The Dolby Atmos-compatible single soundbar audio solutions that Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins, and Devialet have brought to market this year are being tested by the Sony HT-A3000. The Sony HT-A3000 attempts to undercut the competition with a $699 price tag, which is around $250 more than the Sonos Beam and roughly the same as full 5.1 systems from the likes of Vizio, Samsung, and LG. The latter bars give powerful and crisp audio for a high price. We’re here with our Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review.
Unfortunately, its place in the pantheon of soundbars from 2022 works against it because you don’t get quite the complete gamut of sound using a soundbar alone. Of course, for $349 and $599, respectively, you can add a separate subwoofer and a pair of rear speakers, but doing so will bring you much closer to the more expensive soundbars, like the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3, that Sony is attempting to undercut. The HT-A3000 is a good option for Sony Bravia TV owners who can benefit from the soundbar’s most cutting-edge features, but if you’re on the fence about spending this much on a soundbar, you might want to look into some other options before making the commitment.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Design
The A3000 is the simplest Atmos system from Sony and is also the simplest to use. Once the bar is powered on, setting it up only requires connecting the provided HDMI cable from the bar’s HDMI eARC port to the equivalent one on your TVs and pressing the Home key on the remote control to access the TV’s network and audio settings. Once the bar is online, you may also make some basic settings using the Sony Music Center app. However, unlike most of its rivals, which have done so (with different degrees of success), Sony has remained traditional. Sony A/V receiver users will feel at ease.
You can transfer lossless audio formats like Dolby TrueHD directly from your TV to Blu-ray players and gaming consoles if your smart TV supports HDMI eARC, which is typical for higher-end models from recent years. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to use lossy audio formats due to the A3000’s single HDMI connection. You van buy this Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar from its official website
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Performance
The audio of the A3000 is excellent considering its size. The range of the dialogue is excellent, and it is plainly audible. Anyone who works with a TV’s built-in speakers will consider this a significant improvement. It has 3.1 channels, which I believe to be the absolute minimum for anyone trying to improve their audio system. Although there is decent Dolby Atmos and other format support, it lacks the virtual surround sound capabilities of larger soundbars with more channels (such as the HT-A5000 I currently have).
The soundbar performed surprisingly well in Sony’s demonstration of the 360 experience despite lacking height. Although the bass is passable, systems with a dedicated subwoofer have more impact. Although it is possible to later add a sub and back speakers, I would start to wonder how much more expensive the overall system would be compared to more conventional arrangements. It would make more sense to think about alternatives to soundbars if you want the whole arrangement.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Controls
The soundbar’s accompanying remote includes separate buttons for the sub volume and rear volume, which is quite useful. Beyond that, not much else has to be done. You are supposed to rely on Sony’s optimizations. While some people might desire greater control, I think it works well and would argue that they would benefit more from a different kind of home entertainment setup.
The subwoofer improves the experience and provides the bass end that other soundbars can’t really match. However, the A3000 is smaller and has a weaker punch than other full-size choices, even with two built-in subs. It is an easy advice if you can use a subwoofer there without disturbing the neighbours, but if that’s not possible, its absence from the box might be considered as a positive.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Connectivity
Another mixed bag is connectivity. While AirPlay and Chromecast make it quite simple to connect your phone to the soundbar, there is no HDMI throughput, thus you will have to give up your TV’s eARC connector in order to use the soundbar. Despite the fact that the soundbar doesn’t have many installed apps, it does support Spotify Connect, which is a useful feature if you want to use it to stream music while watching movies.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Sound quality
Dolby Atmos was another surprise for me. The A3000 sounds better than any other soundbar I’ve tried so far, though I won’t claim that one without dedicated up-firing speakers and a five-channel setup can convey Dolby Atmos’ 3D immersion as effectively as one that does. A soundbar must virtualize channels when it lacks discrete drivers for each one.
This creative use of digital signal processing creates the illusion that the missing channels are present. Let’s just say that’s a tricky trick to pull off convincingly, and many soundbars that try just can’t make it work. How well that works relies on a number of intricate aspects. The A3000, though, is outstanding. You can convince yourself that flying ornithopters are coming at you from speakers that are placed much above the soundbar if you close your eyes and listen to the soundtrack from Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Price and availability
Many of its rivals at prices similar to this offer more add-ons, with many containing at least a subwoofer and others featuring surround speakers. The A3000 charges extra for that expandability. To build a complete 5.1-channel configuration, you can connect to your choice of two Sony wireless subwoofers (the $400 SA-SW3 or the $600 SA-SW5) and wireless surround sound speakers (the $350 SA-RS3S or the $550 SA-RS5 per pair).
However, a lot of its immediate competitors fall short when it comes to online connectivity and compatibility for programmed like AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Chromecast, which are all included in this. If you use a streaming music provider that offers 360 Reality Audio, it also has that function.
Sony HT-A3000 Soundbar review: Final words
The Sony HT-A3000 is suitable for a variety of uses. It is a straightforward 3.1 bar with a dedicated centre channel to enhance the clarity of your audio’s speech. Voices and instruments are quite audible in the mix when listening to stereo content, which includes the majority of music and TV programmers.
However, like with most solitary bars, the low-bass lacks intensity, which lessens the amount of rumble you hear. Despite being able to playback more sophisticated audio formats, it must downmix surround and height information into stereo, preventing you from experiencing a more immersive sound.