Sony HT-ST5000 review!!Anshul Gautam
- Dynamic, Exciting performance
- Excellent clarity with High-Res audio
- Premium Build Quality
- Powerful bass
- Dolby Atmos doesn’t Surround
- Short on streaming services
- Very Expensive
- Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar
- High Res-Audio compatible
- Three 4K HDMI inputs
- Google Chromecast built in
WHAT IS THE SONY HT-ST5000??
Don’t bother with the HT-ST5000 is you’re nursing a budget 40-inch telly. This is a full-width (1.18m) flagship sound bar that’s unashamedly ostentatious. Headline attractions include Dolby Atmos compatibility, High-Res Audio support, Bluetooth and Chromecast Built-in. It’s comfortably the most feature-laden sound bar Sony has ever produced
SONY HT-ST5000 DOLBY ATMOS SOUNDBAR – BUILD QUALITY AND CONNECTIVITY
The fabric cover is removable so that you can admire the drivers. A pair of gold-rimmed, high frequency tweeters sit left and right, while a tweeter flanked by mid-range squawkers takes center stage. Top mounted, behind metal grilles, are up firing Dolby-enabled speakers for Dolby Atmos and Surround duties.
Even the wireless subwoofer, usually a cosmetic afterthought with 2.1 packages, is suitably premium. No mere MDF box, it features a forward-facing grille, matte lid and sits on a stylished plinth. Inside, there’s a forward-forward facing driver and large downwards-facing passive radiator. During setup it connects automatically with the sound bar, a green LED glowing in confirmation.
Connectivity is generous. Look to the rear and you’ll find four HDMIs, one ARC-enabled. All support HDCP 2.2 for 4K sources.
There’s also provision for an optical digital audio connection, stereo via minijack and ethernet. Wireless credentials include dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth with LDAC (Sony’s own high-bandwidth protocol). If you’re wondering where the USB port is, it’s hidden on the right edge of the bar.
SONY HT-ST5000 DOLBY ATMOS SOUNDBAR – FEATURES
Functionality mimics that of an AV receiver. This is reflected by a tiled user interface which lists input options, plus connected home network devices. The Music Service List actually comprises just Spotify and Chromecast Built-in (formerly known as Google Cast).
Unlike the average AVR, though, the system doesn’t come with any calibration mic. There are some settings you can modify, such as Distance, Level and ceiling height, but it’s very much plug and play.
While the HT-ST5000 is clearly intended to be used with High-Res Audio content, you can upscale compressed audio using Sony’s mildly effective DSEE HX processor. There’s also a DRC (Dynamic range compression) control, but this should be left off. A range of rather well-designed audio presets can be applied to all sources.
SONY HT-ST5000 DOLBY ATMOS SOUNDBAR – PERFORMANCE
Seismic. Sublime. Sort-of-surroundy. All these can be used for the HT-ST5000. It is, by and large, a beautiful-sounding audio system, able to create a wide, stereophonic sound field.
It should be stressed that Dolby Atmos here is not directly comparable to that from an AV receiver running speakers in a 5.1.2 (or greater) configuration. Dolby itself refers to Atmos as an ‘experience’ that adapts to the hardware it plays on – and that’s what you get.
This is evidenced by a Dolby authored Atmos test disc which features an audio-only fly-over of a 747 jet. The HT-ST5000 reaches high, but doesn’t convincingly convey a sense of direction. Consequently, the plane doesn’t appear to travel, but ascends like a VTOL Harrier Jump Jet.
Sonic immersion is dependant on the listening position. Ideally, I found sitting around 1.5m from the sound bar, with a ceiling height of some 2m, gave the best results. At this point I enjoyed wide, high stereo, with Cinerama-style ear-tickling (back in the Sixties, Cinerama used three projectors to create an expansive curved viewing experience).
Spatial definition within this stage is outstanding. This is particularly effective on the opening to Mad Max Fury Road (Blu-ray). Those ‘Where are you?’ echoes clearly stand apart from Max’s narration. Run-of-the-mill sound bars just can’t delineate this well. However, when the War Boys roar in, they don’t jump from back to front, but enter from the wings.