Big, bold sound mated with a plethora of connectivity options, but it is handiest half a surround device
Magnificent sound exceptional
Loads of connections
Convincing Atmos effect
Not complete surround
Atmos soundbars had been around for the reason that Yamaha released the YAS-706 lower back in 2015 and because then, the market for products featuring Dolby’s object-based surround-sound tech has really taken off. Initially the only hold of the insanely wealthy home theatre buff, there’s now a healthful desire of equipment to be had at greater workable costs. The Sony HT-ST5000 sits in the centre of the price scale, aiming to attraction to audiophiles in addition to domestic cinema nuts.
Sony HT-ST5000 evaluate: What you need to recognize
As with most soundbars of its ilk, the Sony HT-ST5000 is a piece of a beast. It’s so extensive, in truth, that if your TV is smaller than 49in, it’ll stick out awkwardly at the sides. It’s simply low-profile sufficient – at 80mm on top – now not to impinge for your view of your TV if it’s sitting in an AV unit, even though.
The HT-ST5000 might supply Atmos sound, but you don’t get rear speakers in the container as you do with some rivals. All you get is the soundbar, an infrared far-flung control and an as a substitute beefy wi-fi subwoofer.
Sony HT-ST5000 assessment: Price and opposition
The Sony HT-ST5000 isn’t always reasonably-priced. In reality, at £1,499, it’s £2 hundred extra costly than our present-day favourite Atmos speaker – the Samsung HW-K950, a speaker setup that incorporates a couple of rear speakers and wireless subwoofer for the overall surround-sound impact.
Next, you have the Samsung HW-K850, an Atmos soundbar that omits the rear speakers for a cut in charge and the LG SJ9, that’s a similar setup. In this light, the Sony HT-ST5000 seems instead light on functions.
Sony HT-ST5000 review: Connectivity, functions and usefulness
One thing you can’t accuse this soundbar of, even though, is a lack of connections. Flip it over and also you’ll find extra inputs and outputs than on maximum soundbars. There are 3 HDMI inputs and one ARC-enabled HDMI output, all of which help full 4K passthrough.
There’s additionally a USB port at the proper-hand side of the bar for playback of documents from flash storage or portable tough disks, and there are optical and coaxial S/PDIF digital inputs, too, as well as an analogue 3.5mm input.
As for wireless, there’s an equally remarkable array of connectivity alternatives. There’s Bluetooth right here, clearly, but unusually there’s also help for Sony’s exquisite LDAC codec, which provides audio at bitrates of up to 990Kbits/sec. That’s some distance in extra of the bit fee that lavatory-widespread Bluetooth or maybe AptX HD is capable of, and the coolest news is that every person with an Android O or Sony Xperia cellphone must be capable of use it.
You can move documents thru Spotify Connect, too, there’s support for both Google Cast (despite the fact that audio handiest) and Google Home and, in case you’re that way willing, song can be streamed to the soundbar from community garage thru DLNA or from domestically stored documents with the accompanying Sony Music Center app.
It’s also viable to pair your cellphone top-notch quickly with the soundbar via NFC. The bar even has a Bluetooth transmit facility, so you can use it to relay audio for your wireless headphones if you’re listening late at night time.
The only great factor lacking from the HT-ST5000’s wi-fi function set is Apple AirPlay help but, given the big range of different connections available, Apple devotees need to be able to discover a way to connect their devices.
As for audio-record and surround-sound widespread support, that’s similarly stunning. Atmos takes centre degree, of the route, and despite to start with launching without it, Sony has now also delivered DTS:X support, so it’ll play whatever top-rate movie soundtrack you care to throw at it.
And despite the seeming complexity, the Sony HT-ST5000 is pretty easy to use. The provided far-flung isn’t the perfect in the eye. The length of a rather chunky cereal bar, it’s affected by buttons big and small, and there’s a kaleidoscope of differently coloured buttons scattered across it.
However, the whole lot is without a doubt labelled and the white-on-black OLED display on the front of the bar is both easy to study and sensibly laid out. For more complex settings, meanwhile, the HT-ST5000 displays a sequence of menus in your TV display.
Sony HT-ST5000 assessment: Sound great
Price off the material grille on the front and the full volume of the HT-ST5000’s driver array is laid bare. Three 63mm full-variety coaxial drivers are arrayed throughout the front of the soundbar with any other 4 in addition ordinary 63mm drivers flanking the centre driving force to boost the centre channel and there’s a couple of upwards-dealing with drivers at both stop to bop sound waves off your ceiling.
The wireless subwoofer is big, providing a downwards-dealing with driving force and dimensions of 403mm in top and 248mm in width. Total amplification across each soundbar and sub runs to an impressive-searching 800W.
It took some time to parent out how to get Atmos operating efficiently with my Xbox One X – weirdly, you have to disable HDMI audio and set the choice to “Speaker” rather than “HDMI + Speaker” – and there’s also no indication on the display as to whether or not the speaker is processing Atmos or now not, that’s traumatic.
But, after you’ve executed that and altered the settings to “in shape” the soundbar to your room, it reproduces Atmos soundtracks with positional precision and an experience of the area that’s without a doubt remarkable to behold. The reputable Dolby Atmos check disc, designed especially to show off what such systems ought to provide, actually demonstrates that that is a highly successful machine: within the helicopter demo, for instance, you may simply listen the chopper move from left to right across your room, and the sound does seem to come from above the TV.
Moving to my series of Atmos-enabled Blu-ray discs and the HT-ST5000 performs just as impressively. Soundtracks are reproduced with a huge sense of scale, impact and strength and there are wonderful depth and area, desirable tool separation and sound-staging, plus a candy treble that makes listening to track natural satisfaction. The bass from that big subwoofer is especially marvellous, turning in low notes and explosions with greater manage and weight than the Samsung HW-K950.
Perhaps what’s most mind-blowing about this soundbar, even though, is the extent of control you’ve got over the sound. When you first install the Sony, you specify wherein the soundbar and subwoofer are located inside the room relative to your seating function, and set your room’s ceiling top so Atmos works optimally. And it’s also feasible to tweak the stages of the sub and the upward- and forward-firing drivers until you get things simply right.
What you don’t get with the Sony HT-ST5000 is audio that extends behind you and to the sides because it does with Samsung HW-K950. When you’re spending £1,500 on a domestic-theatre soundbar, that’s disappointing.
Sony HT-ST5000 overview: Verdict
And that’s the only large criticism I actually have of the Sony HT-ST5000. While it sounds astounding and is rammed with connectivity options, the truth that it doesn’t encompass rear audio system inside the box is a chunk of a kick in the tooth, in particular, whilst it costs £1,500.
So, whilst it sounds top notch and grants Atmos convincingly (within its obstacles), in case you’re going to spend this an awful lot on a soundbar I’d recommend you to remember the Samsung HW-K950 rather. It gives you a much greater immersive film-watching experience, even if its subwoofer isn’t pretty as meaty.
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