Sony's new flagship soundbar, HT-A7000, features Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and can be upgraded with an optional subwoofer and rear speakers. The company also unveiled its '360 Spatial Sound' HT-A9.
Sony HT-A7000 soundbar
Four years after the HT-ST5000, Sony has unveiled a new flagship soundbar that lets you "surround yourself in absolute realism" when enjoying movies, games, and music.
- "HT-A7000 has 7.1.2 channels, two up-firing speakers for overhead sound, two beam tweeters and five front speakers for wider surround and a built-in dual subwoofer for deep bass. Coupled with Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force PRO Front Surround, the HT-A7000 creates virtual surround sound that comes from all around you so you can fully enjoy the thrill of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X," the company said.
HT-A7000 supports object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It has two up-firing speakers that reflect sound off the ceiling for overhead effects as well as two beam tweeters that bounce sound off the side walls to expand the sound field.
Sony added that its soundbar features built-in microphones for room optimization and unlike its predecessor HT-A7000 is expandable (see 'shared features' section).
- "The HT-A7000 includes built-in microphones that do all the work for you to give you perfect surround sound for your room. Also, there’s no need to precisely place speakers. Sound Field Optimization intelligently measure the height and width of the room, as well as the position of the optional subwoofer and rear speakers and optimises the sound to perfectly to your room layout. The HT-A7000 lets you enjoy Sound Field Optimization with or without optional speakers," explained Sony.
360 Spatial Sound system
In addition, Sony introduced the HT-A9, which it refers to as its first home theater system with '360 Spatial Sound Mapping' technology.
- "Feel sound from every direction with Sony’s revolutionary 360 Spatial Sound on the HT-A9. Sound Field Optimization ingeniously measures the relative height and position of each speaker and, based on positioning, synthesises the sound waves and creates up to twelve phantom speakers from just four speakers, resulting in 360 sound," said Sony.
HT-A9 consists of four compact speakers that connect wirelessly to a control box (each speaker must be connected to a power outlet).
Each speaker uses dual microphones to measure the room, determine its position, and optimize sound. Up-firing speakers are used to reflect sound off the ceiling. HT-A9 supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Both HT-A9 and HT-A7000 feature HDMI in (with 8K HDR, 4K120 and Dolby Vision pass-though) and HDMI out (eARC). HT-A7000 also has USB, optical and analog in, but only HDMI will provide the full surround and audio quality.
In addition, Sony has implemented 'Acoustic Center Sync', which lets a compatible Sony TV (Z9J, A90J, A80J, X95J) act as an extra center channel. An integrated user interface also lets owners of Sony Z9J, A90J, A80J, X95J, X90J, X85J, and X80J set up the soundbar from the TV settings menu.
Sony lets users expand both systems with two types of subwoofers (300W SA-SW5 and 200W SA-SW3). HT-A7000 also supports optional rear speakers (SA-RS3S).
Both HT-A9 and HT-A7000 support '360 Reality Audio', which is Sony's spatial audio format for music. At launch, it will be supported by Amazon Music HD, Deezer, nugs.net and Tidal. In addition, both support Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
So how do they sound? Unfortunately, covid continues to wreak havoc on the consumer electronics industry, with cancelled physical events left and right, so FlatpanelsHD has not yet had a chance to listen to Sony's new audio products.
The new audio products from Sony will be available in late September. Suggested retail prices are as follows: HT-A7000 (€1300, $1300, £1200), HT-A9 (€1800, $1800, £1600), SA-SW3 (€500, $400, £450), SA-SW5 (€800, $700, £700), and SA-RS3S (€500, $350, £450).