An upmarket soundbar from a big brand in the audiovisual industry, the high-priced Sony HT-ST5000 had a lot to prove from the day of its release. Our audio team got our hands on this well-praised model to test if its worth the hype and price. Read our full Sony HT-ST5000 review below to see our experts’ assessment.
You can call this device a beast. It stretches 1180 mm in width and has a wireless sub. The instrument comes with engineering that is more Stereophile than like TV audio. It offers great finishing though which justifies its extravagant price tag.
When you look at the HT-ST5000, it appears a bit overdressed. It looks as if it is a 2.1 package but Sony has described it as 7.1.2 package. There is a long list of features available with the Sony instrument.
Apart from the Dolby Atmos and DTS: X decoding you can get High-Resolution audio support with a built-in Chromecast functionality, Bluetooth, and a dual-band Wi-Fi. Is there a downside to all this?
Yes, you have to pay for all the razzmatazz. The soundbar comes at a whopping price tag of $1500. It is really expensive but for that money, you are getting a high-quality product. For cheaper ones, you can check our comparison for soundbars under $200.
Let’s start off this Sony HT-ST5000 review with the design aspect.
The build quality offered by Sony HT-ST5000 is excellent. It has a durable feel and a luxurious look, perfect for buyers who care about aesthetics.
The soundbar has a fabric grille that adds to the appearance. However, it appears better when it’s uncovered, particularly because the drivers look sleek. You get two coaxial and matching speakers on either side with gold-rimmed high frequency tweeters.
There’s also a coaxial driver having mid-range cones that handle the center channel. The slight difference of the cones on the center channel results in a bit of a timber mismatch, but it’s not very distinct when you are listening to a mix of TV channels.
Dolby Atmos is evident at the top of the soundbar. Behind the fixed metal grilles there is a set of two Dolby-enabled speakers that fire upwards to the ceiling for Dolby Atmos and height-oriented audios.
An issue that our audio experts pointed out is that it can’t have a set of rear wireless speakers, which would’ve taken the sound quality to the next level. We find that using an additional speaker or two can make a difference even if it already is a superb Atmos soundbar.
Appearance-wise, the HT-ST5000 looks its price. It has a sleek impression at the front and all the sides. It will fit right into the modern living room, although it’s not exactly small in size.
(Explore more options — we also put both the Bose Soundtouch 300 and the Soundbar 700 to the test.)
Unlike lesser quality soundbars and speakers, the Sony HT-ST5000 offers its users full AVR functionality. You get four HDMI ports, three of which are for HDMI inputs and one is for the HDMI ARC output.
All of them are HDCP 2.2-ready and can be used for different 4K sources such as Xbox One X, UHD player, Amazon Fire 4K, etc. They do have to be configured before they are paired.
When setting up, you need to choose Enhanced option over Standard for supporting 4K 60p and 4:4:4 or progressively lower video settings.
You get many additional display options with the Sony HT-ST5000 sound bar and all of them are best in the Auto mode. There is a USB port located on the right side so you can play back local media. Also, you have an optical digital audio input and a stereo mini-jack for the Sony HT-ST5000.
The Sony HT-ST5000 has an Ethernet LAN port that ensures wired networking but you can have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings as well, with the former having NFC pairing. The LDAC headroom extension is also a proprietary from Sony.
In front, you’ll find a clear display window which reveals volume and input selection. Aside from the volume and input, it also offers a selection of on-body controls which provides control for those who like to go without an IR remote control.
It’s pretty easy to control the Atmos soundbar as it has a tilted interface which lists the input options plus their connected home network devices. So, there is nothing that will alienate the non-techs who aren’t best with setups and wires.
The paired subwoofer is placed on the plinth and is quite stylish, better than all LFE boom boxes. The front grille has a good-looking matte lid and there are drivers which fire downwards for a more resonant bass.
It’s easy to set up the subwoofer as well. It connects with the bar automatically and the LED confirms that the subwoofer link is active.
When in full flight, the Sony HT-ST5000 sound bar sounds amazing, especially since it’s equipped with Dolby Atmos. When paired with a Sony TV, the performance of this soundbar Sony produced is remarkable.
You can connect other devices as well because it has three HDMI inputs. Having three inputs is very handy if you also want more room for other devices such as a game console or a Blu-ray player.
Sony HT-ST5000 develops a high and wide soundstage and its spatial placement is superb. There’s an 800W power output which indicates that the HT-ST5000 system isn’t short of dynamics and it’s hard-hitting indeed.
If you are listening to War Boys, their gutty roar will emit the best sound quality, especially with the bass settings from the subwoofer.
Despite the big bass power, the HT-ST5000 is not all muscle as you can also find musical finesse in the sound quality. The LPCM 96kHz 24-bit ensures that the vocal performance of the sound bar is rich and rounded when it needs to be.
In our tests, the sound presentation is almost 3D surround. Music, movies, video games, and other media are elevated much more than what TV speakers provide.
However, don’t expect the HT-ST5000 to produce a pronounced Dolby Atmos overhead steerage. This bar features a range of drivers but they don’t develop the audio canopy in the best way.
And without the option to add in rear speakers, it just almost hits that full surround sound system. While it’s not the absolute best, it nicely meets the standards of an audiophile.
In the end, the sound experience given by Sony’s HT-ST5000 soundbar will depend a lot on your room and the distance you are placed from the soundbar. Generally, around 1.5 meters from the bar is ideal.
The HT-ST5000 soundstage is more like stereophonic than atmospheric especially when you sit further back. Another facet of the Sony sound bar is that the bass response is seriously powerful.
The previous soundbar products from Sony were a lot more docile for their good but not HT-ST5000. It may sound seismic in a way that when the Games of Thrones dragons grumble, it will have a frightening effect on the whole room.
That’s mainly due to the wireless subwoofer that provides a sound from 31.5 Hz to 50 Hz. Apart from the subwoofer, the soundbar itself goes to about 100Hz. With these specs, you will experience some of the best and most immersive audio from music and movies.
There’s also a Dolby surround mode which is brilliant while identifying the element of 5.1 mixes – and it will be distributing highly. It has good settings for live events and concerts when a sense of immersive ambiance required.
When it comes to compatibility, this Dolby Atmos soundbar is a competent streamer and DLNA compliant. It will recognize NAS devices and the Twonky server. There’s audio file support that covers all the lossy formats along with 24-bit 96 kHz DSD and FLAC.
If you’re a music lover, this soundbar also has the precision to handle classics like Mozart. You may use as many MP3s as you like and there’s a way of restoring the quality in the compressed audio as well.
Want to see more of your options? We’ve got the Vizio M21d-H8 with six speakers for resonant sound.
Sony HT-ST5000 Review Conclusion
Overall, the Sony ST5000 is definitely one of the best soundbars you can get with the new features it brings to the table. When you search for reviews on the best products to purchase, this is one of the excellent players in the field of soundbars.
It supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, has three HDMI inputs, one ARC output, a remote, superb drivers, subwoofer for bass and an easy setup for a Sony soundbar.
If you want the best sound at home when you watch movies, play video games, or listen to music, this is the best home entertainment system you could get. Although it may have some shortcomings, the Sony HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar is still a great choice for a significantly enhanced audio and music experience.
The new provision for Spotify Connect and integrated Chromecast capabilities is welcome as well. The overhead audio effects are not consistent on the flip side, but overall, the Sony HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar sounds great and justifies its expensive price.
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