Sony HT-A5000 soundbar with SW5 and SA-RS5 review

The A9 love within the bar

from ₹ 1,38,980

For soundbar + SW5, additional ₹47,990 for SA-RS5

The spatial sound mapping that Sony cracked with the HT-A9 was revered as one of the easiest ways to get surround sound in your living room. The system cuts the clutter and the need for digging into your walls for wrapping your eardrums with quality audio at home. It’s monkey-easy to set up and does all the room calculations for the surround in less than a minute.

The HT-A5000 takes everything that made the HT-A9 special and puts it in a soundbar with easy-to-upgrade add-ons which only heightens the experience.


Unlike the HT-A9 which are four cylinder-shaped speakers that are meant to be placed in a box-shaped manner for the surround to take effect, the HT-A5000 soundbar has an old-school design and sits right below your telly. It has two up-firing speakers for overhead sound, two beam tweeters and three front speakers and a built-in subwoofer. Throw in the SA-SW 5 subwoofer (₹61,990) and the two SA-RS5 wireless rear speakers (₹47,990) and you’ve got one easy-to-assemble surround sound set up.

Each of these will require a separate power source. The SA-RS5 wireless speakers can work for up to 10 hours on an in-built battery but you might want to have a cable running to it regardless


360 Spatial Sound is Sony’s proprietary standard for enveloping your ears with pin-point surround audio. To get all these units working in unison, the speakers use microphones to detect the distance between the units and the surrounding walls to map out the best possible way to dip you in the 360 surround bubble. This method barely takes a minute and if you ever move the speakers around, the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping can be recalibrated without changing the surround characteristics.

This is also the easiest implementation of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X we’ve seen from out-of-box products. Unwrap, set up and get going. The Sony HT-A5000 makes Dolby Atmos movies an achievable option for any living room even if the asking price comes at a premium.

Any 5.1 surround-supported movies on Netflix and other streaming services work well. Godzilla vs. Kong fight scenes are thoroughly immersive. You can hear the jet fighters and missiles swooping across as if you’re sitting smack in the middle of the fight between the two monsters. The thunderous footsteps of Kong and Godzilla are impactful and precise from the SA-SW 5. 

However, the A5000 does lack a bit of clarity in the vocals. You have to really turn the volume up and over 60% to enjoy the symphony of the surround sound. Even the SA-RS5 rear speakers need to be turned all the way up to get some sense of directional audio. Thankfully the Sony soundbar remote allows you to individually tweak the output level of the subwoofer and the rear speakers. The soundbar itself is quite adequate but it’s only with the subwoofer and rear speakers that it truly starts to feel immersive.

The 360 Spatial Sound also depends on your room's acoustics because the speakers bounce off audio from the walls to produce surround sound with ‘phantom’ speakers. So not all spaces will bring out the full potential of these speakers. It helps to have your telly in a room with walls on all four sides. The speakers do manage to intelligently work around wider spaces and uneven wall distances but like all good things, this too needs to be enjoyed in a closed room.

Sony’s 360 audio goes by another name on the PlayStation. It’s called Tempest Audio and if you have a hard time finding scenes that make good use of surround sound, videogames are the perfect match to enjoy the room-filling sound of the Sony HT-A5000. The A5000 does have a sharper higher end and meaty lows which work best for games. The cockpit view in Dirt 5 will leave your ears absolutely delighted. The stone pelting on the underbelly of your car from the gravel tracks and the rear exhaust rumbling at the back. It’s here the A5000 feels extra special. You can even pinpoint arrows whizzing past your ears as you dodge enemy fire in the PlayStation 5-exclusive Horizon Forbidden West.

It’s only when you switch to movies, you notice the difference in the overall sonic presentation from the HT-A9 which has four identical speakers surrounding you. The Sony HT-A5000 and the SA-RS5 don’t produce as many phantom speakers. It’s still great but both systems have a similar price so that is something to consider.


The HT-A5000 also packs all the smarts you’d expect from a soundbar at this price. It has Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Bluetooth 5.0 and Spotify Connect. It also has HDMI 2.1 passthrough and uses AI to upscale your music with DSEE Extreme.

We wish it had a proper EQ in the settings but barring that, the HT-A5000 can stack up as one of the best soundbars especially when you consider how easy it is to upgrade with additional speakers. Even if the asking price is a wee bit higher, the Sony HT-A5000 and its satellite speakers pack an immersive experience for all couch potatoes.

Stuff Says

The HT-A5000 has a room-filling surround but only if you’re not obsessed with audiophile quality
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Rich surround sound

  1. Phantom speaker effect doesn't sound synthetic

  1. Feature-rich

  1. Expensive

  1. Vocals lack clarity

Config: 5.1.2ch, 9 speaker units
Format: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 360 Reality Audio, Hi-Res Audio
HDMI In/Out: 1 / 1 (eARC)
Smart connections: Airplay2, Spotify Connect
Voice Assistant: Google, Alexa