Sony has unveiled its latest Dolby Atmos soundbar, the 3.1 channel HT-A3000. It’s a more affordable alternative to the higher-end 5.1.2-channel A5000 and flagship 7.1.2-channel A7000, albeit with much of the same technology packed into those models. While this model doesn’t have any promising speakers, it virtualizes the height channels using Virtual Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technology. The device has a dedicated center speaker for dialogue and a dual subwoofer for bass tones. It also has 250W output.
The A3000 does not come with rear speakers. It does, however, support the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology found in the previous two models. You’ll need to connect the soundbar to Sony’s wireless rear speakers, such as the SA-RS5 or SA-RS35, to use that option.
The sound field optimization function uses the built-in microphones to detect the relative height and position of the rear speakers and the sound bar. Sony says that 360 Spatial Sound Mapping will be able to configure multiple “phantom speakers”. It does this by synthesizing sound waves based on position information from the sound bar and rear speakers.
Plus, there’s an Acoustic Center Sync feature that you can use with some compatible Bravia TVs. With this on, both the soundbar and the TV’s speakers act as the center channel. The idea is to increase the sense of immersion: Sony says you’ll hear dialogue from wherever a character is placed in the scene. On top of that, there’s support for 360 Reality Audio and DTS:X.
You can use Chromecast (which is built in), Spotify Connect, and AirPlay 2 to play music from various streaming services. Additionally, users can wirelessly stream audio from other devices via WiFi or Bluetooth 5.0. The A3000 is compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. It is possible to connect the sound bar to a group of speakers through Google Home to play audio throughout the house. As for connecting the soundbar to your home theater setup, there are HDMI eARC, USB, and optical input ports, as well as HDMI eARC and S-Center outputs.
The A3000 doesn’t pack as much power or as many channels as the A5000 or A7000, but it won’t leave you as light on the pocket. It costs $700, compared to $1,000 for the A5000 and $1,400 for the A7000. You can reserve the latest model now at Amazon and other retailers.
Meanwhile, the SA-RS5 wireless rear speakers offer 180W of wider surround sound, says Sony. They have built-in batteries and upfiring speakers. Those are available now for $600. The company is also selling the SA-RS3S wireless rear speakers, which have 100W output and cost $350.