Premium, in every sense of the word

It’s a sad fact of modern life that the built-in speakers on all of these ultra-thin TVs suck. You can get a decent soundbar for a few hundred dollars, but if you want something a bit more powerful without going full-blown home theater, premium soundbars are there to fill the void. At an MSRP of $1,400 before add-ons like rear speakers or a subwoofer, the Sony HT-A7000 is premium in the extreme, and everything looks and feels as pricey as it gets. I wish it wasn’t a chore to use.

The Sony HT-A7000 offers excellent sound and a wide feature set, but is a bit moody due to its high price tag.

to set

  • Delivery: WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Integrals: Google Cast, Apple AirPlay, Spotify ConnectAma
  • Ports: 2x HDMI in, 1x HDMI eARC, Optical, 3.5mm, USB
  • phonetic form: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Dual Mono, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS ES, DTS HD High Resolution, DTS HD Master, DTS:X, LPCM
  • Energy: 500 watts
Positives

  • full and powerful voice
  • Supports all audio formats and features you could ask for
  • Easy on the eyes
cons

  • Frequent troubleshooting required
  • Matching the HDMI inputs of the TV and the amplifier is annoying
  • Too pricey

buy this product

Design, hardware, and what’s in the box (boxes)

The HT-A7000 is formidable. The bar is over four feet long and 19 pounds in height. It’s a hair wider than a 55 inch TV. It’s so wide, it actually hangs over the edge of my TV stand by a half inch or so. So it is a bit long. In front of a smaller TV, it may obscure the bottom of the screen. This may be obvious, but in such a small space it seems like overkill.

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It’s beautiful, though, with a metal grille that shows the rod drivers along the front and an uninterrupted glass panel along most of the top. There’s also a rudimentary screen in the front to show things like the volume level and the input the bar has been switched to.


sony subwoofer sw5

The Sony SW5 subwoofer, sold separately, is giant. Hand life size scale.

There are touch-sensitive buttons at the top of the bar towards the right side – power, input, shortcut for both bluetooth, streaming sources, and volume up and down. It’s capacitive buttons instead of, well, button Sure, the buttons are slippery, but the touch areas are impossible to find in the dark. I would love it if it was backlit.

On the back, there are three HDMI ports (two 4K/HDR inputs and one for eARC), an optical input, and a 3.5mm jack.

The SW5 subwoofer that Sony sells to complement its high-end speakers is just as gigantic. At 17 inches tall and a whopping 29 pounds, it reminds me a lot of a mini fridge. I had my old TV subwoofer neatly tucked under a nearby table; This is not an option with the SW5. You probably won’t be able to hide this thing very effectively, if at all. Fortunately, the RS3S rear speakers included with Sony for testing aren’t entirely public; It is reasonably sized and very handy.


Sony rs3s rear speakers

Sony RS3S rear speakers, also sold separately.

Finally, the device looks quite handsome, as far as luxury home AV gear goes. Not much is included except for the speakers themselves – some instructional literature and power cables required. (The rear speakers also come with brackets to mount to the wall.)

Sound and Features

I’m not pretending to be an audiophile by any means, but I’m generally very picky — and to my ears, the HT-A7000 sounds great. Moving from the entry-level Vizio speakers to the A7000 feels like a leap in quality similar to going from your TV’s built-in speakers to your Vizio: Oh, that’s what TV is supposed to look like. (And given how big and expensive this thing is, that’s how it should be.)


Sony Remote Control HT-A7000

The speaker is on its own, and is a 7.1.2 setup that supports Atmos, which means it bounces sound off walls and ceiling to bring surround sound closer. The A7000 certainly has a great sound range, and directional audio creates some sense of height. But to say that the HT-A7000’s tricks of producing convincing surround sound is a stretch; I’ve never noticed the feeling as if the sound is coming from above me. It won’t fool you into thinking there are built-in ceiling speakers, that’s for sure.


Movies, TV, games, and music all sound great on the HT-A7000. Even without the separate subwoofer and rear speakers, the sound from my TV is fuller and clearer than ever. The bass is deep and full-throated, and the mids and highs are clear as a timbre. The bar also supports all the features you could ask for, including AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Google Cast — you can even add them to speaker groups in the Google Home app.

Via an HDMI connection, the tape supports just about every audio format you could wish for: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD High Resolution, DTS HD Master, DTS:X and more. If you use an optical connection, your options are limited to Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono, DTS, and dual-channel LPCM.

Sony’s optional SW5 subwoofer delivers a deeper, roaring, movie theater-like sound, and the RS3S rear speakers add rear woofers. It brings a lot to the package, and pairing it wirelessly with the AT-H7000 is surprisingly simple – but it adds significantly to the already high price tag of the bar itself.

In fact, using the A7000…kind of a pain in the ass. If your TV doesn’t support eARC, you’ll have to plug any sources you want to output Atmos audio directly into the tape’s two HDMI inputs (the HT-A7000 will still output audio from your TV’s connected HDMI inputs, but Atmos traversal requires eARC). In my experience, this means that you’ll need to use both your TV remote control and your amplifier remote control to select your sources: the TV remote to switch the TV to the soundbar’s HDMI input, then the sound bar remote Audio to choose between two tape inputs. If you split your inputs this way, you’ll also have to manually juggle the audio source on the soundbar – it won’t detect the input playing audio and switch to it on its own (or at least it wasn’t there for me at all).



Sony HT-A7000 Soundbar

If your TV Do eARC support, simply run an HDMI cable from the ribbon’s eARC port to your TV, which circumvents all the tricks of input conversion. Fortunately my TV has eARC, and it has four HDMI ports of which I only used three. The A7000 is precisely inserted into fourth place, and you don’t have to deal with speaker input settings at all. However, it is likely that you will use multiple remotes to use this thing.

My biggest disappointment with the HT-A7000 is that, occasionally, it will stop producing sound altogether, the only remedy I’ve found for this is to unplug the power and plug it back in to turn it back on, a process that takes several minutes (and seems to always happen when I just want to use my TV me for a minute or two). Also annoying, but much less: since the soundbar is set up via HDMI, every time I turn the TV off, the screen turns on momentarily before turning off and stays off – and the mute soundbar screen flashes for about a minute.

Is any of this really important? For me, yes. This is a very expensive product, and its use should not be a problem at all. I’m mostly able to handle a single remote, but I often have to dig my HT-A7000’s remote off the side table to deal with some problem or other—and often the workout ends in giving up and cycling the power of the woofer. I know that upscale home audio is always a bit tricky, but that’s not the smooth user experience I’d desire more than a big bass. I almost think it’s not worth the audio quality boost coming from the less capable (and less expensive) Vizio soundbar. approx.

Should you buy it?

If you have the money and want a speaker with great sound, certainly. The HT-A7000 looks great and supports all the audio and video standards you can shake off remotely. It’s also configured to age safely with support for protocols like Google Cast and Apple’s AirPlay.

But boy, are they expensive? For $1400, I was expecting great sound And the Pure user experience, and the HT-A7000 doesn’t offer the latter; There is a lot more friction in everyday use than I expected. And while the RS3S rear speakers I’ve been using with it add that extra layer of immersion, they’ll save you a whopping $350 in retail, which is more than the cost of some less expensive TV audio solutions. The Sony SW5 subwoofer is great too (and I’m sure my neighbors loved testing it), but it costs an amazing amount 700 dollars.

If you’re thinking of diving into this setup, I’d recommend starting with the bar on its own. It looks great on its own, and you can always order extras later. Get into it expecting a headache or two—but also know that if you appreciate uncompromising sound, it will be worth it.



Sony ht-a7000 sound bar logo

Buy it if…

  • You appreciate great sound, price and comfort.
  • Your TV supports all the bells and whistles of the speaker.

Don’t buy it if…

  • Stupid electronics drive you crazy. The HT-A7000 requires almost regular troubleshooting.
  • You expect realistic surround sound. The sound bar won’t cut it for you.

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