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The Sony HT-A5000 is a more affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar to rival Sonos Arc

Sony’s new HT-A5000 soundbar promises vertical sound
(Image credit: Sony)

There’s no denying the immersion that proper in-ceiling speakers can provide, but that doesn’t change the fact that they can be a hassle to install, let alone expensive.

Enter the new Sony HT-A5000 — a 5.1.2 channel soundbar that aims to bring the thrill of the cinema into your abode by simulating “vertical” audio. This spatial trickery is achieved using a combination of support for audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, along with specially designed front and up-firing speakers, with a sprinkle of Sony’s special signal processing thrown in for good measure.

Sony reckons this magical cocktail will replicate the realistic, multi-dimensional sound offered by dedicated in-ceiling speakers, further bolstered by the company’s S-Force PRO Front Surround. The latter makes use of the front X-Balanced Speaker Unit and dedicated sound field processing tech to virtually recreate a large and immersive horizontal sound field, with the aim of enveloping viewers in balanced, spacious sound, from all angles.

Sony HT-A5000 soundbar

(Image credit: Sony)

Setup shouldn’t be too difficult if Sony’s Sound Field Optimisation works as promised. Using built-in microphones to measure the height and width of a room (as well as determine the position of the optional sub and rear speakers), the system automatically adjusts itself to its surroundings, hopefully making the calibration process a breeze.

Component wise, the soundbar has a built-in dual sub, two up-firing speakers, and X-Balanced front-facing speakers. Throw in DSEE Extreme (a feature that uses Edge-AI to upscale compressed digital files in real time), support for 360 Reality Audio from services such as Amazon Music HD, Deezer, and Tidal, and you have what appears to be a one stop shop for people who want the experience of a whole-room setup, minus the faff and costs.

The Sony HT-A5000 will be available early next year for $900 / AU$1299 (about £800). Of course, that price puts it right up against the Sonos Arc, which also supports Dolby Atmos. We'll be ringside for the punch-up when these two bars meet.

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