Sony has launched the HT-A3000, its newest Dolby Atmos/DTS-X soundbar in the A-Series, which currently includes the $1,000 HT-A5000, $1,400 HT-A7000, and $1,800 HT-A9. At just $700, that makes the 3.1-channel HT-A3000 the most affordable option in the range. It’s available for pre-sale starting August 30.
The HT-A3000 shares many features with its pricier siblings, including AirPlay, Chromecast, and compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa smart speakers, plus the ability to connect to Sony’s Bravia XR series smart TVs, which can be used as an extended center channel for more immersive sound and more realistic dialogue.
It also has a nice variety of upgrade options. You can pick from two wireless subwoofers ($300 SA-SW3, $600 SA-SW5) and two models of wireless surrounds ($350 SA-RS3S, $600 SA-RS5). If you use the HT-A3000 with either of these surround speakers, it gives you the ability to tune the speakers with Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology, which uses microphones in the soundbar to automatically coordinate the sound of the speakers with the layout of your room for a more convincing 3D effect.
Under the hood, the HT-A3000 employs three full-range drivers and two built-in subwoofers for a total of 250 watts of power. Unfortunately, the soundbar’s lower price has meant a few concessions versus the rest of the A-Series range. Chief among them is the A3000’s lack of any up-firing drivers.
This means that, if you’re using the soundbar on its own, the surround and height effects of a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack will be virtualized — which is rarely as convincing as when you have discrete speakers doing the work. And while it packs Sony’s DSEE Extreme tech for improving the sound of compressed digital audio files, it lacks the hi-res audio rating of the other A-Series models.
The good news is that if you opt for the SA-RS5 wireless surrounds, they have built-in up-firing drivers, which brings the combined system up to a 5.1.2-channel configuration. On the other hand, that also means you’ve now invested $1,300 and you still don’t have a dedicated subwoofer.
In terms of ports, the HT-A3000 has one HDMI ARC/eARC input/output (the output is used for its on-screen menus), an optical input, a USB port for playing audio from a storage device, and a 3.5mm output that’s dedicated to Sony’s center-channel expansion function. There’s also an available Bluetooth connection with support for Sony’s LDAC codec, and it can be used for streaming music from a phone to the soundbar, or to stream soundbar audio to a set of compatible wireless headphones. The soundbar also comes with its own dedicated remote.
We’ll have an in-depth review of the HT-A3000 shortly, so come back soon to find out if Sony’s most affordable A-Series soundbar makes sense for you.
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