Sony HT-A5000 Soundbar and Home Theatre System Review: Fairly Well Equipped

A good home theatre system can really enhance your entertainment setup, and there are various ways to put one together in your television room at home. While many might opt to mix-and-match individual components from different brands, others might prefer the simplicity and ease of setup that you can get with a single product set. Sony offers just that with its feature-filled A-series soundbars, which can be used with matching subwoofers and rear speakers. I’m reviewing one of the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar systems here.

Priced at around Rs. 1,72,000 for the package I’m reviewing here, but with packages starting at around Rs. 1,12,000 onwards in India, the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is the brand’s mid-tier product in its A-series lineup of soundbars and speaker systems. With a 5.1.2-channel speaker setup for the soundbar and support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision passthrough, is the Sony HT-A5000 worth the price? Find out in this review.

The up-firing speakers of the Sony HT-A5000 attempt to virtualise overhead speakers for compatible audio formats


Sony HT-A5000 system packages and pricing

While Sony states that the HT-A5000 is only being sold in packages in India starting at Rs. 1,11,980, the soundbar can be purchased on its own from Amazon for Rs. 85,990 at the time of writing this review. Different packages are available on Amazon as well, so depending on your requirements, you can find the setup and price point that suits you best.

Sony recommends the use of a dedicated subwoofer with the HT-A5000, with the company’s own package options including either the SA-SW3 (Rs. 1,11,980) or SA-SW5 subwoofer (Rs. 1,38,980). You can also add the optional SA-RS3S (Rs. 30,990) or SA-RS5 (Rs. 47,990) wireless rear speakers, if you like. For this review, I had the HT-A5000 paired with the SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear speakers, with the total package priced at around Rs. 1,72,000. I have tested the various components both individually and together, to get a clear picture of how each of them work.

Sony HT-A5000 design and specifications

The Sony HT-A5000 is part of the same series as the Sony HT-A7000 (Review) and Sony HT-A3000, and is the positioned between them based on features, specifications, and pricing. This soundbar has a 5.1.2-channel configuration, with three front-firing speakers, two beam tweeters, a dual-channel subwoofer, and two up-firing speakers for overhead sound. The rated power output of the HT-A5000 is 450W.

Although not as impressive to look at as the more expensive HT-A7000, the Sony HT-A5000 is nearly as big and still quite a good-looking soundbar. There are no glossy or fabric elements on the speaker unit, but the textured black finish and metal grille do give it a modern and refined look. The bar unit weighs 6.1kg and lines up fairly evenly with a 55-inch television.

At the top of the HT-A5000 is a touch panel for the on-device controls, while the back has two cutouts for ports and sockets. The front of the speaker has a small monochrome display which shows the power status, volume, and active source.

Basic controls for the Sony HT-A5000 are on the soundbar itself, while more detailed controls are available on the remote


The Sony HT-A5000 comes with a useful remote that has plenty of controls, going far beyond the basic ones on the soundbar itself. IT lets you switch between various sound modes, control the volume of a connected subwoofer or rear speakers, and quickly switc between sources, over and above the basics of power, volume and playback controls. The sales package also includes a power cable for the HT-A5000, an HDMI cable, and batteries for the remote.

Sony HT-A5000 connectivity and features

For connectivity, the Sony HT-A5000 primarily relies on HDMI eARC, with separate input and output ports. It can handle display signal passthrough for up to 8K HDR, 4K 120Hz, or Dolby Vision content. There are also optical (TOSLINK) and USB Type-A ports, as well as an ‘S-Center Out’ socket which lets you use a compatible Bravia TV as a centre speaker.

Wireless connectivity on the Sony HT-A5000 uses Bluetooth 5 (with support for the SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs) and Wi-Fi, which works with various services and protocols including Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa. There is also support for HDMI CEC, and the TV Wireless protocol which lets the soundbar connect wirelessly to compatible Sony Bravia TVs.

The Sony HT-A5000 supports various Dolby formats up to Atmos, DTS:X, and Sony’s own Vertical Surround Engine for overhead speaker virtualisation. All of this can usefully be controlled through a visual interface which can be accessed when the soundbar is connected to a TV through the HDMI port. The interface allows easy access to controls and connectivity options, and also lets the user set up the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature and any Wi-Fi-based services, among other things.

Sony SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear speakers design and specifications

The Sony SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear speakers are packaged separately, come with their own power cables, and are designed to visually match any of the A-series soundbars. These units are quite large, and you’ll need to ensure you have the space and ability to place them correctly. Usefully, the RS5 speakers have in-built batteries, and are rated to run for up to 10 hours on a single charge, which can come in handy if positioning is tricky and power outlets aren’t easily accessible.

Sony sells the HT-A5000 in various packages that include subwoofers and optional rear speakers, such as the SA-RS5 wireless speakers


The subwoofer wasn’t too difficult for me to place, but the rear speakers were a bit more complicated due to needing a power socket and a secure place to put each of them behind my seating area. All additional units need to be positioned correctly near the main soundbar. Once set up and connected, they’ll power on and off and connect to the HT-A5000 automatically and reliably, based on the power status of the main soundbar. The pairing process is quite easy, and can be carried out through the visual interface for the HT-A5000.

The SA-SW5 subwoofer has a rated output of 300W and therefore significantly increases the overall power of the package, while the SA-RS5 rear speakers have a rated output of 180W (90W each). Each of the devices requires a separate connection to a power outlet, but as mentioned, they pair with the HT-A5000 master device wirelessly, which handles connections with all other devices such as your TV and media sources.

Sony HT-A5000 performance

The three soundbars in Sony’s A-series lineup in India are primarily differentiated by their driver configurations, and as a factor of that, their rated power output. The Sony HT-A5000 is the middle product in the lineup, offering a bit less than the HT-A7000 on the whole, but a fair bit more than the lower-priced HT-A3000. In my opinion, this makes the HT-A5000 the most practical of the three in the lineup, and it is particularly well suited to pairing with premium 55-inch or 65-inch televisions.

Primary connectivity for the Sony HT-A5000 is through HDMI ARC/eARC, but other options including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also present


The HT-A5000 is also particularly well suited to the typical urban living room, and arguably looks more in place in such a setting than the HT-A7000 and other premium home theatre setups from specialist loudspeaker brands. This also carries through to its ease of use and the lack of tweaking necessary to get the best out of it. It never felt too loud, powerful or overbearing in my home, and it should be able to adapt to both larger and smaller spaces, in my opinion, thanks to its mid-tier 5.1.2-channel configuration and power output.

Ease of use, and the fact that I didn’t have to do much setup, make the Sony HT-A5000 a lot less complicated than the HT-A7000. I rarely needed to adjust the levels of the SA-SW5 subwoofer and SA-RS5 rear speakers after the initial calibration and setup, or even switch sound formats or modes to enhance voice and dialogue quality; the Sony HT-A5000 pretty much just worked as it was.

That said, to get the best out of the Sony HT-A5000, you do need to use it with the right equipment; audio format support is a big factor in the performance of the soundbar system. I had the Sony HT-A5000 connected to an Apple TV 4K (3rd Gen), with content passing through the soundbar to the television, thus allowing for up to Dolby Atmos support when available.

Watching the iconic ‘Beard After Hours’ episode of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+, Dolby Atmos made everything sound considerably better. Sound coming from the rear speakers was particularly well tuned and refined, and the trippy nightclub scene at the end of the episode also managed to put the overhead channels of the HT-A5000 to good use, creating a very audible virtualisation effect. There was sound coming from all directions, but it never felt too much or too jumbled up; the entire track was cohesive and all components played rather well together.

Various formats up to Dolby Atmos are supported on the Sony HT-A5000, along with Dolby Vision and 8K passthrough for video content


Overhead virtualisation naturally needs the right kind of content. However, most of the time, I was watching TV shows and movies available in 5.1-channel audio, such as Andor and Rogue One on Disney+ Hotstar, 1899 on Netflix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (both movies) on Amazon Prime Video. For these, the soundbar relied on Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine and 360 Spatial Sound mapping to virtualise the 5.1-channel audio signal to work effectively with the additional channels in the setup.

This worked effectively, and the sound from the Sony HT-A5000, SA-SW5, and SA-RS5 was remarkably consistent across formats and content types, at moderate to high volume levels. While I did also try the Dolby Audio and DTS:X modes, these didn’t have as much of an effect on the HT-A5000 as on the larger and more expensive HT-A7000 soundbar.

Taking the rear speakers and subwoofer out of the equation naturally takes a significant bite out of the overall sound, but the HT-A5000 on its own is obviously still significantly better than what even a high-end television will deliver through its built-in speakers. The soundbar delivers a wide, spacious sound stage, much more loudness, and a level of clarity and definition that adds value to your viewing experience.

I would recommend having a subwoofer though; the built-in subwoofers on the HT-A5000 are nowhere near as good as the SA-SW3 or SA-SW5. That said, the SW5 does seem a bit too powerful for this soundbar, and I had to turn its volume down a fair bit to ensure the levels matched on the setup as a whole.

On the other hand, the SA-RS5 rear speakers match quite well with the HT-A5000. I found them ideal with the volume maxed out. These rear speakers delivered only a small portion of the overall sound and were never too loud, instead relying on their positioning to enhance the listening experience.

On the HT-A5000, I did need to occasionally adjust the volume for comfort, but fortunately I didn’t experience any sudden or forced volume spikes. Moderate volume levels were ideal in most situations and with most types of content, but this pair can get quite loud if needed without much distortion or awkwardness in the sound.

The soundbar system worked particularly well for action sequences and soundtracks, but was fairly capable even with soft or dialogue-based content such as stand-up comedy specials. It was even pretty good for listening to music, with decent sound quality both from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-based sources.


The Sony HT-A5000 is undoubtedly quite expensive and would be ideally matched with a premium television. However, despite its lesser configuration as compared to the Sony HT-A7000 soundbar, I found the HT-A5000 better suited to the typical living room. It’s a lot easier to use, the specifications fit in with most viewing needs, and the soundbar works well with Sony’s range of matching components. Good format support and adaptability further add to its overall appeal, making this an all-round performer.

All of this said, the Sony HT-A5000 on its own feels a bit underwhelming, and is best used as part of a package that includes a dedicated subwoofer and preferably rear speakers as well. It’s worth the purchase if you’re looking for a premium home entertainment speaker system that is…


Sony HT-A7000 Soundbar and SA-SW3 Wireless Subwoofer Review: Big and Powerful Sound at Home

If you’re shopping for a high-end home entertainment audio system and you have a generous budget, there isn’t any shortage of options. Many people would opt for a multi-speaker system powered by a proper home theatre amplifier, but this also involves a complicated setup and installation process, including mounting the speakers and running power and audio cables around your room. You might therefore want a soundbar for its ease of setup and use, even if you’re willing to splurge a bit.

The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar is meant for exactly that kind of customer. Priced at Rs. 1,49,990, this is a premium 7.1.2-channel single-bar speaker system that promises premium performance, with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity, Dolby Vision and 8K HDR pass-through, and more.

Along with the optional Sony SA-SW3 wireless subwoofer (priced at Rs. 29,990) which I’ve also reviewed here, this setup could make for a promising home theatre system with a convenient physical footprint. Is this the best premium soundbar system you can buy right now? Find out in this review.

The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar has two top-firing overhead channel speakers along with a built-in subwoofer.


Sony HT-A7000 soundbar and SA-SW3 subwoofer design and specifications

The Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2-channel soundbar can be purchased as a standalone device and is priced at Rs. 1,49,990 in India. However, Sony also sells it as a bundle with additional speakers. You can buy this soundbar with the SA-SW3 subwoofer (Rs. 29,990) or SA-SW5 subwoofer (Rs. 61,990), and SA-RS3S wireless rear speakers (Rs. 35,990) to expand your setup.

For this review, I used the Sony HT-A7000 with the Sony SA-SW3 wireless subwoofer. This combination is available directly from Sony as a bundle at a promotional price of Rs. 1,50,980 at the time of this review, which is just a bit higher than the cost of the HT-A7000 on its own. You can add the wireless speakers if you like as a separate purchase, but this will make setup and installation a bit more complicated, since they need to be placed alongside or behind your seating area. The soundbar and subwoofer alone were fairly easy for me to set up myself, with both positioned near my television and drawing power from the same socket board.

The Sony HT-A7000 bar speaker is quite large and heavy at 8.7kg. It’s roughly the same length as a typical 55-inch television, and also wide enough that it needs to be placed on a large table or home entertainment unit. The size (and price) of the HT-A7000 means that it is best paired with a premium television, and its built-in connectivity and amplification mean that you don’t need an AV receiver or home theatre amplifier.

The bar speaker itself looks premium and very attractive, with a metal grille, glossy surface at the top, and fabric covering the two top-firing overhead channels. The touch controls for power, Bluetooth connectivity, signal source, and volume are on the top of the soundbar. The front of the HT-A7000 has a small monochrome display that indicates its power status, the source that’s in use, and volume levels. The display was a bit hard to read from a distance, but it’s more than adequate for the purpose it serves.

The Sony SA-SW3 subwoofer has a rated output of 200W


A remote is bundled with the Sony HT-A7000, and has detailed controls for navigation, display, subwoofer volume adjustment, and sound mode selection, among other things. Also included in the sales package are the power cord for the soundbar, a 3.5mm audio cable for wired connectivity, and an HDMI cable.

The Sony HT-A7000 is a 7.1.2-channel speaker system with five front speakers, two beam tweeters, two top-firing overhead-channel speakers, and a built-in subwoofer. This soundbar has a total rated power output of 500W. The SA-SW3 subwoofer has a rated output of 200W, and wireless connectivity with compatible Sony products, including the HT-A7000, is easy to set up.

Connectivity options on the Sony HT-A7000 include two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output with ARC/eARC support, an analogue stereo jack, optical audio input, and a USB Type-A port. You can therefore simultaneously connect two source devices such as streaming devices, gaming consoles, or Blu-ray players directly to the HT-A7000, which can then connect to your TV or projector using HDMI ARC or eARC. The HT-A7000 supports video signal pass-through up to the Dolby Vision, 4K-120Hz, and 8K HDR formats, so this speaker is future-ready and capable of handling most current source devices.

Alternatively you can simply use the optical audio input or the HDMI ARC connection to your TV to receive audio. I used the Sony HT-A7000 with different smart televisions during my review, relying on HDMI ARC for the sound signal, and it worked as expected. Various sound formats up to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are supported by the HT-A7000, along with Sony’s own DSEE Extreme, Vertical Surround Engine, and 360 Reality Audio enhancement features.

The Sony HT-A7000 has Bluetooth 5 connectivity, with support for the SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs. There is also Wi-Fi, which enables Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and built-in Chromecast audio support. HDMI CEC is supported, letting you use your connected devices to control the soundbar.

The Sony SA-SW3 wireless subwoofer has a dull, patterned texture on the top and sides, and fabric covering its front. The back has buttons for power and wireless linking, and a socket for the included power cable. The front of the subwoofer has a small indicator light, which shows the power and connectivity status of the device.

This subwoofer only connects wirelessly to compatible Sony audio systems such as the HT-A7000 soundbar. The process was simple and the connection was stable throughout my time with these two units. It isn’t possible to adjust the subwoofer volume directly from the SW3 itself, and I needed to use the remote of the HT-A7000. This was often necessary given the sheer power of the subwoofer.

Connectivity options on the Sony HT-A7000 include HDMI with ARC/eARC support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and more


When connected to a display, you can open up the visual interface of the Sony HT-A7000 to select source devices, adjust settings, and explore and activate the various connectivity options. This was also necessary to calibrate the audio according to my room environment, link the SA-SW3 subwoofer to the bar speaker, and change the audio format and basic sound settings for proper listening. It’s a good, clean interface that works well for its purpose.

Sony HT-A7000 soundbar and SA-SW3 subwoofer performance

Looking beyond its design, connectivity options, and raw specifications, the Sony HT-A7000 is quite a beast when it comes to performance. It was very easy for me to set up and operate, and although there was a small learning curve and certain tweaks needed to be carried out, I quickly managed to get the HT-A7000 and SA-SW3 performing at the kind of level that I expected of a soundbar system that costs over Rs. 1,50,000.

I used the Sony HT-A7000 and SA-SW3 primarily as a sound system for my television while watching various movies and TV shows across audio formats including Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, relying on HDMI ARC for connectivity. I also occasionally used Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth to stream music.

Of all the movies and TV shows I watched while using the Sony HT-A7000 soundbar and SA-SW3 subwoofer, Dune on Amazon Prime Video was perhaps the most memorable, even though it didn’t use any advanced audio format. Initially, the deep, rumbling soundtrack put the subwoofer to good use, but with absolutely no adjustments, voices sounded too soft and got lost in the atmospheric background sounds and intense action sequences of the movie.

This was quickly and easily fixed by turning off the DSEE Extreme mode, enabling the Auto Volume adjustment setting, and setting the Voice Dynamic Range feature to ‘Auto’. This allowed the soundbar to tweak sound levels to suit whatever was being played, on the fly. Indeed, it adjusted itself quickly and dynamically to suit softer voices in scenes as needed. This did tend to affect soundtracks a bit adversely, particularly the opening credits, which sounded a bit strange. However, vocals and action sequences sounded very good.

The physical controls for the Sony HT-A7000 are on the top 


There were times when I needed to lower the subwoofer volume, which at high levels, was occasionally overpowering with its intense bass. Once all of these initial setup issues were tackled, I was truly able to enjoy the loud, intense, atmospheric, and immersive sound that the Sony HT-A7000 and SA-SW3 produced. I did still occasionally need to tweak the subwoofer volume, but these adjustments were quick and easy, and entirely worth it to allow the HT-A7000 to work well with the content being played.

Indeed, my experience with Dune considerably more fun than when relying on only the Philips 55PUT8115/94 television’s – or rather most televisions’ – basic speaker system. The audio quality and sound experience of the Sony soundbar also far outclassed the picture levels that this particular Philips TV managed, which is why I mentioned in the beginning that it’s best to match this speaker setup with a TV of similar stature for the best home cinema experience.

At moderate volume levels, the sound from the Sony soundbar and subwoofer felt strong and engaging, while even at lower volume levels, casual content such as sitcoms or late night viewing were perfectly enjoyable.

Dune also let me try the native sound post-processing modes, including Dolby Speaker Virtualiser and DTS Neural:X. There’s a third mode called ‘Sound Mode On’ which presumably preserves the original source audio without adding any enhancements. DTS Neural:X was perhaps the more impressive of the two post-processing modes, adding much more atmospheric aggression and mood to the sound. The Dolby Virtualiser mode kept things a bit more uniform and soft, while still enhancing vocals.

Priced at over Rs. 1,50,000, the Sony HT-A7000 and SA-SW3 bundle is expensive, but performance is excellent


Sound Mode On was best used with Dolby Atmos content to ensure no changes were made to the sound signal. With Our Great National Parks on Netflix, performance was excellent as there was decent virtualised surround sound despite the lack of physical rear speakers. The sounds of nature, particularly flowing water and the chirping of birds, had a distinct sense of directionality and a wide soundstage that was impressively audible at the sides and above where I was sitting.

Even without the Sony SA-SW3 subwoofer, the Sony HT-A7000 delivered excellent sound, albeit with expectedly less low-end grunt. I wasn’t disappointed with the bass levels, but I definitely felt that the SW3 subwoofer added some useful and helpful attack and punch to the sound, particularly in intense movies and TV shows, and even music. The ‘Immersive AE’ mode improved the soundstage both vertically and horizontally, but seemed to make the overall sound a little less cohesive and sharp, particularly voices.

Music sounded surprisingly good on the Sony HT-A7000 and SA-SW3, thanks to their sheer power and attack. The tuning of the drivers naturally favours movies and TV shows, but that said, it’s a workable option for occasional music listening.

Audio quality was expectedly better with AirPlay and Chromecast than Bluetooth, but I did face some connectivity bugs with AirPlay which caused music to stop or the soundbar to not respond to playback controls on my iPhone on occasion. Bluetooth was more stable in terms of connectivity, and LDAC Bluetooth codec support made for decent sound quality when used with an Android smartphone.


It can be argued that a soundbar will never quite match up to a proper surround sound system, but a very good soundbar still has enough potential to make the difference somewhat irrelevant. The Sony HT-A7000 is quite impressive, enhancing the sound experience across genres and content, and adding useful post-processing and specific tuning where necessary. Combined with the Sony SA-SW3 subwoofer, this is a formidable home theatre system but is still easy to set up and operate.

That said, it’s undeniably very expensive at around Rs. 1,50,000 for the combo; perhaps more than it needs to be given that you can get soundbars that are also very good, such as the Sony HT-Z9F, for considerably less. However, if money…