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When is a 3.1 soundbar Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible? As our AV expert Thomas Bartlett says, “When Sony uses psychoacoustic trickery”.

Sony 2020 – HT-G700 3.1 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

H7-G700
Yes – three speakers and a wireless subwoofer

Now, Thomas is not disparaging to Sony but what he has said in the past is that true Dolby Atmos is 5.1.2 (8-speakers) or 7.1.4 (12-speakers) and Sony simply does not have that many speakers or amps. In fact, Sony uses techniques to ‘hack listeners ears” – not literally – you think you hear a broader Atmos sound stage.

Sony HT-G700
And this may be all you need

What it means is that the HT-G700 can process Dolby Atmos or DTS:X and downmix to three speakers (although that is not quite the right word) the sound to present a faux (well pretty close) approximation of that.

It achieves the upwards (overhead) sound via its ‘Vertical Sound Engine’ and a wider sound stage via its ‘S-Force Pro front surround’.

Sony says, “Vertical Surround Engine is a highly precise digital sound field processing technology developed by Sony that produces the sound field in the height direction virtually in addition to a sound field in the horizontal direction by only using front speakers and without using top speakers.”.

When you want to enable psychoacoustic trickery use the AE (Audio Enhancement) button, and a Sony puts it “can upscale even regular stereo audio to 7.1.2 surround sound – so every TV show and movie gets the surround sound treatment.” We will reserve judgement until we review it.

But in Sony’s defence at $899 compared to competitors 5.1.2 and 7.1.4 offerings at double the price – near enough may be more than good enough. It has

  • 400W power into three speakers (3x100W) and the sub (100W)
  • 980 x 64 x 108mm x 3.5kg soundbar
  • 92 x 387 x 406mm x 7.5kg wireless subwoofer
  • HDMI In (one external source)
  • Optical In
  • HDMI Out (no version stated but supports pass-through Dolby Vision, CEC and eARC. Sony states use “Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable that supports 18 Gbps so its 2.0)
  • BT 5 receiver only (no Wi-Fi) SBC and AAC
  • Remote control
  • Wall mountable (keyhole slips over screw heads)
  • Website here

Again we look forward to reviewing what Sony likes to call, “Up to 7.1.2ch surround sound experience”.