Sony HT-G700 review: Room-filling sound at a premium price

Dolby Atmos soundbars have been about for a couple decades but remained a reasonably niche product or service till now. Big firms these kinds of as Sonos and JBL, have only just announced their initial Atmos products in 2020, when other manufacturers simply offer Dolby “compatibility”. The Sony HT-G700 is unconventional in this regard — it is in a position to decode Dolby Atmos from appropriate devices but not in a position to bodily recreate it. This is a strictly three.one-channel soundbar, with no true rears or height speakers and no capacity to include them later on. As a substitute it simulates each height and encompass effects from the Atmos stream, and does a damn high-quality occupation.

Like

  • Fantastic audio with films and audio
  • Twin HDMI inputs, one with eARC
  • Wireless subwoofer

Really don’t Like

  • Rather highly-priced
  • Can’t recreate genuine Atmos effects
  • No expandability
  • Lacks Wi-Fi streaming

Sony has been employing this type of electrickery for a when, most not long ago with 360 Truth Audio on the Amazon Echo Studio, and the HT-G700 demonstrates the company’s deep know-how. This soundbar won’t give you pinpoint accuracy like a genuine Atmos rig but it is wonderful at generating a perception of room that fills your home. The issue for Sony, on the other hand, is the existence of capable Atmos speakers these kinds of as the Vizio SB36512-F6 and LG SL9YG ($540 at Amazon) that price the same or even considerably less when managing to involve true height and rear-channel speakers.

If you don’t want a living home-entire of speakers, on the other hand, the G700 is effortless to established up and sounds wonderful. I only would like the function depend was a small extra generous for the value.

Sony HT-G700

Ty.Pendlebury

Structure and features

The HT-G700 is a soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo which guarantees up to 7.one.two channel encompass audio in accordance to Sony’s advertising. In actuality most of all those channels are emulated and not genuine Atmos encompass audio — the bar has neither upfiring speakers nor rears. It only has three.one channels well worth of true speaker. 

Even so it manages to outdo competing $seven hundred-in addition all-in-one products like the Sonos Arc and the Bose Soundbar seven hundred in one vital regard: the addition of the wireless sub. Sony suggests the sub is larger than the the one on the model it replaces — the X9000F. It really is the dimension of a significant briefcase and will come with a entrance-firing port to assist placement in opposition to a wall. 

The soundbar alone is a grey slab which is roughly 39 inches vast and two and 5-eighth inches higher. It delivers top rated-mounted controls which include input choice and volume. It also will come with a blue LED show at the entrance of the unit. 

Inputs involve an HDMI in, a different HDMI ARC/eARC output, electronic optical, Bluetooth and USB. Unlike the Sonos Arc the different HDMI in presents you extra versatility in the devices you can use — for instance you won’t want a new Tv in buy to hear Dolby Atmos streams from a 4K Blu-ray.  

Sony HT-G700

Ty.Pendlebury

Audio processing is one of the principal drawcards of this product or service. Together with each Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding the Sony delivers a number of fantastic presets which include committed Cinema and New music modes employing Sony’s Vertical Encompass Motor. It really is simulated audio of program — getting a three.one-channel method — but it leverages engineering related to what the organization has applied in soundbars these kinds of as the HT-S5000 and the STR-DN1080 ($five hundred at Best Get) (a function then named, I child you not, Center Speaker Carry Up).

The remote management is a slender candybar and is the sole way to management most of the soundbar’s features. It fit nicely in my hand and all the buttons were inside of effortless get to.

Sony HT-G700

Ty.Pendlebury

Set your face to pleasurable

When you layout a speaker which is only two inches higher it will come with some sonic shortcomings — ordinarily a throaty, boxy audio. Some firms like to compensate by generating the audio brighter, almost to the position of distraction, but not Sony. I discovered the audio could be a small hemmed in, which actually satisfies most audio playback, but hitting the Cinema preset unlocked the sonic fairground ride.

While the Sony HT-G700 can’t do “good” Atmos it was capable of a truly entertaining functionality. Actively playing the Thanator Chase scene from Avatar in Cinema mode seriously opened up the audio and manufactured it pull forward of the more cost-effective JBL Bar two.one Deep Bass. The jungle came alive and the Sony punched the bass effects home — from the thump of the elephant-like Hammerhead Titanothere to the tough hits of Jake’s equipment gun. The JBL was pleasant but didn’t make the leap from the monitor in the same way. 

With a movie like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse I read convincingly enveloping effects. It brought to thoughts the extra highly-priced HT-S5000 at instances, with its capacity to toss its voice into destinations that make you feel there are speakers there. When I played Mad Max Fury Highway there was a spaciousness in the opening. There was width also and the ominous voices were capturing out of the eaves in my home.

Sony HT-G700

Ty.Pendlebury

I in contrast the Sony with the more cost-effective JBL two.one Bar for audio. While the JBL sounded extra open up, it was also also dazzling. It was also tough to pay attention to in the initial couple bars of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, but was greater well balanced the moment the bass guitar kicked in. The Sony was substantially extra pleasurable to pay attention to. Equally, the Sony exhibited a certain boxiness with male vocals these kinds of as Hearts a Mess by Gotye but it however had my toe tapping in time. Female vocals were not an difficulty.

I don’t have access to CNET’s audio lab thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, so I was not in a position to hear the Sony alongside the Vizio SB36512-F6, my favourite Atmos bar for the dollars. I experience that in a direct contest, the Sony could have a sonic edge even if it can’t do true Atmos. The Sony is extra versatile, specifically in its capacity to audio fantastic with each audio and films. The Vizio has extra features, but will not audio that wonderful with audio.

Need to you purchase it?

The principal challenges prospective Sony buyers want to weigh are that the HT-G700 charges $a hundred extra than the Vizio SB36512-F6 ($462 at Amazon) bar and it will not offer the same degree of features, precisely “genuine” Dolby Atmos playback. If you can get in excess of that, the Sony delivers fantastic audio without having necessitating a bunch of extra speakers, which is a big in addition. An additional reward is the all-vital 2nd HDMI input, which the forthcoming Sonos Arc lacks.