Sunday, June 04, 2017

Absolutely stunning 3D surround sound

This week, I found myself in possession of Sony's new flagship sound bar - the Sony HT-ST5000 7.1.2ch 800W Dolby Atmos Sound Bar (2017 model).

We had an inexpensive home theater setup when we lived in Indiana. It had six speakers - left, center, right, bass reflex and left rear and right rear - all of which were wired to a receiver/amplifier. We really loved it, especially with action movies like Band of Brothers in which we could hear bullets whizzing all around us.

When we moved to our Arkansas home, we never hooked up the rear speakers because I was loathe to run wires through the walls or under the carpet. I thought wistfully of the day when I could buy a wireless speaker system to replicate the surround sound.

It never happened, but this week I received this kick-ass Sony system to review for a major retailer. It was startlingly easy to set up and I had it up and running within an hour of when the freight company delivery guy brought it to our house. I was greatly relieved that it works just fine with our 10-year-old 42" Sharp Aquos LED TV.

The 3D surround sound works even better than our old six-speaker system. I confirmed it by playing the Day of Days episode of Band of Brothers and was excited to hear the same realistic whiz of bullets.

The 3D surround sound uses a couple of speakers mounted in the top of the sound bar that bounce rearward sounds off of the ceiling. You can fine-tune the sound, based on the distance from the sound bar to your seat and the height of your ceiling. The separate bass reflex speaker is wirelessly linked with the sound bar, so the wires and cables are kept to a minimum.

You can also play music through it from your cell phone or other device via Bluetooth and the quality is absolutely stunning.

We bought a Blu-Ray copy of the first Guardians of the Galaxy as an inaugural test movie and the effect was every bit as impressive as watching the movie in a quality theater.

We were streaming the most recent version of The Jungle Book the other night and my wife complained that the dialog was hard to hear. No problem - just press the button on the remote control marked "voice" and the dialog comes to the forefront and is immediately clearer and more understandable.

The system has myriad other features that I have yet to explore, including capabilities for Spotify and Google Home for wireless multi-room home listening.

The price tag - just under $1,500 - may be intimidating, but once you experience the Sony HT-ST5000, you'll understand it's worth the investment.

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