. It’s simple and convenient to use and doesn’t house the complexities of a dedicated amplifier. The physical controls rest on top of the subwoofer and are touch-sensitive.

Overall, the build of the home theatre is good, considering its price. It is minimalistic without any jazzy design, something we appreciate.

Configuration and Connection Options

When it comes to connectivity, the home theatre has optical-audio input, Analogue audio input (stereo mini) and USB type A. It also has HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), however, there is no HDMI input for passthrough.

Setting up the home theatre is as easy as dialling Sony’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 experience from the system. Cable management may be an issue for some, but this is where the length of the bundled cables is helpful. There is only a 3.5mm audio cable in the box so if you need to connect the system via HDMI or optical, be ready with those cables when you purchase the system.

Remote Control

Coming to the remote control, it is the exact same remote control you get with the Sony HT-RT3. It is made of plastic, feels minimalistic and is ergonomic. It is lightweight, and the buttons are rubbery, making them easy to press. The power and source buttons are right at the top making them the easiest to reach.

The remote gives you access to 5 different sound modes – standard, cinema, music, voice and night. Or you could simply press auto and let the system choose for you. Unless you are using the night mode, we suggest leaving the system on auto.

It does a fine job of representing the content you are consuming. There is also a Dimmer button that dims the display on the sub for a more immersive viewing experience. There are other controls like playback and subwoofer controls as well.

Overall the remote control is functional, easy to use with one hand and has a convenient layout.

Music

I primarily played music from YouTube Music on a smartphone and connected it to the speaker via Bluetooth. I played the same music from the TV YouTube app and connected the system via HDMI ARC. I played some Poets of the Fall, Charlie Puth, Billie Eilish – Bad Guy, Dance Monkey – Tones and I and more.

One thing to note is that the system can deliver good bass. If you are one that likes to listen to music from all the speakers, then know that the audio comes from the surround speakers as well as the front left and right, giving you quite a holistic sound. However, this may not always be the best experience.

I played the same music through a pair of Mackie CR5BT studio monitors and the music sounded richer and more detailed than the Sony soundbar. The studio monitors, though the same price at the S20R, don’t have all the features and are a 2.0 setup. So if music is a priority, the S20R gets the job done, but isn’t the best at its price.

If you are an audiophile, you are better off investing in a good pair of studio monitors at the same price. However, for the average joe looking for a multipurpose system, this one gets the job done.

Films

I connected the Home theatre to a TV via HDMI ARC and watched a bunch of movies/TV shows from Netflix, Hotstar and Prime Videos. I watched some of the same content by streaming the audio via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth audio was sent via the Fire TV stick to the system.

One thing is clear, if the source of your content doesn’t have good audio, it will reflect on the speaker. Also, between Bluetooth and ARC, I recommend using ARC as it delivered the best of all the content from the TV. Watching movies from Netflix and Prime Videos, the audio seemed crisper and the channel separation is better when compared to Bluetooth.

Here is something to consider. The dialogue in a movie is expected to come from the centre channel unless it is being spoken from an angle. Front left should have the sound coming from the front left speaker, surround right for the sound coming from behind you on the right, so on and so forth.

Now, these attributes are a part of the Sony HT-S20R home theatre with some caveats. Firstly, the left and right speakers are too close to the centre channel as a part of the design of the system. This makes a plane flying across the screen have a less dramatic effect when compared to front speakers that are far apart.

Secondly, the rear surround speaker of the respective side (left or right) also kicks in when the front left or right speaker is meant to produce a sound. This could be to compensate for the lack of distance between the left, right and centre channel but it is something that you will notice if you are a home theatre enthusiast.

For the rest (people experiencing the system with me) it delivered a more pronounced presence of the surround speakers on the home theatre. This isn’t necessarily a pro or a con but something I noticed when watching movies and playing games.

A good thing is you can control the level of the surround speakers and the sub to get the kind of sound you want. The overall movie performance is good with action sequences coming to life and quieter moments delivering pronounced dialogues. The movie A Quiet Place is a good example to get a great surround experience.

Gaming

When it comes to gaming, I played some games on the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro and the experience was a lot of fun especially if you enjoy playing shooter games or action-adventure games like Uncharted or Gears of War where you have bullets flying all around you. In Uncharted 4, when you go into the settings of the game, and tell the game that you are playing the audio through a 5.1 home theatre setup, the channel separation is more pronounced and gives you a much better experience than others. If the game you are playing has the ability to select home theatre or 5.1 as an option, then definitely go for it as it helps with better channel separation, surround effects and a better overall experience.

Overall, the gaming performance is good with dialogue, nats, and gunfire, but I wish the front channel separation were better.

Bottom Line

If you have a budget of $200, chances are you are looking to pick up an entry-level soundbar or a home theatre. There are many 2.1 soundbars from the likes of Sony, LG, JBL and many many more to choose from. Your options become limited when you delve into the 5.1 setups and this is where it gets tricky to recommend the S20R.

The older, Sony HT-RT3 is available for a little under 18,000 and comes with a certain set of advantages. It supports NFC, something the S20R lacks. The HT-RT3 has 600W of power as compared to the 400W on the HT-S20R. According to the Sony website, the HT-RT3 also comes with an HDMI cable in the box. In my personal opinion, the HT-RT3 also has a better design, overall. It is more angular than the HT-S20R.

Put simply, the Sony HT-S20R is a baby HT-RT3. If you can extend your budget by a mere 2-3 thousand rupees, the HT-RT3 makes for a much better value for money proposition. The front three-channel bar on the HT-RT3 is 140mm longer than the HT-S20R, so if space is a problem for you, then you can consider the HT-S20R. It fits well under a 32-inch TV.

But if power, features, and performance are important, then you should consider the HT-RT3. Here’s the kicker, the MRP of the HT-S20R is Rs 19,990 whereas the HT-RT3 has an MRP of Rs 18,990. But the street price of the 2 is Rs 14,999 and Rs 17,740 respectively, giving the S20R a lower street price.

Verdict

Sony HT-G700 is a bar made up of three front speakers that come with Vertical Surround Engine technology to have the most surround sound possible. This system is capable of creating locations to process sound by area and extend the user experience. The bar comes with Dolby Atmos, 3.1-channel DTS: X and the Immersive AE button focused on enhancing any stereo sound to turn it into the 7.1.2-channel surround.

The existing configuration options are extensive to give preference to the place of the room where you are located, the size of the TV if you prefer to listen more to the dialogues or the effects. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer to boost deep and bass sounds. Both the bar and the subwoofer can pair with the TV via cable or Bluetooth.

For about $200 you get a decently-built Sony HT-S20R home theatre in a box that’s easy to set up with an array of connectivity options. It will definitely enhance your TV viewing experience. It will also sit flush under a small TV without looking oversized. However, its music performance may not appeal to audiophiles and the low front channel separation is noticeable. The presence of HDMI passthrough is missed.

If you are new to the world of home theatres and are looking to invest in an entry-level system as a first-time experience, then you can consider Sony HT-S20R. However, Sony’s own HT-RT3 offers slightly better performance and features for just $40 more, making it hard to recommend the S20R if your budget is slightly flexible and you have a little more space in your entertainment centre.

FAQ for Soundbars Sony HT-S20R vs HT-G700

What is the difference between the Soundbar Sony HT 20 and HTG 700?

Sony’s HT 20 soundbar is a top-selling soundbar that provides a lot of features. It has a powerful and clear sound, Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to connect to your TV.

The Sony HTG 700 is an improved version of the HT 20 with some new features like the ability to play music from your phone without needing a Bluetooth connection.

Sony’s HTG 700 is better for those who want an enhanced experience with their TV and audio system.

Is there a difference in sound quality between soundbar Sony HT 20 and HTG 700??

The Sony HT 20 and HTG 700 are two of the most popular soundbars in the market. But there are some difference in sound between them.

The Sony HT 20 has a less powerful speaker driver which means that it does not produce as much bass as the HTG 700.

What the reviews of soundbar Sony HT 20 and HTG 700?

When buying soundbars, sound quality is the most important factor to consider. The Sony HT 20 and HTG 700 have a similar rating on Amazon due to their great sound quality.

The Sony HT 20 has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 reviews while the HTG 700 has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 400 reviews.

How much the soundbar Sony HT 20 and HTG 700?

The Sony HT 20 soundbar has an impressive design with a sleek black finish and two subwoofers to provide you with an immersive audio experience. The sound quality of the Sony HT 20 is really good, and it also has a Bluetooth capability so that you can stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet. The cost of Sony HT 20 on Amazon starts at $239.

The Sony HTG 700 is one of the most popular soundbars in recent years. It has 3D surround technology, which gives more depth to your audio experience by creating more realistic sounds and noises in the room. The Sony HTG 700 also comes with 2 subwoofers, which provide powerful bass sounds. The cost of Sony HTC 700 on Amazon starts at $299.

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