A terrific performance across a range of sources, the Sony HT-A7000 is a sonic delight with movie and music
- First-class sonic performance
- Potent bass for a single bar
- Terrific music performance
- Needs plenty of space
- Adding subwoofer and rear channels is expensive
- Standalone bar is pricey
Sound Field Optimization
Measures width and height of room to optimise soundbar’southward acoustic delivery
Due south-Strength PRO Front Environment and Vertical Surround Engine
Combine to create virtual overhead and surroundings-sound performance from a single bar
It’s been a while since Sony’s last flagship soundbar, and given the revolving door that sees new bars get in each yr, it feels well overdue for a successor.
Similar the previous model, the new flagship HT-A7000 can decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:10, merely Sony is using a twinned arroyo to create height channels, deploying both concrete upward-firing speakers and the digital processing of its Vertical Surround Engine. The HT-A7000 also brings a more appreciative ear to music playback, with Sony claiming improvements in that area.
And it’s absolutely packed to the gills with features. The HT-A7000 is a one-box soundbar that aims to everything you could feasibly desire. The question is, does it?
- Idiosyncratic pattern
- Needs plenty of space
- Excellent build quality
The HT-A7000’south sense of attire is, shall I say, eclectic. Using a combination of glass, felt, metal, and moulded plastic, Sony describes the approach as one of a mutual omnidirectional block concept. I have no thought what that means, just the results are… interesting.
Like a slice of fine art, you lot’ll stare at the A7000 before realising that it, at the very to the lowest degree, is a more interesting sight than the soundbars with a wraparound fabric from a Scandi boutique firm. I appreciate the glass meridian surface, which echoes the bar’s premium build and I like that information technology is a highly unusual material to employ. In a dark room it nicely reflects what’south on the screen but some may non like the consequence.
The HT-A7000 is also
of soundbar. At 80mm tall it’ll fit beneath TVs but at 1300mm broad and 142mm deep, in modern parlance this soundbar might exist described as ‘thicc’.
Behind the perforated grille yous can spy the drivers, and at that place’southward some nerdish excitement when they start moving. There’due south an appropriately sized and readable LED screen for tracking inputs and formats, and at either end are bass ports.
On the glass surface are affect controls (power, source, Bluetooth, volume, and a 360 Reality Sound demo), although you risk getting your greasy mitts over it and spoiling the aesthetics. Around the rear are the connections, and the mode they’re labelled did take me a few seconds to figure out which HDMI port is which.
The remote lacks backlit buttons but the layout is first-class. Button presses are responsive and feel practiced, and y’all can’t inquire for much more than that.
- Enough of means to stream audio
- Built-in calibration
- Total-screen user interface
As you’d expect for a soundbar northward of £g, the HT-A7000 is bursting at its seams with features. If there’s a way of playing audio, the A7000 conceivably has the ways to practice and so.
At that place’south built-in Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth 5.0, with Sony’due south own high-quality LDAC codec upping the Bluetooth bandwidth. Utilize the USB input and the A7000 can play everything from MP3 to DSD music files. Audio extends from Atmos (via Dolby Digital Plus or TrueHD), to diverse DTS incarnations (including DTS:X), all the way to legacy Dolby Digital and DTS formats.
Both Sony’due south Vertical Surroundings Engine and Southward-Forcefulness PRO Front Surround feature. The former creates overhead channels virtually, while the latter fires sound towards the listener to create the impression of wider, wrap-around soundfield.
This is further enhanced by the Sound Field Optimization feature, which emits a series of tones for the onboard microphones to measure the height and width of a room to optimise its operation. It’due south worth running if you move the soundbar later initial ready-upwards.
There are two HDMI inputs, a HDMI out (eARC) for a TV, an optical-sound, analogue (stereo mini), and USB inputs, with the two HDMI inputs able to passthrough Dolby Vision (at 4K/lx), HLG and HDR10. For TVs without eARC, any Atmos signal will exist the slightly less capable and lossy Dolby Digital Plus version.
The driver set-up consists of upfiring speakers, two axle tweeters to disperse sound out wide; along with five front end speakers and a dual subwoofer configuration that uses Sony’due south X-Counterbalanced speaker technology, which claims to produce less distortion, amend vocal clarity, and punchier bass. Birthday that’s a vii.1.2 layout powered by 500W.
With Sony’s DSEE Farthermost and 360 Reality Sound, the soundbar can upscale compressed audio files in real fourth dimension and play spatial audio tracks respectively. The Audio-visual Middle Sync matches action and dialogue on screen with a compatible Bravia Goggle box, and there’south an integrated user interface when paired with a Bravia Tv.
One prickly result I had with Sony’s HT-G700 was its dumbo menu system; navigation felt similar the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and co. become lost in car park. The HT-A7000 opts for a total-screen interface (via the Habitation button) where you can gear up the bar up, switch inputs, connect to the network, and calibrate the speaker. Download the Sony Music Eye app and that’s another ways of operation.
Sony offers 2 subwoofers in different sizes that can be added in conjunction to the A7000 – the 300W rated SA-SW5 and the smaller 200W SA-SW3, which cost £699 and £449 respectively. Throw in the SA-SR35 rear speakers (£449), and it’s over £2000 for the consummate organisation, much more than the LG-SN11RG or Samsung’southward competing efforts.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are included, but they require an external speaker to take advantage of. Given how much the HT-A7000 does cram in, that is a surprise.
- Crisp, clear, concise performance
- Potent bass performance for a single bar
- Fantabulous music performance
The HT-A7000 plays Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks simply can besides up mix not-immersive audio to ‘3D’. The combination of the concrete upfiring speakers and Vertical Sound Engine delivers i of the near convincing ‘height’ performances I’ve heard from a soundbar in 2022.
That notwithstanding, much like the HT-G700, I’g non every bit convinced of the HT-A7000’due south claims of surround sound with its Due south-Forcefulness PRO engineering. I didn’t frequently get the sense furnishings were directed to the listening position in what was, for me at least, a front end-heavy soundstage. I feel the Samsung HW-Q900A produces more width with some films although the Sony maps sounds superbly onto a screen.
Where Sony bests its Samsung counterpart is in the heights, earthworks out more clarity and definition. Peak effects in the first race sequence from Prepare Player One are articulated better, the T-Rex and King Kong take a stronger presence equally they swoop into the activity with effective handovers betwixt the drivers.
Tonally the Sony is sharp and crisp, avoiding sounding candy or strident with high frequencies or sibilant with voices. Dialogue is crisply delivered in Guardians of the Galaxy vol.two, with a distinct difference between Quill’southward voice, Drax’s baritone and Gamora’due south exasperation. Vocal clarity is well handled, although delivery can a lack some emotion, the crispness overrides whatsoever sense of warmth.
The chase sequence in vol.2 that leads to the Guardians’ Milano being wrecked makes an first-class case for the Sony’s accuracy in placing effects. The shifts in management performed by the Milano stick to the screen like glue, as does dialogue and the management of the laser blasts aimed at the ship. The balance of effects, dialogue, and music is handled expertly, the A7000 showing good sense of what to bring to fore for a clear and concise soundstage.
Bass impresses for a single bar system, noticeable in the absolutely crunching body shots Thanos lands on Hulk at the get-go of Infinity War. Bass doesn’t become as deep equally a split subwoofer could – simply it is convincingly powerful, and explosive for a single bar system. Blade Runner 2049’southward soundtrack invokes a lilliputian distortion, but the scene in 5 for Vendetta where V blows up the Quondam Bailey is pleasingly free information technology, and congenital-in sub doesn’t muck up clarity elsewhere in the frequency range.
More examples of its bass prowess come in opening siege of Tenet. The bass in Ludwig Göransson’due south score has plenty of power, and the A7000 doesn’t strain to deliver gunshots and punches with strength, resulting in a prepare-piece that’s both exhausting and exhilarating.
It’s also an impressively nuanced and revealing soundbar offer excellent levels of detail. The ‘reverse’ airdrome scene in Tenet sees the Sony preserve more subtle details similar the sounds of the character’due south breathing apparatus in among the chaos.
Similar is truthful with Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, the ambience of scenes brought to behave brilliantly. Effects I hadn’t noticed every bit much with other soundbars – the sounds of birds outside the house or the ‘noise’ of nature throughout – are brought through with first-class definition. The Sony is a soundbar that reveals every nook and cranny of that movie’s excellent sound mix.
With Shutter Isle (DTS-HD v.1) and the A7000’s feel for quiet/loud moments is sharply conveyed, bringing impact, dynamism, and intensity to the soundtrack. In a manner, the performance of the bar heightens date with the movie, the emotional beats country more effectively.
Switch to less explosive and non-immersive programming – The Trip Part II from series four of Seinfeld – and the Sony’s nous for dialogue placement in the mouths of characters again appeals – merely the delivery still feels dank. Even the laughter track feels thinly defined in Standard mode.
Over the air broadcast programming fares ameliorate with voices more than smoothly relayed. High frequencies are sharply conveyed, the midrange roomy and bass constructive. Watching Countdown is not a chore for this soundbar, simply it’s a natural sounding presentation that doesn’t take you out of what you’re watching.
Musically, some tweaking is required. It’s initially bothersome that choosing another audio mode carries over previous settings. Listening to music over Spotify Connect in Music mode and Baton Joel’s We Didn’t Beginning the Burn sounded cluttered and thin. I’d left Immersive AE feature on (for upmixing to 3D), and dialogue boost, which led to a confusing operation.
Music fashion delivers a crisp and make clean tone, just I don’t call up it’s the
mode as it doesn’t quite derive as much emotion from vocals. Cinema way is better as it applies a smoother tone, more warmth, and more bass, as well.
Nib Withers’ The Aforementioned Dearest That Makes Me Express mirth sounds superb. Wither’due south voice is presented all the detail the A7000 can muster, while bass elements have weight and depth, with instruments impressively and naturally realised.
Moving to 360RA tracks and Ain’t No Sunshine benefits from more depth, though information technology sounds thin in places. Britney Spears’ Toxic gets a wider soundstage – as big as the soundbar itself – and at that place’s elevation as instruments are placed above the soundbar. Henry Mancini’due south Dream a Little Dream of Me and For the Skillful Times both sound spacious with sport an enthusiastic sense of rhythm; with the Sony producing some precipitous leading-edge clarity in its clarification of the piano notes.
America from the new West Side Story in Atmos is a sprightly rendition, voices clear and shifts in tone delivered with dynamism and energy. Voices announced above, behind and to the sides of the soundbar just if you’re expecting a ‘tall’ performance, perchance bank check your expectations a piddling – it’due south slightly bigger than the soundbar itself – and with the Immersive AE role on there’s a sweet spot to take into business relationship. When information technology works though, it is terrific.
Overall, the music performance excels with excellent timing and tonality of instruments and voices, a natural delivery of the mid-range, and a sharp and believing top end combined with a punchy low-cease. Soundbars have rarely sounded this adept with music.
Should you buy it?
An excellent single-bar with movies and music
If a soundbar that’s every bit skilful with movies as it is with music is on your shopping wish listing, the Sony delivers on both fronts with an excellent and natural performance
If you’re not willing to pay that much for a single bar
There’s no doubting the Sony puts in an authoritative operation, but the bar itself is expensive and if you lot have designs on calculation a subwoofer or rear speakers, the overall price skyrockets
While calling the Sony HT-A7000 a ‘soundbar’ does describe its purpose, it’southward also seems incapable of truly describing its talent. While not Sennheiser Ambeo levels of performance, it is a formidable for a one-box system at this price.
Information technology does need infinite to operate though, its virtual surround sound ambitions perhaps require a more suitable surround to bring them out, and adding a subwoofer or rear speakers adds to the already premium cost.
Despite that, equally single bar it has and so much to offering, its performance across a range of sources is excellent. Its flexibility makes for a organization that’southward as proficient with movies as it is with music. Around its price, the Sony HT-A7000 is the immersive soundbar to beat.
How we test
We examination every soundbar nosotros review thoroughly over an extended flow of fourth dimension. Nosotros use industry standard tests to compare features properly. Nosotros’ll always tell yous what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a production.
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Tested over several weeks
Tested with a variety of content and audio formats
Tested with real globe utilise
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Can the Sony HT-A7000 passthrough HDR10+?
No, it can only passthrough HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision signals through its HDMI inputs.
Does the HT-A7000 back up ALLM and VRR?
At the moment the HT-A7000 doesn’t support ALLM or VRR. Nosotros are waiting on word as to when the soundbar will back up it.
European union RRP
First Reviewed Date
Sound Bar Channels
Sound (Power output)
1300 ten 142 x 80 MM
5x front speakers, dual bass woofers, 2x upfiring speakers, 2x tweeters
Chromecast, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth v.0
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Dual mono, DTS, DTS HD Loftier Resolution Sound, DTS Hard disk Principal Audio, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS:X, LPCM, DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, HE AAC, AAC, mp3, Monkey Audio, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, SBC, LDAC
65 Due west
980 x 108 x 64 MM
3x 45 x 100mm cone type, 160mm cone type woofer
1/1 HDMI, Digital Optical out, Bluetooth 5.0
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Dual mono, DTS, DTS Hard disk drive High Resolution Sound, DTS Hard disk drive Chief Sound, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS: X, LPCM, DTS Virtual:X
A new feature which aims to make audio in games more than immersive by having the sounds from each game surround the player in a three-dimensional mode.
Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.i and 7.1 soundtracks by calculation overhead channels. Sounds are referred to as “sound objects”, of which there can be up to 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ can be accurately positioned inside a 3D soundscape. This allows soundtracks that support the technology to place sounds to a higher place and around the listener with compatible kit.
eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) is the update to ARC and information technology boosts the bandwidth and speed, making room for object-based sound surround formats such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos to be sent directly to an AV receiver/soundbar.
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