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
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.
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.
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)
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)