Is it really still July? Fall 2021 is going to be a very busy season for Sony who will be releasing two flagship all-in-one home theater systems that have us torn. Both will sell for over $2,000 when combined with a subwoofer (not included) and support Dolby Atmos®, DTS:X and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. The new Sony HT-A7000 soundbar looks impressive on paper but the proof will be in the listening.
The slightly more expensive Sony HT-A9 comes with 4 wireless speakers, whereas the HT-A7000 arrives in one long soundbar. Which one you choose probably depends on your room and what you have the space for more than anything else.
The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar can be mounted to the wall under a TV or placed atop a stand beneath a TV. You don’t want to put it inside a cabinet because it has upward firing speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling.
The HT-A9 four-speaker system requires room for two speakers adjacent to each side of the TV and two behind your seating area. The 4 separate loudspeakers in this system are not very large but do require access to a power receptacle which might preclude specific locations in your room. The Enclave Audio CineHome Pro wireless home theater system that we just reviewed operates in a similar way with five speakers and a powered subwoofer requiring a power source.
For situations where a soundbar works best, the 7.1.2-channel HT-A7000 is packed internally with speaker drivers. There are two upward firing speakers for overhead sound, two beam tweeters and five front speakers for wider surround and a built-in dual subwoofer — although we’d still recommend an additional subwoofer. We’ve tried a few soundbars with internal subwoofers and were not very impressed with the results.
Thanks to Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine, the HT-A7000 can position sound in vertical space to create overhead audio without the need for in-ceiling speakers. With S-Force PRO, the soundbar can virtually reproduce the surround soundfield, with audio coming from both horizontal directions. Additionally, the HT-A7000’s Soundfield Optimization feature utilizes built-in microphones to intelligently measure the height and width of the room, as well as the position of an optional subwoofer and rear speakers, and perfectly optimizes sound to the room’s layout.
Like the HT-A9, the Sony HT-A7000 also features High-Resolution Audio and 360 Reality Audio along with Dolby Atmos. 360 Reality Audio immerses listeners in music as if they were directly in front of their favorite artist, and can be experienced using Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, nugs.net and Deezer.
The HT-A7000 also features DSEE Extreme™, which restores the high-range sound of compressed digital music in real-time. Easily access popular music services like Spotify and stream favorite albums and playlists using Chromecast, Apply AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect.
Whether it’s used to watch dramatic movies or play action-packed games, all of the original picture quality is preserved when playing content through the Sony HT-A7000. It also supports all the latest formats such as 8K HDR, 4K/120fps and Dolby Vision® to create a best-in-class entertainment experience.
When paired with compatible BRAVIA televisions (A80J series, A90J series and upcoming X95J and Z9J series), the HT-A7000 can be configured to use the TV as an additional center channel to precisely match where audio is coming from on the screen. In addition, the HT-A7000’s settings will automatically appear on the BRAVIA TV’s Quick Settings Menu and users can control the volume of the soundbar seamlessly with their BRAVIA remote.
The soundbar also features voice activation and works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. In addition, customers can easily add the soundbar to their speaker group using the Google Home app.
Plug in the HT-A7000, connect it to a TV using the HDMI eARC connection and power on – it’s as simple as that. With USB, optical and analog audio inputs, as well as HDMI inputs and outputs (eARC), users have all the connections they are likely to require for a typical home theater system.
Optional Subwoofer / Rear Speakers
You also have the option of adding a wireless subwoofer to this system. Having two types of subwoofers allows the built-in subwoofers in the HT-A7000 to handle the mid bass and lower midrange with the optional wireless subwoofer focusing on any low end content below 50Hz.
Sony has two options designed to work seamlessly with the HT-A7000; the SA-SW5 wireless subwoofer (powered internally by a 300 watt amplifier) with a 7-inch driver with passive radiator, and the SA-SW3 wireless subwoofer (powered internally by a 200 watt amplifier) which is a bass reflex design utilizing a 6-inch driver.
If you desire to add additional rear channels to the system, the SA-RS3S wireless speakers that feature a 100 watt/channel amplifier are also available and can be wall-mounted.
Price & Availability
The Sony HT-A7000 is expected to become available September/October 2021.
HT-A7000 Soundbar – $1,299.99
SA-SW5 300-watt Subwoofer – $699.99
SA-SW3 200-watt Subwoofer – $399.99
SA-RS3S Rear speakers – $349.99