Sony HT-A7000 soundbar review

hcchighreccomendIf you're looking for high-performance home cinema and music sound from a single box, John Archer thinks the HT-A7000 could be just the job

Some soundbars prioritise convenience and price, while others prioritise sound quality, features and versatility. Sony's new HT-A7000 is very much one of the latter.

You know it means business as soon as you clock its size: 1.3m wide and 14cm deep. This immediately raises hopes of a big, authentic audio performance, although bear in mind that it could present a positioning challenge if used with a desktop-mounted TV. Inside the A7000's lengthy and elegantly styled chassis are drivers delivering a 7.1.2 channel count. There are five of Sony's rectangular X-Balanced units (size unspecified) along the front, which are joined by a pair of side-firing beam tweeters. There are then two upfirers in the top edge, plus an integrated subwoofer. Total rated power for this spread is 500W, via digital amplification.

Some rival 'bars in this price bracket come with an outboard subwoofer and wireless rears, which you don't get here. You can add them as optional extras, though: £450 for Sony's SA-RS3S rear speaker pack, and either £450 or £700 for the 'entry level' SA-SW3 or premium SA-SW5 subwoofers respectively. And I know what you're thinking: that's a serious chunk of cash on top of the basic HT-A7000's already significant £1,200 cost.


Wireless rears can be added for a more enveloping 9.1.2 performance

Other than its lack of native rears and standalone sub, this soundbar has an uncompromising feature list. Naturally there's support for DTS:X and Dolby Atmos immersive formats, and you can also play 360 Reality Audio tracks from Amazon Music HD, Deezer and Tidal, as well as high-resolution audio files, including DSD via USB connection. Streaming is through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast or Apple AirPlay 2.

A 'Sound Field Optimization' system uses built-in microphones to optimise the HT-A7000's frequency response to your room acoustics, while an 'Immersive Audio Enhancement' processing option is provided for adding an overhead sound effect to conventional surround and stereo sources.

The soundbar's physical connections, in addition to that USB, are a 2-in, 1-out HDMI loopthrough supporting 4K/120Hz video passthrough, eARC, and HDR10 and Dolby Vision (but not HDR10+). An update enabling automatic tone mapping optimisation and auto-genre mode switching with the PlayStation 5 console is due in spring 2022. Optical digital is a fallback input for legacy TVs.


Sony's premium sub option, the SA-SW5, marries a 7in driver to a passive radiator

A final hookup allows you to try out the Acoustic Centre Sync feature, where the soundbar join forces with a Sony TV's speakers to deliver more accurate detail placement. I enjoyed this with Sony's XR-65X90J TV (reviewed p48).

Elite Squad
Up and running, the HT-A7000 quickly establishes itself as a member of the soundbar elite, and its sonic prowess applies to both music and movies.

With movies, you get a gloriously detailed, vivid, and energetic soundstage. There's no detail, no matter how subtle, that the A7000 isn't sensitive enough to deliver. What's more, with Atmos and DTS:X mixes it places these within a finely honed 3D soundspace. Dialogue is lifted to better integrate with the onscreen visuals, and Sony's upfirers create some genuine overhead effects, rather than just building a 'wall of sound' before you.