Sony's new 'soundbar' is tiny but features detachable surround speakers

Sony HT AX7
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sony has unveiled its new HT-AX7, and it’s certainly not like anything we’ve really ever seen before. Billed as a portable theatre system and hovering somewhere between a soundbar and a wireless speaker, the HT-AX7 can be transformed from a single, cohesive unit to a tripartite system thanks to its two detachable satellites. 

Why? Well, Sony promises spatial and room-filling sound anywhere throughout your home using the device’s unique configuration. By simply placing the three speakers around you in a sort of triangular arrangement, the HT-AX7 is designed to offer an immersive audio experience anywhere you like, provided you’ve got somewhere to place the coaster-shaped peripherals. 

Once set up, Sony's 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology creates multiple phantom speakers at the front, rear, and overhead which, says Sony, envelope you in a form of spatial audio. This offers the benefit of a cinematic surround sound experience by simply placing three speakers around you without having to embed or install permanent units into your home’s walls or ceiling. 

The HT-AX7 also comes equipped with Sony's clever upmixer algorithm, which promises to “transform stereo into three-dimensional surround sound”, analysing audio in real-time and then separating and redistributing sound objects for a more immersive listening experience. Having already heard the system in an HT-AX7 hands-on session, our first impressions suggest that the spatial experience is very impressive, from playing music via an iPad to experiencing movies on the big screen.

Sony HT AX7

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Being a versatile unit, the HT-AX7 can be further utilised as a convenient domestic speaker as well as a nifty piece of kit to enhance your cinematic adventures. Pop the speakers around your room and Sony promises you’ll have room-filling sound, bolstered by 30 hours of battery life and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. 

Control, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the new Sony Home Entertainment Connect App, which guides you through setup and allows you to adjust things such as volume and sound field from your phone. As a result, the HT-AX7 doesn’t come with its own designated physical remote.

Perhaps best of all, the new portable theatre system is being built with the environment in mind. The HT-AX7 utilises a fabric material made from 100% recycled PET bottles and incorporates recycled plastics, while the packaging uses blended material derived from bamboo, sugarcane, and recycled paper.

The HT-AX7 will be available from August 2023 priced at around €550 / £550 / $500, with Australian prices pending. 


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.