Let’s think: what should a top soundbar be able to do? Deliver great sound in movies? This is basic functionality and is somehow not enough for a flagship. Is it cool to play music? It also looks like an item on the list of the obvious. The best answer to this question was provided by Sony HT-A7000. Watch your hands: the 7.1.2 configuration for real Dolby Atmos and you can buy more speakers, it supports up to 8K resolution in movies, and 4K with a 120 Hz refresh rate in games, streams music using convenient wireless protocols. It is also full of the most convenient little things that may not be noticeable in the list of basic characteristics, but they have a great impact on the user experience and impressions of the product.
The price range for the soundbar market is enormous. Starting positions are indicated by modest four-digit numbers on the price tags (you can’t buy decent headphones for that kind of money) and reach impressive hundreds of thousands of rubles for the flagships of the best brands. With cheap models, everything is clear: even the simplest soundbar in terms of sound quality and volume bypasses the built-in speakers of TVs, as a rule, with a power of 10-20 watts. But for the sake of why chasing top models, not everyone understands. We analyze the advantages and features of flagship soundbars using the example of Sony HT-A7000.
Top models can be roughly divided into three categories. There are soundbars from luxury brands with aesthetics in priority, products closer to the audiophile class with very “correct” (though not always impressive) sound, as well as systems with powerful surround sound and an abundance of additional functions. Sony HT-A7000 belongs to the third type of product, therefore it is most interesting.
Sony HT-A7000 Specifications
|Audio||7.1.2 sound with a total power of 500W + 300W subwoofer|
|Resolution (max.)||4K @ 120Hz, 8K @ 60Hz (with HDR)|
|HDMI standard||HDMI 2.1|
|Inputs||2x HDMI 2.1, optical digital, 3.5 mm jack, USB type A, S-Center|
|Audio out||1x HDMI 2.1 (eARC)|
|Wi-FI||802.11 a / b / g / n / ac|
|Play media||Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, USB|
|HDR formats||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG|
|Peculiarities||S-Force PRO Surround & Vertical Sound, 360 Surround Audio|
|Sound Formats||Dolby Digital (Plus), Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-HD High-Res, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS: X, LPCM|
|Dimensions (edit)||1300 x 80 x 142 mm|
|Power consumption||65 watts|
|Contents of delivery||Soundbar, remote control, HDMI cable, power cable, audio cable|
It looks impressive. Especially with large TVs
The exterior is a classic in Sony’s signature aesthetic. The soundbar is large, measuring 130 cm wide, which roughly corresponds to a 55-inch display. Taking it to smaller TVs seems strange to me. First, the small screen is probably in a small room? This means that the Sony HT-A7000 is unlikely to fully reveal its acoustic talents. And the imbalance in food prices will turn out to be suspicious: budget TV with a flagship soundbar? I tested it with a 75 “TV and this tandem looks very organic. Unlike compact acoustics of this class, against the background of large screens, the Sony HT-A7000 does not look like a toy.
The case is rectangular, austere and restrained in shape without design frills. It will not become the center of gravity of interior attention, but it seems to me completely wrong when they try to pass off electronics as decor. When you see the Sony HT-A7000, you immediately understand the purpose of the product and the potential of its acoustic capabilities. This is the main thing. Sony’s designers opted for thick black plastic. It is matte with a noticeable texture. The upper plane, where the touch control buttons are located, is covered with gloss. The front side is closed with a metal grill, and under it, slightly to the right of the center, there are LEDs and a text display with information about the current operating mode. It is convenient to see the confirmation of the current operating mode on it, however, if necessary, you can always reduce the brightness at night or completely turn it off.
There is a nuance. Vertical speakers with fabric
There are two ways to solve this issue: either always make sure that the cat’s claws are neatly trimmed and filed, or choose a wall mount for the Sony HT-A7000 with brackets so that the animal cannot freely climb onto the soundbar and lie on it. In general, the choice of materials (although I devoted a lot of attention to this) is simply a feature of the product, and not a design flaw. After all, lining speakers with metal mesh is a rare occurrence, and we’ve always dealt somehow with fabric on speakers and kept them safe from pets.
The control panel is classic. It’s comfortable
Sony decided not to experiment with touch controls and minimalist remotes with almost no buttons. I think this is a huge plus. All actions can be performed in one click, and not go for settings and options in the graphical menu. Moreover, over time, mechanical memory will provide the ability to perform the necessary actions by touch and not pay more attention to control than it should. For example, this is useful for switching sources, types of content being played, activating music services, controlling the subwoofer and rear speakers (if available).
Does it sound Good? In all scenarios – Superb
The soundbar is equipped with speakers in 7.1.2 channel configuration: two vertically oriented speakers, five front speakers and two tweeters, with built-in dual subwoofer. Together they provide total power of 500 watts. Describing in words exactly how the Sony HT-A7000 sounds is an undertaking to failure right from the start. It will still not work to convey the impressions, but we will try to be at least somewhat informative.
To begin with, the product is clearly designed with an eye on spacious rooms. Of course, those who want to get this particular model for themselves, the size of the room should not stop, but you should be prepared for the fact that the volume will hardly be twisted by at least half. The sum of the speakers, Dolby Atmos support, room calibration, Immersive AE mode and other technologies work great together and give a really powerful and impressive sound, regardless of whether you include a top blockbuster, a sitcom with an abundance of dialogue or some kind of intelligent album. from your favorite music service. As they say, he plays for all the money.
Modern wired and wireless connections
Sony HT-A7000 will receive two HDMI 2.1 connectors and one HDMI 2.1 output (with eARC). All features of this standard are supported, including Dolby Vision, 4K gaming with 120Hz refresh rate, and the highest quality 8K video currently available. Optical audio input, 3.5mm headphone jack and classic USB Type-A can also be used for wired connections.
Streaming uses Chromecast technology, Apple Airplay 2 or Bluetooth, and there is also support for the Spotify Connect service. In addition, the Sony HT-A7000 supports 360 Reality Audio and Hi-Res audio, which is the highest quality lossless audio tracks.
Complementary products. If you need more sound
For the Russian market, Sony decided to combine the HT-A7000 soundbar with a full-size SA-SW5 subwoofer with a 180mm 300W speaker and passive radiator for even richer and deeper bass. For other countries, there is still an option to take a simpler subwoofer, but if you are going to buy a top-end soundbar, then there is no point in saving on bass. You can also complement the soundbar with a pair of SA-RS3S rear speakers with a total power of 100 watts with the option of wall mounting – for more surround sound.
As a result
For me personally, Sony has always been at the top in entertainment products. Walkman and Discman players, great headphones that I dreamed of as a child and enjoy using now, TVs with perfect color reproduction for movies, as well as PlayStation, Hi-End audio products and much more. The flagship in the home audio category fits neatly into this sequence and exhibits some of the best acoustic and functional features in its class.
Whether you want to have fun – movies and TV shows, music, games or conversational genres – the Sony HT-A7000 is perfect for any task and delivers excellent sound quality in all cases. And most importantly, in addition to his main responsibility, he has a huge number of convenient chips, options and useful technologies, the combination of which provides the user experience of the flagship product.