Sony today unveiled the new Dolby Atmos / DTS:X 5.1.2ch HT-A5000 soundbar, promising a “multi-directional, cinema sound experience from the comfort of your own home” when it launches in New Zealand next March.
The combination of front speakers, side beam tweeters, up-firing speakers, and “Sony’s unique signal processing” allows the HT-A5000 to bounce sound off the walls and ceilings to create a surround-sound effect, even without additional speakers (though there is the option of rear speakers, too). Using what Sony calls “Sound Field Optimisation”, the soundbar uses built-in speakers to measure the space of the room and track the position of additional speakers, optimising the sound field accordingly.
If that works as well as Sony’s announcement suggests, the HT-A5000 could create an impressive surround sound effect from just the soundbar. But for those who want to go a step further, there’s also the option of an external subwoofer to improves the system’s ability to handle low frequencies, bringing out deeper bass and better voice clarity, and wall-mountable SA-RS3S rear speakers that allow for a wider sound field. You don’t have to worry about your video taking a hit, either, with passthrough support for 8K HDR, 4K 120fps and Dolby Vision.
The HT-A5000 is compatible with audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and can connect with Spotify Connect, Chromecast built-in, Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for music streaming. It also packs the ability to upscale compressed audio formats in real time through Edge-AI, restoring some of the range that gets lost in the compression process, and support for 360 Reality Audio through Deezer, nugs.net, and TIDAL. If you’re the voice assistant type, it’s compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa, and those with Sony Bravia TVs will benefit from native compatibility that helps the soundbar match audio with where things are happening on screen.
At an SRP of NZD $1399.95, the HT-A5000 isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it’s still at the cheaper end of the premium soundbar range. And if it lives up to to Sony’s hype, the option of multi-directional sound without the hassle of setting up a full surround sound system could be worth that asking price.