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Sony HT-A5000 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Dec 09, 2021 at 09:24 am
Sony HT-A5000 Picture
Channels
5.1.2

The Sony HT-A5000 is a standalone 5.1.2 setup released in 2021. It's not as well-built as the 7.1.2 Sony HT-A7000, and its soundstage performance isn't as impressive. Still, it offers Sony's Virtual Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technologies to help create a more immersive listening experience, and there's also Sound Field Optimization technology to optimize audio reproduction based on the room you're listening in. You can access this feature on your TV, which some users may find more handy than controlling the bar with an app or a remote. Its neutral, slightly U-shaped sound profile is suitable for many different types of audio content. However, there's a disappointing lack of sound customization features for such a premium model.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is satisfactory for mixed usage. This soundbar comes with Sound Field Optimization, which automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. With this feature on, and its Vertical Surround Engine feature, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly U-shaped sound profile that adds boom in the bass and brightness in the treble. It's suitable for listening to many different types of audio content, and it also supports Dolby Atmos content. Unfortunately, there's a very limited selection of sound customization features available.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • No bass and treble adjustments.
  • No graphic EQ.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is good for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. There's a discrete center channel that helps to anchor voices to a pinpoint location in the sound image. If you have a compatible BRAVIA TV, you can also set up Acoustic Center Sync, which uses your TV speakers as a discrete center channel to more accurately place voices in the soundstage. However, you may notice a difference in the volume between the bar and the TV when using this feature, which can degrade the overall sound quality. If you want dialogue to seem more clear and crisp, you can also use its dialogue enhancement feature.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Good center channel performance.
Cons
N/A Music

The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is decent for music. This soundbar comes with Sound Field Optimization, which automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. With this feature on, and its Vertical Surround Engine feature, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly U-shaped sound profile. There's a little extra boom in the bass range and some extra brightness and sparkle on vocals and lead instruments in the treble range. However, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM. There aren't a lot of sound customization features, either.

Pros
  • Subwoofer level adjustment.
  • Room correction feature.
Cons
  • No bass and treble adjustments.
  • No graphic EQ.
N/A Movies

The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is decent for movies. This soundbar uses its front-firing drivers to simulate a phantom surround, though this doesn't sound quite as clear and real as a discrete localization from dedicated rear speakers. It also supports Dolby Atmos content, using its up-firing drivers to ricochet sound off the ceiling to simulate height. Dialogue is reproduced quite clearly, but you notice the lack of deep thump and rumble in the low-bass during action-packed scenes.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Disappointing surrounds performance.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Oct 18, 2022: Added market comparison with the Sony HT-A3000 to the 'Sound Enhancement Features' box.
  2. Updated Mar 28, 2022: Thanks to user feedback, we retested the bar's latency and found that the results improved. The 'Latency' score increased, and all relevant boxes have been updated throughout the review.
  3. Updated Dec 09, 2021: Review published.
  4. Updated Dec 06, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is available in 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

Our results are only valid for the standalone soundbar. You can also add a dedicated subwoofer and rear satellite speakers if you prefer.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Sony HT-A5000 is a premium 5.1.2 soundbar released in 2021. Like the 7.1.2 Sony HT-A7000, it has two integrated subwoofers, and you can upgrade it with a dedicated sub and satellites down the line. However, it has fewer sound enhancement features, and its soundstage performance isn't as impressive. Compared to other premium standalone bars like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, it isn't as well-built.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best all-in-one soundbars, and the best soundbars for movies.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is better than the Sony HT-A5000. The Sonos is a 5.0.2 setup with better soundstage, center, surround, and Atmos performances. Its default sound profile is also more balanced and neutral, which some listeners may prefer. Only the Sony has a Full HDMI In port for high-quality passthrough. It also supports more wireless playback options, including Bluetooth.

Sony HT-A7000

The Sony HT-A7000 is a bit better than the Sony HT-A5000. The HT-A7000 is a better built 7.1.2 setup with a better soundstage performance. It also comes with an additional HDMI input. However, the 5.1.2 HT-A5000 gets a little louder with less compression at max volume.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is better than the Sony HT-A5000. The Bose is a better-built setup with better soundstage, center, surround, and Atmos performances. However, only the Sony has DTS support and a Full HDMI In port for high-quality passthrough.

Samsung HW-Q800B

The Samsung HW-Q800B is better than the standalone Sony HT-A5000. They're both premium Dolby Atmos setups, but the Samsung comes with a subwoofer included. As a result, it reproduces more thump and rumble in the bass, so you get a cinematic feel during action-packed scenes in your favorite movies. 

Sony HT-A3000

The Sony HT-A5000 is better than the Sony HT-A3000. The A5000 is a 5.1.2 bar that's better for surround and Atmos content since it doesn't have to downmix these formats into stereo to play them like the 3.1 A3000. Also, the A5000 comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction, and HDMI In for video passthrough.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

The Sony HT-A5000 and the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) are both standalone soundbars, but they cater to different types of listeners. The Sonos is a small, compact bar with built-in voice assistant support, so it's best-suited to listeners without a lot of space in their setup. It's actually better-built than the Sony, and it has a better soundstage. However, the Sony gets louder. It also comes with an HDMI In port for video passthrough, which the Sonos lacks.

Sony HT-G700

The Sony HT-A5000 is a bit better than the Sony HT-G700. The HT-A5000 is a better-built 5.1.2 setup with a standalone design. It doesn't come with a sub like the 3.1 HT-G700. That said, the HT-A5000 has better soundstage and surround performances. It also comes with some more sound enhancement features, including room correction.

Sony HT-Z9F

The Sony HT-A5000 is a bit better than the Sony HT-Z9F overall. The HT-A5000 is a premium 5.1.2 standalone soundbar. It offers better surround and Atmos performances, and it comes with more sound enhancement features, like room correction. That said, the HT-Z9F is still a decent bar for mixed usage. It comes with a subwoofer, and it can get louder.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800A is better than the Sony HT-A5000. While some listeners may prefer the Sony's standalone design, it can't reproduce as much low-bass as the Samsung's dedicated subwoofer. The Samsung also has a better soundstage performance and a graphic EQ to help you customize its sound. The Sony still offers a better surround performance, though, and it also comes with room correction.

Samsung HW-Q900A

The Samsung HW-Q900A is better than the Sony HT-A5000. The Samsung is a 7.1.2 setup that comes with a dedicated subwoofer, unlike the Sony. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass, and it has better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. There are more sound enhancement features available, too, including a graphic EQ. That said, if you prefer a standalone bar, the Sony is still a decent choice overall.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 and the Sony HT-A5000 are two very different soundbar setups. The Vizio is more versatile, and it's a 5.1.2 setup with a dedicated sub and satellites. It reproduces a more extended low-bass and has better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. That said, the standalone Sony is ideal if you don't have a lot of space in your living room. It has more sound enhancement features than the Vizio, too, and you can upgrade it with a sub and satellites if you want.

Sony HT-ST5000

The Sony HT-ST5000 is better than the Sony HT-A5000. The HT-ST5000 is a 7.1.2 setup that's better built. It comes with a dedicated subwoofer and can reproduce a more extended low-bass. Also, it has a better soundstage. However, only the HT-A5000 has support for Apple AirPlay 2.

Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is better than the Sony HT-A5000. The Samsung is a full 11.1.4 setup with a dedicated subwoofer and discrete satellites. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass, and it has better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. There are also more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ. However, if you prefer a standalone bar, the Sony is still a decent choice overall.

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Sony HT-A5000 is a simple, sleek soundbar. It's mostly made of a solid texturized plastic, and there's a metal grille covering the front. Unlike the Sony HT-A7000, the top of the bar is plastic, not glass. There are also metal grilles covering the up-firing drivers on top of the bar instead of fabric. The bar and the optional rear speakers are designed under Sony's Omnidirectional Block concept with rounded edges and similar textures.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Sony HT-A5000 comes with two subwoofers integrated into the bar. You can find them to the left and the right of the center speaker. Also, you can purchase either the SA-SW3 or the SA-SW5 subwoofer from the manufacturer separately.

Design
Style - Satellites

You can purchase SA-RS3S rear speakers for the Sony HT-A5000 from the manufacturer separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The Sony HT-A5000 is a fairly wide soundbar, so it likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. That said, if you have a BRAVIA TV with a multi-position stand, the manufacturer says you can adjust the TV stand to fit the bar beneath the TV. Some users may not want to put it under the TV, though, since that could affect the performance of the up-firing drivers built into the bar.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Locked

The back of the bar has some openings for the power cable and the inputs. There are also holes under the bar that let you mount it to the wall. The proprietary mounts and screws are included, which is nice.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Locked
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Locked
N/A
Design
Build Quality

The Sony HT-A5000 has a great build quality. The soundbar is mostly made of texturized plastic, which feels solid and durable. There are also metal grilles covering the front and the up-firing drivers on the top, which help to protect the drivers inside. It doesn't feel quite as premium as the Sony HT-A7000 or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, though.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
Lock m (Lock ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Operating instructions
  • Mounting template
  • Remote
  • 2x AAA batteries
  • 4x screws
  • AC power cord
  • TV center speaker mode cable
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x Wall mounting brackets

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
5.1.2
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Sony HT-A5000 has a satisfactory stereo frequency response. This soundbar comes with a Sound Field Optimization room correction feature that uses microphones built into the bar to automatically optimize audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. With this feature on, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly U-shaped sound profile with some extra boom in the bass range. There's a touch of extra brightness in the treble that makes vocals and lead instruments sparkle. Ultimately, it's suitable for listening to most types of audio content, but fans of action-packed movies may be disappointed by the lack of deep rumble in the low-bass.

Note: In our sound tests, we aim to replicate the average user experience as closely as possible to make our results helpful for the majority of our readers. The Sony HT-A5000 is unique since it comes with a Sound Field feature that activates the Atmos and surround drivers. You have to have this feature turned on to use these drivers. We feel that most users will want to use the bar with Sound Field turned on, so that's how we performed all of our sound tests. We also tested it with the Sony | Vertical Surround Engine virtual surround. As a result, you'll notice that there are some additional channels active for our stereo and surround tests compared to our other reviews.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Sony HT-A5000 has a subwoofer level adjustment feature that lets you choose between 'MIN', 'MID' (default), and 'MAX'. If you prefer a more neutral sound, we recommend using its default settings.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The Sony HT-A5000 has a decent stereo soundstage with Sound Field turned on. The bar comes with S-Force Pro Front Surround technology that uses its front-firing speakers to reproduce the sound field. The soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself. However, sound seems a bit diffused. Its focus isn't very good, and sound objects seem to come from a more general region instead of an accurate location.

That said, there's a noticeable difference when you use the Sony HT-A5000 with Sound Field turned off. The soundstage is perceived to be much more narrow, and sound seems to extend only to where the speakers are on the bar itself. However, the focus is better, and sound seems less diffused. It's easier to follow sound objects to a more accurate, pinpoint location.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

The Sony HT-A5000 has a good stereo dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, so it's not suitable for listening in large rooms or at noisy parties. That said, there isn't a lot of compression present when you push it to max volume.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Sony HT-A5000 has a good stereo THD performance. The amount of distortion is within good limits at a normal listening volume, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. However, when you push the bar to max volume, there's a jump in THD. It may not be too noticeable with real-life content, though.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Sony HT-A5000 has a great center channel performance. It has a discrete center channel that helps to more accurately anchor voices to a pinpoint location in the soundstage. Its frequency response is quite neutral, especially in the mid-range, where most voices are reproduced, resulting in clear and accurate dialogue. There's a lack of low-bass, but dialogue is rarely reproduced in this range, so it shouldn't be very noticeable.

You can also connect this soundbar to your compatible BRAVIA TV using the S-Center Out port. The Acoustic Center Sync feature uses the TV's speakers as a discrete center channel. The manufacturer says that this feature helps create a more immersive listening experience by anchoring dialogue to a more precise location in the soundstage. When we tested this feature with the Sony HT-A7000, we found it helped anchor dialogue more vertically. However, it also decreased the sound quality, and there seemed to be a difference in volume between the TV and the soundbar. We expect that it will have a similar performance with the Sony HT-A5000. As a result, some listeners may not want to use this feature.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 has a disappointing surrounds performance. It uses its front-firing drivers to simulate surround objects in the soundstage. However, this setup doesn't sound as clear or as real as the discrete localization offered by dedicated rear speakers. If you want a better surrounds performance, you can purchase the SA-RS3S rear speakers separately.

Note: Since we tested the Sony HT-A5000 with Sound Field turned on, these results were taken with the left and right channels playing alongside the surround channels. If we turned Sound Field off, the bar wouldn't play anything from the surround speakers. We weren't able to measure the surround channels on their own.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Sony HT-A5000 has poor Atmos performance. The bar uses its up-firing drivers to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you, which creates the illusion of height. However, this doesn't sound as clear or as real as the discrete localization offered by down-firing speakers found with home theater setups.

In our subjective listening tests, we felt that the Sony HT-A5000 did an okay job with Atmos content. The height of the soundstage extended to about the middle of the TV. Some details were missing in scenes, especially compared to more premium standalone setups like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900.

N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 has an great selection of sound enhancement features, especially compared to less premium models in the lineup like the Sony HT-A3000. You can control many of the bar's settings with its TV menu. When you plug it into your TV, a menu automatically appears on your screen. You can use it to control the sound modes, Sound Field Optimization, and adjust the volume. You can also control the virtual surround by choosing between Sony | Vertical Surround Engine (which we used in testing), Dolby Speaker Virtualizer, and DTS Neural:X. Unfortunately, this bar doesn't offer a lot of sound customization features. You can adjust its subwoofer level, and you can use its EQ preset to turn Sound Field on and off. However, there aren't any bass and treble adjustments or a graphic EQ.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI ARC
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 has lots of physical inputs. There's an HDMI ARC input as well as a Full HDMI In port. You can also use the S-Center Out port to connect the TV to a BRAVIA TV for Acoustic Center Sync.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Locked
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X (eARC only)
Locked
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Locked
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Locked
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 has incredible audio format support via ARC. You can use it for standard surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
5.1 PCM
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 also has fantastic audio format support via Full HDMI In. There's even support for lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos. However, we noticed the same issue with DTS content when listening via Full HDMI In. Our receiver said that the bar was downmixing DTS:X and DTS-HD MA content to DTS 5.1. We also confirmed this after using a Blu-ray player with a DTS:X movie.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 supports both Dolby Digital and DTS via Optical. You can frequently find these formats on Blu-ray discs and content on streaming platforms.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Sony HT-A5000 Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
Lock ms

The Sony HT-A5000 has a fantastic latency performance. It has fairly low latency, so the video appears in sync with the audio you hear. You don't notice any issues with lip-synching, either. Keep in mind that latency can vary based on many different factors, including the TV and the app you use, meaning your real-world results can vary.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 supports all of the wireless playback options we test for. It's also advertised to support Spotify Connect. As a result, you can wirelessly stream audio from your phone to play it on the bar.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 supports high-quality passthrough. You can use it with Dolby Vision Passthrough and 4k @ 120Hz, too. When you connect it between your PC and your TV, text on the screen is clear and crisp.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Locked
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

There's a small interface on the front of the bar. It shows you the volume and the inputs you're on.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On the top right of the bar, some touch-sensitive buttons let you control the bar. You can power it on/off, change the input, activate Bluetooth, access music services like Spotify, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
Locked

The remote is pretty similar to other Sony remotes. It's large, and there are lots of buttons so you can control its features, change its inputs, and adjust its volume.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. However, the manufacturer says that you can connect it to a third-party voice assistant device to control it with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Additional Features
App
App Name Locked
iOS Locked
Android Locked
Acts As A Remote
Locked
Controls Soundbar's Settings
Locked
Casts Device Files
Locked

The Sony Music Center app acts as a remote and lets you control some of the soundbar's settings. You can use it to switch input sources, play music from your device, change sound settings, and more. However, like the Sony HT-A7000, this soundbar lets you control many of its settings using your TV. When you plug it into your TV, you get access to a menu with features like Sound Field Optimization, Virtual Surround, and additional audio and video settings.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Locked
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Locked

The Sony HT-A5000 has a standby mode that shuts it off after 20 minutes of inactivity. It's turned off by default, so you need to turn it on if you don't want to have to manually power the bar down. Also, you can control its basic features with your TV remote thanks to its HDMI CEC support.

Discussions