Soundbars run the gamut. There are some made particularly for gaming, others for small areas, a couple of that may be constructed out over time, and several other for these on a funds. The Sony HT-A7000 is the soundbar for somebody who received’t accept something however the very best, as long as they don’t should go and truly set up ceiling audio system.
The HT-A7000 replaces the ST-5000 as Sony’s flagship soundbar. It’s a 7.1.2 channel system and might both work as a single Dolby Atmos soundbar or be constructed out with rears and subwoofers. It helps many of the fancy new codecs and digital assistants, in addition to Sony’s sound optimization tech. That is one futureproofed gadget. It’s additionally an eye-watering $1,300 in a time when you may get a wonderfully first rate Dolby Atmos soundbar for lower than $1,000. After a number of weeks of testing, I’m not so positive how many individuals will discover the expense value it—even when it does sound completely unbelievable.
A Highly effective, Futureproof Soundbar
The phrase “bells and whistles” has by no means been so correct as when describing the A7000. There are two up-firing audio system, two beam tweeters, 5 entrance audio system, and a built-in twin subwoofer. The soundbar helps Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio format, together with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It packs in Sony’s Vertical Encompass Engine, which the corporate claims lends a extra “practical, multi-dimensional sound” to different codecs, in addition to Sony’s S-Drive Professional Entrance Encompass, which makes it so you may higher hear sound coming at you from either side. There’s barely any 8K content material but, however irrespective of: The A7000 helps 8K and 4K at 120p passthrough. It phrases of connectivity, it has Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, wifi, Spotify Join, and Chromecast in-built. Digital assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa are additionally supported. There are two HDMI enter ports and one output, in addition to eARC/ARC assist.
That is typical of what you’d count on to see on a soundbar that prices this a lot and is the corporate’s flagship. Nonetheless, it’s a formidable mixture of specs and options. The one factor that’s actually lacking is the flexibility to futz with EQ. Which may irk people who like tweaking settings, but when that’s not likely your jam, it’s not one thing you’ll miss an excessive amount of. Regardless of the value, the good factor is you received’t have to interchange it anytime quickly.
Design-wise, what can we are saying? It’s a giant soundbar. It’s blocky with a grille up entrance. The highest is a shiny glass, with contact controls on the proper aspect. Each ends of the soundbar have a material prime, which home the up-firing audio system. It measures 51.25 inches lengthy with a top of three.25 inches and depth of 5.6 inches. It weighs 19 kilos. It doesn’t actually match on the stand for my 55-inch TV; the ends jut out over the sting. It’s additionally not the very best for low-profile TVs, because it’ll block off the underside 1-2 inches. A be aware: when you’ve got pets, the glass prime is a hair and mud magnet. Fortunately, it’s a cloth that’s simple to scrub.
Setup is straightforward. After you’ve connected the whole lot to the TV, you may press the House button on the accompanying distant management. That’ll take you to a menu the place you may join the soundbar to wifi, in addition to tune the soundbar to your room by way of “sound discipline optimization.” It’s rather a lot like Sonos’ TruPlay, in that it performs a sequence of sounds in numerous instructions. The principle distinction is you don’t should wave your iPhone across the room. There’s additionally a snazzy 360 Reality Audio demo, the place you may actually hear what Sony’s attempting to do with its proprietary spatial audio format. You may as effectively since proper now, solely a handful of companies, together with Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon Music HD, assist it.
For those who select to shell out for non-obligatory rears and subwoofer, these are additionally extremely simple to arrange. Sony despatched me the $350 SARS3S rears and the $700 SASW5, which is a 300W sub. (There’s additionally the cheaper, barely smaller SASW3, which is 200W for $400.) They join wirelessly so all it’s important to do is plug them in and await the inexperienced mild to pop up. The rears are compact and match simply on my nightstands in my bed room setup. The subwoofer is on the larger aspect, however not so large that it’s a hard-to-place eyesore.
The one factor I couldn’t take a look at was a function that permits the A7000 to straight hook up with a Sony Bravia TV. That is an LG OLED family, child. Nevertheless, Sony says should you do have a appropriate Bravia TV, it could actually act as an additional middle channel.
Spectacular at Simulating Peak
The A7000 isn’t messing round. Normally, I’ve been underwhelmed by soundbars that declare to simulate top in Dolby Atmos content material. I felt that means with Sony’s HT-G700, which is a good funds Atmos soundbar however not that nice at recreating top. Nevertheless, I used to be pleasantly stunned with the A7000.
The impact with the soundbar alone is spectacular, but it surely’s admittedly higher with the non-obligatory rears and subwoofer. I like to check top simulation with the Star Wars movies, as there’s no scarcity of scenes with spaceships buzzing overhead. And yup, there have been a number of situations of both the Millennium Falcon or X-Wings swooshing towards the viewer that I truly felt was coming from above. The identical was true for the opening minutes of The Midnight Sky on Netflix, the place rescue helicopters fly backwards and forwards overhead. The glass bridge exploding in Squid Sport was additionally extremely clear and crisp, and I discovered myself cringing on the sound (additionally the emotional trauma).
The A7000 additionally does an amazing job with sounds coming out of your left and proper, particularly should you toggle on the Immersive AE setting. Dialogue and voices additionally sound clear. Total, it’s a superb soundbar for motion pictures and TV—particularly these with loads of busy motion scenes. Given the soundbar’s dimension, it additionally simply fills bigger rooms. My bed room is on the smaller aspect, however I had no downside listening to a number of episodes of the Within the Darkish podcast whereas cleansing in a unique room. It’s a tad overkill for my specific dwelling area, nonetheless, so that you may wish to take that into consideration should you don’t plan to place this in an even bigger space.
Songs recorded in Dolby Atmos sound, as you may count on, unbelievable on the A7000. I went by way of Apple Music’s Spatial Audio playlist and it actually highlights how good Sony is on the subject of music. Basses thumped, vocals had been clear, and the mids by no means sounded too muddy. I listened to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” for the billionth time, but it surely admittedly sounded contemporary on the A7000. The entire spatial audio factor can be far more noticeable on a setup like this, particularly when you’ve got the subs and rears. Music not recorded in Atmos additionally sounds unbelievable. I performed DNAKM’s “Slanted” on YouTube and it was the definition of a chill lofi beats to check and loosen up to. It was, reader, a complete vibe.
Pricier Than the Competitors
I’m not going to mince phrases: The setup I examined is a whopping $2,350. Does it sound completely unbelievable? Sure. Is it top-of-the-line Dolby Atmos soundbars I’ve ever examined? Additionally sure. Is it that significantly better than the competitors that it’s value forking over all this cash? Hmm.
I loved the hell out of Vizio’s Elevate soundbar system. That prices $1,000, is a 5.1.four system, the ends of the soundbar rotate upward whenever you take heed to Atmos content material, and it comes with two rears that additionally have up-firing audio system. It’s not fairly nearly as good at recreating top because the A7000, but it surely’s nonetheless fairly dang glorious on the subject of simulated top. Additionally, you’re getting a sub, two rears, and a soundbar for lower than Sony’s single soundbar.
For those who’re on a funds or in a cramped area, the A7000 isn’t the soundbar for you. The Sonos Beam 2 or Arc is perhaps good choices in order for you a buildable Atmos system, or you could possibly simply go for certainly one of Vizio’s many funds and mid-range choices. Sony’s $600 HT-G700 can be a superb compromise if all you really need is an Atmos soundbar and a sub—even when the simulated top claims fall a little bit brief. Sony additionally has the barely cheaper HT-A5000, which has practically similar specs to the A7000 however is $400 cheaper. (It additionally pairs with the identical non-obligatory subwoofers and rears.)
However in order for you the very best of the very best of the very best and don’t thoughts paying for a superb dwelling audio system, get this one. It’s a superb soundbar that received’t must be changed for a superb lengthy whereas. Typically, we’re allowed to splurge a bit on issues that convey us pleasure—particularly in the event that they’re futureproofed. One factor which may take the sting out of the value is that this is a buildable, modular system. You could possibly simply get the soundbar, and over time add the subwoofer and rears as you see match. You don’t have to go ham—but it surely positive will sound wonderful should you do.