Last updated: February 28, 2023, 2:07 PM IST
Sony is a veteran of the audio segment in various price ranges. You’ve got a wide range of mid-range wireless speakers that are starting to catch your eye, and as you move further down the range the sound experience improves. We’ve mainly tested soundbars in the affordable segment, but when Sony decided to let us experience its HT-A series systems for a long time, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. The soundbar ships for Rs 69,990, but if you pick up the subwoofer, Sony will give you a special price of Rs 83,980 on the bundle.
The Sony HT-A3000 is a 3.1-channel soundbar and the basic variant in the line-up is together with the A5000 and A7000 soundbar. The company also provided us with the wireless subwoofer and dual satellite speakers that come separately and in this review we talk about the performance, the quality and the experience of immersing your space in this high-end setup.
Sony HT-A3000 Review: What’s Cool?
Sony has kept it simple with the design of the soundbar, which is no bad thing for us. The soundbar gets a matte black finish with a metal honeycomb grille covering the front where you have the speaker unit.
The built-in woofers are placed on the side and you have the soft-touch power controls at the top right of the device. You even have an LED display to tell you what modes are active on the soundbar, what song is playing and the volume level. By pairing the soundbar with the subwoofer you get a double sound mix with that extra bass that you might not feel with the standard woofers. You can go through the process by connecting to the local Wi-Fi network and pairing the additional units.
When the boxes are delivered you may find all the units overwhelming, but once you start pairing them up and connecting them to the TV, you won’t feel like a tiresome exercise. Having a soundbar with versatility has become an essential ingredient to success and the HT-A3000 ticks all the right boxes. You have Bluetooth, HDMI, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay and built-in Chromecast. Even in wireless mode, you have support for high-res audio codec files such as AAC, SBC, and LDAC that have become popular among users.
You can even switch to voice commands via Google Assistant and Alexa for a hands-free experience. There’s a bundled remote with all the options, but you can also download the Sony Music Center smartphone app (both iOS and Android) to control the settings to some degree. We’ve already talked about the 3.1 channel supported by the soundbar, but if you pair the subwoofer you get a 5.1 channel unit and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
Soundbar reviews are worthless without talking performance, and it’s fair to say that Sony’s balanced soundstage delivers on all fronts. It is equipped with Dolby Atmos surround sound that emphatically fills the room.
Whether you’re listening to classical music or heavy rock, you’ll find the vocals are crystal clear and the bass response rounds out the overall sound output from the woofers. The 5-channel audio setup enlivens the room and I must admit watching movies without the HT-A3000 felt incomplete. You can hear the dialogue and the action sequences have enough grit to enhance the overall experience.
Sony HT-A3000 Review: What’s Not So Cool?
While we were delighted with the myriad of connectivity choices, the soundbar strangely lacks HDMI pass-through. It may not be a problem for many, but still worth pointing out when spending over Rs 80,000. For audio equipment, we didn’t like the limited choices for equalizer settings. When a person spends a lot for a sound bar, they definitely expect the product to tick all the list of features and since everyone has their taste and preference, the equalizer comes in handy.
We can’t end the review without talking about the price. The HT-A3000 is a costly proposition and while it manages to keep the levels under control, people would go through the features multiple times before pulling out the checkbook (not literally).
Sony HT-A3000 Review: Should You Buy?
The Sony HT-A3000 soundbar is a heavy unit on its own in many ways, and when you combine it with a subwoofer the 3-channel audio turns into a 5-channel product which is enough to satisfy most consumers. You spend over Rs 80,000 for the premium Sony audio quality, versatile connectivity options and plenty of smarts. It also helps that Sony leaves room for you to add extra speakers for a 360-degree sound experience. Buy it if you are upgrading the sound system in your home and like the sound signature that Sony offers.
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