A very good residence theatre system can actually improve your leisure setup, and there are numerous methods to place one collectively in your tv room at residence. Whereas many may choose to mix-and-match particular person parts from completely different manufacturers, others may choose the simplicity and ease of setup that you could get with a single product set. Sony provides simply that with its feature-filled A-series soundbars, which can be utilized with matching subwoofers and rear audio system. I am reviewing one of many Sony HT-A5000 soundbar techniques right here.
Priced at round Rs. 1,72,000 for the package deal I am reviewing right here, however with packages beginning at round Rs. 1,12,000 onwards in India, the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is the model’s mid-tier product in its A-series lineup of soundbars and speaker techniques. With a 5.1.2-channel speaker setup for the soundbar and help for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough, is the Sony HT-A5000 definitely worth the worth? Discover out on this assessment.
Sony HT-A5000 system packages and pricing
Whereas Sony states that the HT-A5000 is just being offered in packages in India beginning at Rs. 1,11,980, the soundbar might be bought by itself from Amazon for Rs. 85,990 on the time of penning this assessment. Totally different packages can be found on Amazon as properly, so relying in your necessities, you’ll find the setup and worth level that fits you greatest.
Sony recommends using a devoted subwoofer with the HT-A5000, with the corporate’s personal package deal choices together with both the SA-SW3 (Rs. 1,11,980) or SA-SW5 subwoofer (Rs. 1,38,980). You can even add the elective SA-RS3S (Rs. 30,990) or SA-RS5 (Rs. 47,990) wi-fi rear audio system, when you like. For this assessment, I had the HT-A5000 paired with the SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear audio system, with the entire package deal priced at round Rs. 1,72,000. I’ve examined the assorted parts each individually and collectively, to get a transparent image of how every of them work.
Sony HT-A5000 design and specs
The Sony HT-A5000 is a part of the identical collection because the Sony HT-A7000 (Review) and Sony HT-A3000, and is the positioned between them based mostly on options, specs, and pricing. This soundbar has a 5.1.2-channel configuration, with three front-firing audio system, two beam tweeters, a dual-channel subwoofer, and two up-firing audio system for overhead sound. The rated energy output of the HT-A5000 is 450W.
Though not as spectacular to take a look at because the costlier HT-A7000, the Sony HT-A5000 is almost as massive and nonetheless fairly a handsome soundbar. There aren’t any shiny or cloth parts on the speaker unit, however the textured black end and steel grille do give it a contemporary and refined look. The bar unit weighs 6.1kg and contours up pretty evenly with a 55-inch tv.
On the prime of the HT-A5000 is a contact panel for the on-device controls, whereas the again has two cutouts for ports and sockets. The entrance of the speaker has a small monochrome show which exhibits the ability standing, quantity, and energetic supply.
The Sony HT-A5000 comes with a helpful distant that has loads of controls, going far past the fundamental ones on the soundbar itself. IT allows you to change between varied sound modes, management the amount of a linked subwoofer or rear audio system, and shortly switc between sources, over and above the fundamentals of energy, quantity and playback controls. The gross sales package deal additionally features a energy cable for the HT-A5000, an HDMI cable, and batteries for the distant.
Sony HT-A5000 connectivity and options
For connectivity, the Sony HT-A5000 primarily depends on HDMI eARC, with separate enter and output ports. It could deal with show sign passthrough for as much as 8K HDR, 4K 120Hz, or Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material. There are additionally optical (TOSLINK) and USB Kind-A ports, in addition to an ‘S-Heart Out’ socket which helps you to use a suitable Bravia TV as a centre speaker.
Wi-fi connectivity on the Sony HT-A5000 makes use of Bluetooth 5 (with help for the SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs) and Wi-Fi, which works with varied companies and protocols together with Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay, Spotify Join, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa. There’s additionally help for HDMI CEC, and the TV Wi-fi protocol which lets the soundbar join wirelessly to suitable Sony Bravia TVs.
The Sony HT-A5000 helps varied Dolby codecs as much as Atmos, DTS:X, and Sony’s personal Vertical Encompass Engine for overhead speaker virtualisation. All of this could usefully be managed via a visible interface which might be accessed when the soundbar is linked to a TV via the HDMI port. The interface permits quick access to controls and connectivity choices, and in addition lets the person arrange the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping characteristic and any Wi-Fi-based companies, amongst different issues.
Sony SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear audio system design and specs
The Sony SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear audio system are packaged individually, include their very own energy cables, and are designed to visually match any of the A-series soundbars. These items are fairly massive, and you will want to make sure you have the house and skill to put them accurately. Usefully, the RS5 audio system have in-built batteries, and are rated to run for as much as 10 hours on a single cost, which might come in useful if positioning is hard and energy retailers aren’t simply accessible.
The subwoofer wasn’t too troublesome for me to put, however the rear audio system have been a bit extra sophisticated because of needing an influence socket and a safe place to place every of them behind my seating space. All extra items should be positioned accurately close to the primary soundbar. As soon as arrange and linked, they will energy on and off and connect with the HT-A5000 routinely and reliably, based mostly on the ability standing of the primary soundbar. The pairing course of is sort of simple, and might be carried out via the visible interface for the HT-A5000.
The SA-SW5 subwoofer has a rated output of 300W and due to this fact considerably will increase the general energy of the package deal, whereas the SA-RS5 rear audio system have a rated output of 180W (90W every). Every of the units requires a separate connection to an influence outlet, however as talked about, they pair with the HT-A5000 grasp system wirelessly, which handles connections with all different units equivalent to your TV and media sources.
Sony HT-A5000 efficiency
The three soundbars in Sony’s A-series lineup in India are primarily differentiated by their driver configurations, and as an element of that, their rated energy output. The Sony HT-A5000 is the center product within the lineup, providing a bit lower than the HT-A7000 on the entire, however a good bit greater than the lower-priced HT-A3000. In my view, this makes the HT-A5000 essentially the most sensible of the three within the lineup, and it’s significantly properly suited to pairing with premium 55-inch or 65-inch televisions.
The HT-A5000 can also be significantly properly suited to the everyday city lounge, and arguably seems to be extra in place in such a setting than the HT-A7000 and different premium residence theatre setups from specialist loudspeaker manufacturers. This additionally carries via to its ease of use and the dearth of tweaking essential to get one of the best out of it. It by no means felt too loud, highly effective or overbearing in my residence, and it ought to be capable of adapt to each bigger and smaller areas, in my view, due to its mid-tier 5.1.2-channel configuration and energy output.
Ease of use, and the truth that I did not must do a lot setup, make the Sony HT-A5000 so much easier than the HT-A7000. I not often wanted to regulate the degrees of the SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear audio system after the preliminary calibration and setup, and even change sound codecs or modes to boost voice and dialogue high quality; the Sony HT-A5000 just about simply labored because it was.
That mentioned, to get one of the best out of the Sony HT-A5000, you do want to make use of it with the proper tools; audio format help is an enormous issue within the efficiency of the soundbar system. I had the Sony HT-A5000 linked to an Apple TV 4K (3rd Gen), with content material passing via the soundbar to the tv, thus permitting for as much as Dolby Atmos help when obtainable.
Watching the enduring ‘Beard After Hours’ episode of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+, Dolby Atmos made all the things sound significantly higher. Sound coming from the rear audio system was significantly properly tuned and refined, and the trippy nightclub scene on the finish of the episode additionally managed to place the overhead channels of the HT-A5000 to good use, creating a really audible virtualisation impact. There was sound coming from all instructions, but it surely by no means felt an excessive amount of or too jumbled up; your entire observe was cohesive and all parts performed quite properly collectively.
Overhead virtualisation naturally wants the proper of content material. Nevertheless, more often than not, I used to be watching TV exhibits and films obtainable in 5.1-channel audio, equivalent to Andor and Rogue One on Disney+ Hotstar, 1899 on Netflix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (each motion pictures) on Amazon Prime Video. For these, the soundbar relied on Sony’s Vertical Encompass Engine and 360 Spatial Sound mapping to virtualise the 5.1-channel audio sign to work successfully with the extra channels within the setup.
This labored successfully, and the sound from the Sony HT-A5000, SA-SW5, and SA-RS5 was remarkably constant throughout codecs and content material sorts, at reasonable to excessive quantity ranges. Whereas I did additionally attempt the Dolby Audio and DTS:X modes, these did not have as a lot of an impact on the HT-A5000 as on the bigger and costlier HT-A7000 soundbar.
Taking the rear audio system and subwoofer out of the equation naturally takes a major chunk out of the general sound, however the HT-A5000 by itself is clearly nonetheless considerably higher than what even a high-end tv will ship via its built-in audio system. The soundbar delivers a large, spacious sound stage, far more loudness, and a stage of readability and definition that provides worth to your viewing expertise.
I might advocate having a subwoofer although; the built-in subwoofers on the HT-A5000 are nowhere close to pretty much as good because the SA-SW3 or SA-SW5. That mentioned, the SW5 does appear a bit too highly effective for this soundbar, and I needed to flip its quantity down a good bit to make sure the degrees matched on the setup as a complete.
Alternatively, the SA-RS5 rear audio system match fairly properly with the HT-A5000. I discovered them best with the amount maxed out. These rear audio system delivered solely a small portion of the general sound and have been by no means too loud, as an alternative counting on their positioning to boost the listening expertise.
On the HT-A5000, I did want to sometimes modify the amount for consolation, however fortuitously I did not expertise any sudden or pressured quantity spikes. Average quantity ranges have been best in most conditions and with most kinds of content material, however this pair can get fairly loud if wanted with out a lot distortion or awkwardness within the sound.
The soundbar system labored significantly properly for motion sequences and soundtracks, however was pretty succesful even with mushy or dialogue-based content material equivalent to stand-up comedy specials. It was even fairly good for listening to music, with first rate sound high quality each from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-based sources.
The Sony HT-A5000 is undoubtedly fairly costly and could be ideally matched with a premium tv. Nevertheless, regardless of its lesser configuration as in comparison with the Sony HT-A7000 soundbar, I discovered the HT-A5000 higher suited to the everyday lounge. It is so much simpler to make use of, the specs slot in with most viewing wants, and the soundbar works properly with Sony’s vary of matching parts. Good format help and flexibility additional add to its total enchantment, making this an all-round performer.
All of this mentioned, the Sony HT-A5000 by itself feels a bit underwhelming, and is greatest used as a part of a package deal that features a devoted subwoofer and ideally rear audio system as properly. It is definitely worth the buy when you’re on the lookout for a premium residence leisure speaker system that’s simple to arrange and use.
Catch the most recent from the Shopper Electronics Present on Devices 360, at our CES 2023 hub.