Sony has released a new flagship soundbar and a multi-speaker home theater system that allow you to make use of the very latest technologies in audio. This will maximize your listening experience, whether its watching movies in 8K HDR, music in high-definition audio or gaming on a next-generation console, like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Both the HT-A7000 soundbar and HT-A9 home theater system provide HDMI 2.1 passthrough. This means that the systems can sit in between your streaming device or next-gen console and the TV, so that it receives the full encoded audio signal straight from the device and can pass the uncompressed video signal to the TV.
The HT-A7000 is only the second soundbar to offer HDMI 2.1 passthrough after the Klipsch Cinema 1200, which launched less than two weeks ago. Thanks to the in-built support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Vision, 4K 120 and 8K HDR, the devices can deliver the full sound experience as intended rather than what is fed via the TV. The result is a much-improved audio-visual experience for the very latest formats.
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Sony HT-A7000 soundbar
The HT-A7000 is Sony’s flagship soundbar and the closest rival I’ve seen to the Sonos Arc to date. This is a 7.1.2 channel device with two up-firing speakers, two beam tweeters, five front speakers and a dual subwoofer inside the soundbar. There’s no separate subwoofer required here, though (like the Sonos) you can add the SA-SW5 300W sub or smaller SA-SW3 200W sub if you want extra bass, and SA-RS3S 100W wireless rear speakers too.
It uses Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround to create the virtual surround sound effect from Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio. It also features 360 Reality Audio to deliver high-definition audio from the likes of Amazon Music HD and TIDAL.
The impressive thing here is that the HT-A7000 has not one but two HDMI 2.1 inputs, so you can have two high-res devices plugged in at once – maybe a PS5 and an Apple TV or Xbox Series X. Both of these inputs and the HDMI 2.1 output are all ARC/eARC compatible, too.
All this technology comes at a price though, with the HT-A7000 priced £1,200/$1,300/approx. AU$1,780 with the SA-SW5 sub costing another £800/$700/approx. AU$960, or £450/$400/approx. AU$550 for the SA-SW3 sub and £450/$350/approx. AU$480 for the SA-RS3S wireless rear speakers. All available from September.
Sony HT-A9 home theater system
The HT-A9 is made up of four wireless speakers and a central control box that features HDMI 2.1 input and output as well as ethernet and USB connections. The four speakers use Sony’s Spatial Sound to create up to 12 phantom speakers and deliver 360-degree audio. You can also add either the new 300W or 200W subwoofers to the system if required.
Like the HT-A7000, the HT-A9 supports a full range of audio formats as well as 8K HDR, Dolby Vision and 4K 120 for next-gen consoles. It also features the 360 Reality Audio for HD music. There’s only one HDMI input here, so you’ll have to pick your device, but there’s still ARC/eARC support for any other devices attached directly to the TV.
The HT-A9 will cost £1,600/$1,800/approx. AU$2,460 and is also available in September.