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Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best Sony speakers

Sony is one of the most famous brands in the world, with a motion picture studio, a music label, and PlayStation under its umbrella. It has made its name in fields from premium photography to data storage, but the foundation of Sony’s business was audio, and Sony speakers are part of that legacy.

Sony got its start after World War II, when former naval researcher Masaru Ibuka opened up a radio repair shop in a damaged department store in Tokyo. A year later, Ibuka and his wartime colleague Akio Morita became business partners, introducing Japan’s first tape recorder. In the 1950s, what was then called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo licensed the newly invented transistor from Bell Labs, introduced its first transistor radio, and changed its name to Sony.

Bookshelf Speakers
Sony’s SS-G7 speakers, introduced in 1977, are based on the same technology as its home audio speakers today. 

How to buy the best Sony speaker

Types of Sony speakers

Sony has made a wide selection of speakers with various capabilities and features over its history. Its lineup can be divided into portable wireless, party, and home audio speakers.

  • Sony portable wireless speakers are small enough to take with you for various activities. They use digital signal processing and engineering to produce surprising sound, despite their size.
  • Sony party speakers usually also offer wireless connections. They’re bigger than portable speakers, with more powerful sound designed for big spaces and groups of people.
  • Sony home theater or home audio speakers are classic indoor hi-fi stereo speakers, such as bookshelf and floor-standing speakers, that hook up to an amplifier or receiver via speaker wire. They provide the kind of detailed audio reproduction treasured by music and home theater lovers for close, critical listening.

Speaker placement

When it comes to speakers, placement is one of the key variables in creating a setup that sounds right for you.

First, don’t put your speakers against a wall. This causes unwanted resonance in the low end, bloating the bass.

If you have left and right stereo speakers, try to aim them at the spot where you’ll be listening most, the so-called “sweet spot.” This helps establish the sound stage, placing instruments and voices where the artist and engineers intended you to hear them. This is called toeing, and some speakers need this less than others.

Try to have your sweet spot, like a chair or couch, pulled away from walls as well. Doing so limits the amount of echo off the walls that you hear.

Finally, aim your speakers as close to your listening ear level as possible — speaker stands can help.

Although based on left and right stereo speakers and related surround systems, many of these strategies also apply to single-unit portable speakers, such as distance from the wall and speaker height.

1-portable cassette player
Did You Know?
In 1977, Sony introduced the Walkman, which became an iconic product of the ‘80s and popularized personal portable audio all over the world.
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Features of Sony speakers

Drivers

The driver is the part of a speaker that produces sound. Drivers can be classified as woofers, tweeters, and sometimes mid-range and supertweeters. Woofers are typically the largest drivers and produce sounds from 20 to 500Hz. Tweeters are smaller and produce sound from 2,000Hz to 20kHz. Most Sony speakers use woofers and tweeters in combination, with supertweeters reaching as high as 50kHz on home audio speakers. 

The shape and material of drivers affect their sound. Sony makes squared-off woofers for its portable speakers to maximize driver area, while its home audio speakers offer materials such as mica reinforcement and polyester fiber.

Bass 

Sony speakers may use both physical and electronic means to add power and impact to the lowest frequencies of sound, or bass. Many of its smaller wireless speakers use passive radiators to enhance the bass coming from their single or dual drivers, while its larger speakers have reflex ports built into their cabinets that channel air to enhance the lower frequencies. Sony also popularized electronic bass-enhancing technologies (trademarked as MEGA BASS and EXTRA BASS) in its portable audio products, and these features are still available on its wireless speakers.

Design

Sony’s portable and party speakers put an emphasis on attractive, sleek, colorful designs that feature a combination of practicality and fun, including waterproofing that can take a stream of water without ill effects, shockproofing that can withstand a drop, and LED lighting effects that sync to the audio, often all in one product. Sony’s home audio speakers go in a different direction, boasting wood cabinets, detachable grilles, and subtle design choices aimed at maximizing sound reproduction clarity and efficiency.

Bluetooth, NFC, and USB

Sony’s portable and party speakers pair (or connect) to audio sources using Bluetooth, which allows them to maintain connections over moderate distances — as far as 30 meters (100 feet). Bluetooth wireless audio is widely used and allows for good audio quality. Certain Sony wireless speakers also allow near-field communications (NFC) pairing, which is much faster than manual Bluetooth pairing. Some Sony speakers offer USB ports that accept USB drives for media playback and charging.

Sony is a name that combines “sonus,” the Latin word for sound, with the word “sonny.”

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Sony speaker accessories

Subwoofers

A subwoofer is a speaker designed to reproduce the lowest frequencies of sound, including those below the ability of the human ear to hear. This sound is more felt than heard, but a good subwoofer fills out the audio produced by a speaker with just a woofer and tweeter. Sony makes subwoofers to go with its home audio speakers, or you can add your own. You usually need to connect a subwoofer to a receiver or amplifier, but some speakers can connect to compatible subwoofers directly or wirelessly.

Cables and speaker wire

Sony home audio speakers use screw-type binding posts that accept either bare wire, spade connectors, or banana plugs. Sony recommends speaker wire between 12 and 16 gauge for their home audio speakers, with thicker, lower-gauge wire for longer distances. Sony party speakers offer connectors for aux cables.

Bluetooth receivers

If you want to use Sony home audio speakers with the convenience of streaming audio, look into attaching a Bluetooth or other wireless receiver to your stereo or home theater system.

Stands

For bookshelf and floor-standing speakers, a good speaker stand can improve the sound. Bookshelf speakers sound best when placed at a listener’s ear level, and floor-standing speakers benefit from being isolated from the audio reflections and vibrations of the floor.

2-Floor Speakers
Did You Know?
The size and number of drivers affect a speaker’s ability to produce accurate and powerful sound.
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How much do Sony speakers cost?

Inexpensive

Sony’s smaller portable wireless speakers cost between $50 and $200. These offer one or two drivers, bass boost, and water and dust resistance.

Mid-range

The majority of Sony speakers cost between $200 and $600. These include its top model wireless speakers, large party speakers, and consumer-series home audio speakers in both bookshelf and floor-standing models.

Expensive

At the high end, Sony makes premium home audio and home theater speakers that cost from $3,000 to $5,000, with its flagship audiophile speakers featuring cabinets of specially chosen hardwood priced at $27,000 a pair. These speakers are targeted at customers who value audio quality and engineering craftsmanship above everything else.

Tips 

  • Mind their toes. Speaker toeing, or toe-in, refers to the angle of the left and right speakers in a stereo system. Some speakers benefit more from toeing than others. Sony’s stereo speakers offer a wide sound stage that shouldn’t need toe-in, but it’s worth checking if adjusting their toeing suits your taste.
  • Chain them up. Sony party speakers can connect to each other to produce a network of up to 100 speakers that can synchronize audio playback and lighting effects. Sony portable wireless speakers can be paired with each other for stereo playback.
  • Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with any speaker’s performance, especially speakers with delicate or sensitive drivers. Keep tweeters clean with puffs of compressed air and woofers clean with a dry microfiber cloth. Some of Sony’s portable speakers offer dust resistance as well as water resistance.
Portable Speaker
Speakers can be active or passive. Active speakers have their own power supplies, usually have built-in amplifiers, and can connect directly to audio sources. Passive speakers need to be connected to an amplifier or receiver.

FAQ

Q. Are Sony speakers good?

A. Sony products have enjoyed a reputation for quality in terms of performance and build. Generally, Sony speakers are praised for their audio performance within their type, whether they be single-driver portables or high-end floor-standing models. Some audiophiles prefer other, more specialized speaker manufacturers, but these tend to be more expensive and somewhat rarer than Sony products.

Q. Can you pair different Sony speakers?

A. Sony’s wireless speakers can connect to each other as long as both speakers support the same connection function. Eleven different models of wireless speakers can connect with each other through Sony’s Wireless Party Chain function, while three models can communicate with each other via Sony’s Party Connect function. Wireless Party Chain models can’t connect with Party Connect models and vice versa.

Q. Do Sony speakers need burn-in?

A. Burn-in, or break-in, refers to the idea that new speakers and headphones don’t perform at their best until they’ve been used for some length of time. There’s substantial debate over the need for burn-in, but several speaker manufacturers offer recommended burn-in times for their products. According to Sony, their home audio speakers don’t need burn-in time and should provide excellent audio quality out of the box.
 

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