The 55-inch TV in my room is impressive but falls short when it comes to audio. Whenever I am in the mood to catch a movie late at night after coming from the office, the TV sounds tinny and washed out, killing the thrill of watching shows like Stranger Things 4 which I am currently hooked to.
While watching movies that are made for a cinematic experience, I am always craving for surround sound speakers. Investing in a high-end surround speaker system has always been on my wishlist but I wasn’t able to figure out what would be the entry point to build a true home theatre system that also does not take too much space.
Thankfully, Sony approached me to review the HT-A5000 Atmos soundbar, which is a single unit but promises the impact of a fully built-out surround sound system. Here are my thoughts on whether the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is something I would consider for my home.
The A5000 has a low height, measuring only 2.75 x 47.75 x 56.3 inches (HxWxD). That means the soundbar can be placed under almost any TV. However, the speaker is pretty big and longer than many soundbars. The good part is that you can wall mount this soundbar with the brackets included in the box.
It’s made of plastic with metal grilles over the up-firing drivers on top of the bar. The speaker also has rounded edges, unlike other soundbars that are rectangular and square-shaped. The Sony HT-A5000 comes in a black colour scheme, and the design will blend with the decor of most Indian homes. The A5000 has a front display on it and it tells you the source that you are using and the volume.
The soundbar comes with a wide variety of connectivity options including Bluetooth, HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, and more. More importantly, the Sony HT-A5000 will also let you stream or play music from any device, including the iPhone.
How I tested
The Sony HT-A5000 sports three discrete drivers for left, centre, and right channel duty; two up-firing speakers for height effects; and two bass drivers. This is a standalone unit, meaning you don’t need to buy multiple speakers to create the surround sound effect in the room. However, to amp up the sound and create a theatre-like experience, you can always buy external subwoofers.
The HT-A5000 soundbar is compatible with two wireless subwoofers: the SA-SW3, which is a 200W wireless subwoofer with a 160mm driver, and the larger SA-SW5, which is a 300W wireless subwoofer with a 180mm driver and passive radiator. For this review, I tested the Sony SA-SW5 paired with the HT-A5000.
I connected the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar to my 55-inch UHD TV via HDMI, then plugged my Apple TV 4K into the Sony HT-A5000’s HDMI input. The idea was to test Dolby Vision and HDR. I tested the Sony Soundbar to watch movies streamed from my Apple TV 4K.
Setting up the HT-A5000 was simple and easy. All you need to do is to turn on the soundbar, sub, and surround speakers and follow the instructions. The next step was to connect the soundbar to a stable Wi-Fi connection using the iPhone. Frankly, the setup was quick. That allowed the HT-A5000 to be used as an AirPlay speaker. Lastly, I ran the soundbar through its sound field optimisation, which essentially calibrates each speaker’s volumes and distances.
Watching the fourth season of Stranger Things felt different the moment I turned on the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar. Every scene looks and sounds as if I was sitting in a movie theatre and that experience I had been trying to replicate with other soundbars for a very long time.
The HT-A5000 has some of the crispest sounds I’ve heard from a soundbar. The soundbar emits clear mid and high-end sounds with utmost clarity. Even bass is well-rounded, without having to add any additional subwoofer. The only trade-off of the HT-A5000 is that it takes up a lot of space in the room and doesn’t come close to Sonos Beam in size and compactness.
Should you buy the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar?
The Sony HT-A5000 changed my perception of soundbars, busting the myth that a single-speaker solution can’t have the impact of a fully built-out surround sound system. I was completely wrong. But you have to be ready to shell out a premium price for the Sony HT-A5000 which is comparably higher for a soundbar. That said, Sony HT-A5000 has everything you would want in a high-end soundbar.
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