Sony HT-S20R
Sony HT-S20R
Sony HT-S20R

Sony HT-S20R: 5.1 soundbar at a competitive price

Sony HT-S20R

Sony HT-S20R is a soundbar with a 5.1 sound circuit, a subwoofer, an output power of 400 W and a good set of connections. With all this, the sound system is competitively priced. At first glance, it looks like the younger brother of the Sony HT-RT3. When you buy a TV, especially a small TV, the sound from the TV speakers will most likely be bassless.

Apart from watching TV shows, the TV will obviously lack the sound needed to watch a movie. One option is to purchase a budget 2.1 soundbar that will provide good sound quality. A CH 5.1 panel for surround sound can be an expensive proposition.

However, the HT-S20R is able to solve this problem. At a low price, can this soundbar improve your TV viewing experience? Is the HT-S20R worth buying? In our review of the Sony HT-S20R we will try to answer these and other questions.

Sony HT-S20R review


A traditional 5.1 home theater has 5 separate channels and one subwoofer. In the Sony HT-S20R soundbar, which will be located flush with the TV, we have three speakers. The soundbar is very well designed. It has a metal mesh grille that covers the front and protects the speakers.

There are rubber feet at the bottom that provide a secure grip on the table. If desired, you can mount the soundbar on the wall. The soundbar does not have a display. The display is located on the subwoofer. For aesthetic reasons, the soundbar fits even under a 40-inch TV.

The Sony S20R soundbar may seem a little small compared to a 55-inch TV, but there’s nothing to make it ruin your interior design. Cables are connected to each device. Each cable is color coded. The downside is that if the cable gets damaged, you won’t be able to replace it yourself.

Home theater rear speakers are small. Their design is ideal for those who want to mount surround speakers on the wall. The rear speakers have the same design as the front soundbar, with a metal mesh grille at the front covering the speakers and plastic trim. All this gives the design a very minimalistic look.

The subwoofer is the heart of the system. The subwoofer also has an LED display that shows information such as the input signal, as well as source information and the ability to adjust the speaker volume level. It is simple and easy to use. Physical touch controls are located on the top of the subwoofer. Overall the home theater build is good considering its price.

Sony HT-S20R design

Remote control

The remote control body is made of plastic. It is minimalistic and ergonomic. The buttons on the remote control are rubber, so they are easy to press. The power button is located at the top, making it the easiest to reach. The remote control gives access to 5 different sound modes – standard, movie, music, voice and night mode. You can also click on “Auto” and let the system make the choice for you.

If you are not using night mode, it is recommended to leave the system in automatic mode. There’s also a Dimmer button that dims the subwoofer’s display for a more immersive viewing experience. There are other controls such as playback and subwoofer controls.

Stereo mode

When it comes to listening to music, it should be noted that the Sony S20R soundbar can provide good bass. For those who like to listen to music from all speakers, you should know that the sound comes from the surround speakers, as well as the front left and right speakers. It’s a pretty cohesive sound. However, this may not always be the best listening option.

In other words, if you buy the HT-S20R soundbar just to listen to music, then the device gets the job done, but it’s not the best for its price. Audiophiles are better off buying a pair of good studio speakers. However, for the average person looking for a feature-rich system, this system will get the job done.

Sony HT-S20R review

Multichannel audio

Before testing the HT-S20R soundbar, keep in mind that if the content source does not have good surround sound, the system itself will be affected. Also, if you compare between Bluetooth and ARC , then it is recommended to use ARC as it provides better sound quality. When watching movies from Netflix, the sound seems clearer and the channel separation is better compared to Bluetooth.

According to multichannel audio rules, dialogue in a film is expected to be heard on the center channel. The fronts provide the main sound, and the rears provide the sound from behind. However, there are small caveats. First, the left and right speakers are placed too close to the center channel, which is part of the system’s design.

Because of this, an airplane flying across the screen produces a less dramatic effect compared to front speakers positioned far apart from each other. Secondly, the surround back speaker of the corresponding side (left or right) is also turned on when the front left or right speaker needs to produce sound.

If the rear speakers are located at a much greater distance from each other than the front speakers, then the sound stage will not look entirely ideal. But only home theater fans will notice this. For other users, the S20R soundbar provides a more immersive experience.

It is also possible to control the level of the surround speakers and subwoofer to get the desired sound. If the game you are playing has the option to select 5.1 sound , then be sure to use this option. This will help improve channel separation, surround effects and improve the overall experience.

Sony HT-S20R interfaces


All connections in the Sony HT-S20R soundbar are located behind the subwoofer, and this is where the problem lies. The wires connected to the back of each speaker are long enough to fit the size of an average living room. The thing is that audio inputs like HDMI ARC optical audio etc. are on the back of the subwoofer.

This means you’ll either need to place the subwoofer under or next to your TV, which may not be ideal. Or you may have to invest extra in a very long HDMI or audio cable. It would be better if the connections were on the back of the soundbar.

In terms of connectivity, the home theater has optical audio input, analog audio input (stereo mini), and USB Type A. It also has HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), but there is no HDMI input for pass-through.

When setting up, keep in mind that the surround back speakers should be positioned at ear level to get the best sound quality from the system. Only a 3.5mm audio cable is included in the package.


It is worth adding that for little money the user gets a decent multi-channel home theater that is easy to set up and has many connection options. The Sony HT-S20R soundbar will definitely improve your TV viewing experience.

It will also fit flush with a small TV without looking too big. However, its musical performance may not appeal to audiophiles, and the low front separation will also be noticeable. If you are new to the world of home theater and looking to purchase an entry-level system for the first time, then the Sony HT-S20R soundbar could be a very good choice for you.

Price: $330

Sony HT-S20R
Sony HT-S20R