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The Sony HT-A3000 may lack the ‘real’ up-firing channels and power of its step-up siblings, but it still delivers an excellent upgrade on your TV’s built-in sound system for relatively little money. It offers a great if expensive upgrade path, too.


  • Big sound for a relatively small soundbar
  • Optional upgrade speakers are very good
  • Good format support


  • Bass is a bit light for films
  • Optional upgrade speakers are expensive
  • No HDMI loopthrough

Key Features

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:XCan decode object based sound formats from Dolby and DTS for a more three-dimensional sound
  • 3.1 speaker configurationFeatures physical left, right and centre speakers, as well as dual subwoofers
  • 360 Spatial Sound Mapping supportAnalyses your room and calculates where to create multiple ‘virtual’ speakers


At the time of review, HT-A3000 is Sony’s most affordable soundbar. In fact, its £449 price means it can now be yours for £250 less than it cost at launch.

Not bad for a powerful 3.1-channel all-in-one soundbar with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology and an impressive upgrade path for anyone who wants to add extra bass and rear channels to the A3000’s out of the box offering.

While it seems enticing on paper, though, can Sony really retain its usual high sound quality standards right down to its most entry-level soundbar offering?


The Sony HT-A3000’s £449 UK price looks reasonably aggressive for a soundbar with a good feature count and so much Sony audio heritage behind it. At any rate, it’s much more enticing now than it was when it first came out priced at £699.

The Sony A3000 is widely available across the world, with pricing in the US and Australia set at $699.99 and A$799 respectively – which means the UK price actually looks particularly good value for once!

There are two optional rear and two optional subwoofer options you can add to the A3000 if you want to expand its capabilities. The cheapest SA-RS3S rear pair and SA-SW3 subwoofer options that I’d say deliver both the best financial and audio match for the A3000 go for £449 each.

Which, it has to be said, doesn’t make those upgrades look nearly as good value as the A3000 itself. Add all three prices together, in fact, and you end up at £1,350 – the same sort of price currently being asked by Samsung for its barnstorming 16-channel HW-Q990D full surround sound plus subwoofer soundbar package.


  • Excellent build quality
  • Attractive mix of finishes
  • High quality touch controls

For many consumers, soundbars represent the ultimate way of greatly enhancing your home AV setup’s sound without the complication and aesthetic impact involved with filling your room with speakers and a separate amp. The A3000 fits this soundbar bill particularly well, thanks to its compact size, low profile, all-in-one design and subtly attractive mix of finishes.

This latter point finds the top edge clad in a cutely textured vinyl-type finish, while the front edge gets a metal grille effect and the rear gets a more leathery, scaly appearance that’s a lot more attractive than I made it sound. Using so many different finishes could have looked clumsy in less careful, experienced hands, but on the A3000 it works a treat.

The  Sony A3000 features an unusual but effective combination of different finishes on its various sides.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The optional extra rear speakers and subwoofer (which I did get hold of for this review) are less overtly stylish if you opt to add them. But they’re still compact and, in the SW3 sub’s case, easy to hide down the side of a sofa or under a side board given the relatively non-directional nature of bass frequencies.

The A3000’s top edge plays host to a beautifully integrated set of on-bar connection buttons – though as you’d expect, Sony’s soundbar ships with a remote control too. This is big and packed with buttons, but it doesn’t take too long to learn your way round the important bits.

All the A3000’s speakers are housed behind the metal grille that runs along the soundbar’s front edge. They comprise dedicated left, centre and right drivers, with a pair of subwoofers sitting either side of the centre speaker to enhance bass reproduction.

All five speakers are built using Sony’s X-Balanced Speaker technology, where a relatively rectangular rather than circular driver shape is used to deliver punchier bass, reduced distortions and enhanced vocal clarity.


  • 3.1 speaker output
  • DTS:X and Dolby Atmos decoding
  • Upgradable with further speakers

In its default, bar-only configuration, the HT-A3000 delivers its sound through a 3.1-channel speaker system, complete with dedicated built-in dual bass drivers. This set up can deliver a total output of 250W through a set of Sony’s S-Master digital amplifiers, with a variety of sound format decoders on hand to ensure that whatever sound is fed into the A3000 can take advantage of its full range of power and channels.

Compatible formats and file types include Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS HD High Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS ES, DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, HE.AAC MP3, Monkey Audio, WMA, Ogg and Orbis. Obviously the soundbar can’t deliver a full ‘true’ surround sound experience from surround sound formats in its default state, but it carries virtual surround processing that includes DTS Virtual X.

The connections bay of the Sony HT-A3000 soundbar
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The HT-A3000 also, as I’d expect of any Sony soundbar these days, supports Sony’s own 360-degree Spatial Sound Mapping system, with its ability to assess the layout of your room and create multiple virtual surround, side and height speakers. Sony’s S-Force PRO Front Surround and Vertical Surround Engines are on offer to create as immersive a sound stage as possible even when you’re just using the soundbar by itself.

Music files can also benefit from Sony’s acclaimed DSEE Extreme system, where compressed digital music files are returned to something like their original form thanks to the DSEE system’s ability to recognise instrumentation, musical genres and even the individual elements of a song and restore the high range sounds typically lost in the compression process.

There’s support for direct playback of music through Spotify Connect, built-in Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2, and you can control the A3000 with your voice via external Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa listening devices. You can also control the soundbar via Sony’s Music Centre App for iOS and Android if you can’t find the supplied remote and can’t think of what to say to the soundbar via the voice control system.

A Sound Field button on the remote enables you to play music using a pseudo surround sound system, though of course, you can stick with pure stereo.

A voice mode is on hand to make dialogue easier to hear if you’re watching Tenet (other dialogue-hiding films are available), while a Night mode setting reduces the sound’s dynamic range and adjusts the overall sound balance so that you can still enjoy a good movie mix at relatively low volumes.

The RS3S rear speakers are optional extras for Sony's HT range of soundbars.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Connectivity is about what I’d expect of a £450 soundbar (though would have struck me as a bit underwhelming at its original £699 price). The main attraction is a single HDMI port equipped with eARC functionality, so that you can pass lossless multi-channel sound formats through the TV’s HDMI output to the soundbar.

There’s no second HDMI input though, so you can’t pass HDMI sources directly through the A3000. In a perfect world this wouldn’t matter, but I’ve experienced enough audio sync issues using eARC over the years to know that it’s not always the ideal only option for getting the highest quality audio formats into a soundbar.

Other connections include a USB service port, an optical digital audio input, and what Sony calls an S-Center output. This enables the soundbar and the speakers in compatible Sony TVs to function in tandem as just the centre channel in a wider multi-channel speaker system.

The SW3 subwoofer is an optional extra available for all of Sony's HT soundbar range.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The optional RS3S and SW3 rear and subwoofer speakers both connect with the main soundbar wirelessly, with the RS3S pair deploying separate woofer and tweeter components and adding another 50W for each speaker to the overall power, while the SW3 feeds up to 200W into a 160mm driver.

The subwoofer also carries a couple of Sony exclusive technologies: Magnetic force technology, which optimises the way voice coil is driven by the speaker’s magnetic control system, and Separated Notch Edge technology, where concentric notches scored into the outer edges of the driver help reduce the driver stress and, as a result, make bass sound cleaner.

Sound Quality

  • Excellent detail and staging
  • Full surround upgrade sounds excellent
  • Bass is a little light without the optional subwoofer

As the cheapest and smallest member of Sony’s current soundbar range, it’s only reasonable to expect that the A3000 won’t sound as big or dynamic as its more potent A5000 and A7000 siblings. The question is, just how much less powerful does it sound? Has it got enough power and projection to still give your TV the big audio boost you still want to hear for £449?

Starting with the A3000 by itself, without the optional extra rears and subwoofer, for the most part the answer is a comfortable yes. For starters, the sound is cast quite some distance from the soundbar, creating a wall of sound that extends to the left, right and even to some degree above the soundbar. It’s easy to forget that all this sound is coming from a single smallish bar under your TV.

Logos on the Sony HT-A3000 soundbar confirming its ability to decode the Dolby Atmos and DTS-X sound formats.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The height element isn’t as defined as it is on the step-up A5000 and A7000 Sony soundbars for the simple reason that unlike its step up siblings, the A3000 doesn’t carry any dedicated up-firing speakers. With the A3000 anything that appears above the horizontal level of the main left and right splay is being conjured up using the various Sony sound expansion/virtualiser technologies.

There is still actual clarity and some fairly precise detail positioning within the A3000’s vertical audio effect, though, despite the lack of dedicated up-firing speakers, making it one of the more effective virtual height systems I’ve heard at the sub-£500 soundbar level.

The soundbar is powerful enough to sustain its wide and high sound stage without it losing cohesion at its outer edges or sounding wishy washy or indistinct when there are a lot of audio objects and layers to handle at once. The clear, smooth way sounds transition across the front soundstage, in particular, reveals just how wide but also precise, clean and free of sound stage gaps the soundbar’s output is.

Vocals sit at the heart of the action without ever sounding overwhelmed by the scale of what’s going on around them. In fact, as well as always being very clear and natural, no matter whether a male or a female voice is speaking, voices also sound rich in context rather than over-exposed or excessively bright. Sony has added a slight vertical lift to vocals, too, so that they seem attached to the picture, rather than coming from the soundbar below your screen.

Close up showing the texture of the SW3 subwoofer's finish in contrast with its felt grille.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There isn’t as much scale, precision or dynamic range with the A3000 as you get from the A5000 and A7000. But this is inevitable – and crucially the A3000 does at least recognise its limitations and works within them, rather than trying too hard and succumbing to distortions, chassis buzzing or general sound mix balancing issues.

The A3000 doesn’t just sound good with film and TV soundtracks, either. It’s actually one of the most musical soundbars I’ve heard at its price level, staging stereo music with an impeccable sense of balance, detail, atmosphere, warmth and natural space. Vocals are particularly beautifully handled thanks to both their positioning at the heart of but just above the rest of the mix, and they always sound clear (rather than being dragged into sudden bursts of bass or shrill guitar) without sounding clinical or harsh.

The positioning of the dual subwoofers facing out from the front of the soundbar along with the other speakers seems to help bass achieve a strongly natural sense of relative depth, accurate crossover and perfect weighting with stereo music, too.

Of course, no £449 soundbar is going to be perfect, so I have managed to assemble a small collection of niggles about the A3000. First, while bass with stereo music is handled beautifully, low frequencies sound a little lightweight for big action movies. Bass is present, for sure, but it doesn’t hit the depths or heft needed to fully sell a good cinematic explosion or T-Rex footfall.

When using the soundbar by itself, movie soundtracks don’t push forward into your room enough to give you any sensation of being truly immersed in the heart of the sound stage, either. Though potent impact effects such as gunfire and punches are driven out with a reasonable amount of venom.

End detail of the Sony HT-A3000 soundbar, showing one of its two air-flow ports.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

If you play music using the Soundfield effect, while the soundstage becomes bigger and more room filling without losing cohesion or balance, vocals lose some of their clarity. Enough that personally I preferred to stick with the stereo setting. Music also needs to be played within a fairly specific volume range to stop it sounding either rather muted if it’s too quiet or a little strained if it’s too loud.

While I’ve focussed so far on the A3000 by itself because of how relatively expensive the optional RS3S rears and SW3 subwoofer are, both options help to take the soundbar’s performance to a much higher level.

The rear speakers obviously instantly add a surround sound dimension to the A3000 where there simply wasn’t one before. The quality of this surround experience is excellent, too, as the tone and volume levels of the rears tie in beautifully with the main A3000 bar’s sound, while delivering pristine and immaculately placed rear soundstage details.

They can start to sound a touch brittle when pushed really hard, and they don’t carry any physical up-firing drivers. They do play their part in improving the effectiveness of Sony’s 360 Spatial Mapping system, though, and their brittleness is only rarely exposed.

The SW3, meanwhile, handily solves the shortage of bass the A3000 suffers. Its presence greatly enhances the sense of scale of big-scale action scenes, and as with the rears, it adds its cinematic power without sounding detached from or tonally different to the sound of the main A3000 soundbar. Nor does it ever end up overwhelming any part of the A3000’s sound.

In fact, as with the rears the ease with which the SW3 integrates with the A3000 is a testament to just how effective Sony’s various audio processing systems have become at creating remarkably cohesive surround sound systems with minimal manual user effort required. It’s just a shame both the extras for the A3000 cost so much.

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Should you buy it?

You’ve not got much space

You’re looking for a compact, affordable single-bar solution that’s great for music as well as films.

You want to connect devices through it

You need an HDMI loop through, or you want a full surround sound plus subwoofer solution for less than a grand.

Final Thoughts

The Sony HT-A3000 is a good soundbar for its money. Its knack for detail and delivering a sound stage much larger than you would expect from such a compact unit combines with an ability to switch adeptly between movie and music purposes that’s rare indeed in the sub-£500 soundbar world.

It’s a little lacking in movie-grade bass in its solo form, though, and its connections are limited. Also, while it’s great that it offers upgrade options as impressively capable as the RS3S rears and SW3 subwoofer, the costs of those extras relative to the main soundbar unfortunately make it unlikely that many people will be able to take advantage of them.

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How we test

We test every soundbar we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested over a period of two weeks

Used extensively in real world settings with real world content


What are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X?

These are so-called object based audio systems that place sound effects into a three-dimensional space rather than effects just sounding as if they’re coming from the location of your speakers.

What is Sony’s 360 Spatial Mapping system?

This analyses your room and then uses Sony’s proprietary audio processing to create an array of virtual speakers around your room to create a larger, more immersive sound stage.

Is there an HDMI Loopthrough?

No, the A3000 does not allow you to connect an external device to it and pass the pictures on to your screen. You have to connect your devices directly to your TV, and use HDMI’s ARC or, better, eARC technology to pass high quality sound on to the soundbar.

Full specs

Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Sound Bar Channels
Audio (Power output)
Voice Assistant
Audio Formats
Rear Speaker

Jargon buster

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks by adding overhead channels. Sounds are referred to as “audio objects”, of which there can be up to 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ can be accurately positioned within a 3D soundscape. This allows soundtracks that support the technology to place sounds above and around the listener with compatible kit.


DTS:X is an object-based audio format created in 2015 for the home. The premise is similar to Dolby Atmos in that it creates a hemisphere of sound that’s more lifelike and natural in its presentation.

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