3.1ch Dolby Atmos Sony HT-A3000 soundbar review
The Sony HT-A3000 soundbar exudes elegance and refinement with its sleek matte black finish and metal grille, showcasing a sophisticated appearance. Its top surface is equipped with convenient touch controls for power, volume, input selection, Bluetooth, and a shortcut key, allowing easy access to popular music services like Spotify. Additionally, an OLED text display provides essential information such as the current input, volume level, and audio formats.
Measuring 37 inches in length and just over 2.5 inches tall, this soundbar perfectly complements most TVs and offers the flexibility to be placed on a stand or wall-mounted according to your preferences. The satellite speakers also offer versatility, as they can be wall-mounted if desired.
The Sony HT-A3000 is a remarkable addition to your AV setup, boasting a compact and sturdy construction. With its dimensions of 950(w) x 64(h) x 128(d)mm, it comfortably fits beneath the majority of TV screens. Its design showcases an appealing combination of three distinct finishes: a lightly textured vinyl effect on the top edge, a slightly textured rear with a “snake skin” pattern that curves around into the top edge, and a metallic grille covering the speaker-front that also curves into the top edge. While it may seem cluttered on paper, in reality, it exudes charm and character.
Each end of the A3000 features small built-in ports, and the top edge accommodates a series of touch-sensitive control buttons. For added convenience, the soundbar can be controlled using the provided remote control. The remote, although full-sized and button-loaded with a logical layout, would have benefited from backlighting. Alternatively, you can control the soundbar through Sony’s Music Centre app on your phone. Furthermore, the A3000 supports an onscreen menu system, accessed by pressing the Home button on the main remote, aligning with the other A series models.
Setting up the A3000 is a breeze if you’ve just acquired it. Simply place it under your TV (wall mounting is supported), plug it in, and utilize the onscreen menus and Sony Music Centre app to connect it to your Wi-Fi system.
While it can be slightly inconvenient to switch between the onscreen menus and the Sony Music Centre app to access all the setup features, the only potential complication lies in the absence of an HDMI loop-through. This means you’ll need to ensure that your TV’s eARC system is functioning properly, which can be a more straightforward process on some TVs than others.
During our installation, adding the optional extra speakers to the A3000 required heading into the setup section of the onscreen menus and switching the “add extra wireless speakers” option from Manual to Auto. Although it involved a minor inconvenience, we soon forgot about it as the soundbar automatically initiated a quick yet highly effective auto calibration system once the additional speaker connection was established.
The remote control is relatively easy to navigate and covers all the essential day-to-day functions. Additionally, the soundbar features a small but easily readable LED display on its front edge, providing information on your selected input, volume level, sound mode, and incoming sound format.
The “Alexa Ready” voice control support has its limitations, but if you enjoy interacting with your AV equipment and have an Alexa listening device, you might find it useful to utilize this feature occasionally.
The Sony HT-A3000 soundbar features a 3.1 channel configuration, consisting of three front speakers, including a dedicated center speaker for enhanced dialogue clarity, along with a built-in dual subwoofer for powerful and deep bass reproduction. Utilizing advanced technologies such as Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force PRO Front Surround, it delivers an immersive virtual surround sound experience that envelops you from all directions, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the captivating audio of Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X®.
When it comes to reproducing deep bass sounds, the movement of the speaker diaphragm becomes more pronounced. This can result in a phenomenon known as phase modulation distortion, particularly when the diaphragm is required to simultaneously reproduce higher frequencies. To address this issue, Sony has developed unique signal processing technology that compensates for the distortion, resulting in clearer dialogue and more localized sound. By enhancing the modulated waveform, the HT-A3000 achieves improved clarity and prevents vocal distortion, enhancing the overall audio experience.
While the Sony HT-A3000 soundbar on its own might have felt slightly overpriced at its original price of £699, at £499 it becomes an exceptional deal. Its power, attention to detail, expansive soundstage, and seamless transition between impressive film and music playback make it one of the best soundbars we’ve encountered in the sub-£500 price range.
However, things become a bit more complex when considering the optional extra RS3S and SW3 rear and subwoofer speakers. In terms of performance, they are both outstanding, offering a premium audio experience that can easily complement Sony’s higher-end A5000 soundbar while also adapting well to the less powerful A3000.
The drawback with the RS3S and SW3 lies in their cost. Priced at £449 each, when you add both of them to the A3000, the total cost reaches just under £1,400. This firmly places the system in the premium soundbar category, comparable to options like Samsung’s powerful 11.1.4-channel HW-Q990C, which costs a similar amount.
While I acknowledge the level of craftsmanship Sony has put into the RS3S and SW3, and recognize that they offer an upgrade over typical optional extra soundbar speakers, their high price ultimately makes them less sensible choices for most consumers when paired with the A3000. If you can afford the A3000 with the RS3S and SW3, it seems more reasonable to consider stepping up to a more powerful A5000/RS3S/SW3 system instead.
However, it’s important not to overlook the fact that if you have £500 to spend, you’ll have a hard time finding a better soundbar than the standalone Sony HT-A3000 within that price range.
|Processing||Advanced DSP Modes|
|Amplifier Type||Digital Amplifier, S-Master|
|Surround Sound Formats||Dolby Digital|
Dolby Digital Plus
DTS-HD High Resolution
DTS-HD Master Audio
360 Reality Audio
Sony HT-A3000 Type
Sony HT-A3000 Connections
|HDMI Type||HDMI with ARC|
HDMI with eARC
Sony HT-A3000 Product Properties
What’s In The Box
- Remote Control
- Batteries for remote commander
- TV centre speaker mode cable
- HDMI Cable
- AC Cord
- Warranty Card
- Quick Setup Guide
- Instruction Manual