This is the most underrated reason to buy a Sony TV over every other brand

Sony A95L
(Image credit: Future)

A TV’s sound quality can sometimes be an afterthought, and that’s coming from someone who reviews them for a living. While we’re able to refer to our benchmarks for a definite sense of a set’s picture performance, gauging sound performance is much more subjective.

That said, when we reviewed some of the best TVs from Sony this year, we found sound quality impressed across-the-board. Again, sound isn’t something that usually stands out in our testing, but we concluded that sets like Sony Bravia XR A95L OLED TV offered some of the best sound you can find from a TV right now. 

The improved sound quality of Sony TVs is no happy coincidence. Sure, we see every TV manufacturer try to up the ante of their sets every year, but Sony has a secret weapon of sorts dedicated to ensuring full and even audio of a TV: a sound-mapping robot the company built in-house.

Last month, I visited Sony’s offices in Tokyo where I got to see this “robot” for myself. It’s a 3-arm contraption that moves on X,Y and Z axes to measure sound frequency at 16,500 points. When placed in front of a TV — more specifically, a 65-inch TV inside a control room — these measurements can can actualize sound in 3D to determine whether the TV’s audio successfully fills the appropriate sound field.

In other words, the robot measures an area meant to replicate where people sit most often in front of their TV. At the minimum, TV should extend a balanced sound from the screen to every seat on the couch. Now, with a machine like Sony’s, the company can determine for sure whether that’s the case through sound visualization.

Check out this TikTok to see the robot in action:


♬ original sound - b

I don’t believe that customers necessarily need to see the resulting sound maps created from data rendered by the robot, but it’s certainly helpful from the position of a TV reviewer. The visualizations give us some kind of sense of how a brand's TVs improve every year. Of course, we also need to analyze the quality through hours of anecdotal listening, but at least we have a bit of a reference point.

Do you still need a soundbar for your Sony TV?

Just because the latest collection of Sony TVs sound good on their own, it doesn’t mean that you should skip out on one of the best soundbars. Should your entertainment setup allow it, a soundbar can elevate the listening experience of whatever you’re watching.

You could pair pretty much any soundbar with a Sony TV, but there are some unique benefits if you match a Sony soundbar like the Sony HT-A7000 with your Sony TV. For one, the latest Sony TVs have a feature called Acoustic Center Sync that combines the TV’s native speakers with the ones in a soundbar. This results in a sound output with better height, especially for vocals. (To check the direction and volume of where sound is coming from, Sony uses a sound camera that I also got to see in action at their offices.)

If you’d consider taking your setup one step further, you could invest in a 5-channel system to take advantage of Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature. This feature offers flexibility in speaker installation — since it’s not always possible to have an ideal layout — by introducing virtual speaker positions that can correct and expand the sound stage surrounding your ears. This means that wherever you’re able to place your speakers, the sound will adjust to be tuned for your space.

But if you decide you don’t want or need a soundbar or extra channels, we're confident enough based on our testing, as well as what we saw from Sony's testing, that the company TVs sound strong enough alone.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.