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29

3.9 based on 29 customer reviews

12
8
6
1
2
Sound Quality

Good

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

Please note: Some product variations and/or features mentioned within Product Reviews may not be available in all countries.

Most Helpful Positive
0

Traditional Surround

HTST5 23/07/2015 by Samueladanss (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I had a traditional surround sound system but my wife hated the wires. We recently purchased a 65'' 4k Sony tv and the sound bar. I was reluctant about the full experience of just the bar. When everything was hooked up and connected I was blown away at the sound quality, and that it ''talked'' to the tv. It gave full surround sound feeling in a compact bar. I definitely would recommend this to anyone that wants to cut the cords!

4

0

Most Helpful Critical
0

Underpowered Subwoofer

HTST5 02/03/2015 by Jerrymmm (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I like this sound bar but do not like the accompanying subwoofer. It is very soft and the ability to boost it relative to the rest of the sound is minimal. I assume most people would like a booming subwoofer and the ability to increase/decrease it based on personal taste. This one doesn't boom and even if you set it at the highest level it is hard to hear. Too bad because the sound bar is very nice and the blue tooth works well with my iPad and iPhone.

5

0

29 Customer Reviews

0

Not what I expected

HTST5 03/12/2017 by sakdrb (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

Although this is a great product for someone that does not have a sound system other then their TV, it is a step backwards for those that are replacing a true sound system.

Sound Quality

Average

Features

Average

Design

Good

Ease of Use

Good

0

0

Response From Sony North America Customer Support
04/12/2017

Hi sakdrb, Sony takes into consideration all feedback to improve the performance and quality of our products. We're always looking to make Sony better. We appreciate your time sharing this feedback. Thanks! _Bob

0

Excellent Soundbar, and affordable

HTST5 08/09/2016 by GEJF (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I really like how does it sound with my music, I played, classical, rock, and everything sounds wonderful

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

0

0

0

Solid choice

HTST5 31/07/2015 by bobcat0208 (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I've had a Bose lifestyle system, and wanted to get great sound, without all the clutter and cables. The Soundbar does a great job, though the quality isn't up to what my Bose was, but it's also a lot less clutter.

2

0

Response From SonySupport
02/08/2015

Hi bobcat0208,
Good to know that you are happy with your purchase!
Thank you for choosing Sony!

0

Traditional Surround

HTST5 23/07/2015 by Samueladanss (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I had a traditional surround sound system but my wife hated the wires. We recently purchased a 65'' 4k Sony tv and the sound bar. I was reluctant about the full experience of just the bar. When everything was hooked up and connected I was blown away at the sound quality, and that it ''talked'' to the tv. It gave full surround sound feeling in a compact bar. I definitely would recommend this to anyone that wants to cut the cords!

4

0

0

Good Value

HTST5 20/07/2015 by pixy (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

This sound bar offers very good sound quality for the price. The Pros: It has two HDMI input ports which allow connection to both a TV and a Blu-ray player. There is also a BluTooth setting. The subwoofer may be placed anywhere in the room and there are multiple subwoofer settings on the remote. The Cons: The subwoofer is not very powerful, but OK for a small room. This sound bar hides the TV remote on/off eye, so the TV signal doesn't connect using the TV remote. The Sony Soundbar Model HTST7 has an antenna to correct for this. Wish this also had an antenna.

4

0

Response From Sony Support
22/07/2015

Hello pixy! Thank you for sharing your feedback with us, We will make sure to pass this information regarding the design and output to the proper department for further review.

0

Excellent System for my new TV

HTST5 09/07/2015 by MrTopher (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I replaced a Bose sound system with the Sony SA ST5 sound bar and woofer, which gives me much better results. I actually get compliments from guests about the great sound coming from the TV. Couldn't be happier!

3

0

0

Great upgrade

HTST5 30/06/2015 by Mjgrego (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

This system replaced a 5.1 surround system (also Sony), but removed the headache of wired rear speakers and woofer. I put the system through a few of my favorite surround-friendly blu-ray movies and I was impressed. Definitely a good buy and upgrade.

3

0

0

HTST5

HTST5 09/06/2015 by tfisher (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

The sound bar itself sounds good but i am disappointed in the subwoofer. Not loud enough and not enough bass!

3

0

Response From Sony Support
10/06/2015

Hello tfisher! Thank you for sharing your feedback with us, we will pass this information to the proper department for future reference, also make sure that the SW volume is increased to playback bass sound and also keep in mind that when the input source does not contain much of bass sound, as is the case with most TV programs, the bass sound may not be audible.

0

Great Sound

HTST5 24/04/2015 by SBC1 (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

The sound is terrific. I am enjoying the different settings and the Blue tooth option is nice bonus. The set up was not as easy. As there are no instructions if you have to connect through your cable box and if your TV does not have an ARC connection. The other issues I cannot solve is that the sound is automatically muted when I turn on the TV. There seems to be delay with sound catching up with the picture when the system is powered on.

3

1

Response From SonySupport
27/04/2015

HI SBC1,
We're really glad to hear that you are already having a good time with your soundbar! Thank you for choosing Sony!

0

HTST5 15/04/2015 by Chebudda (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

It's fantastic when it works well but mine was defective, and when I sent it for repair it still came back with the same problem

4

0

Response From SonySupport
17/04/2015

Hi Chebudda,
We appreciate bringing this to our attention and we are more than happy to take a look on this matter.

0

Great sound, but has sound lag

HTST5 09/04/2015 by Ichiji (USA)

Sound is great, with nice setting flexibility. TV has minor sound lag, but streaming has very noticeable lag.

4

0

Response From SonySupport
12/04/2015

Hi Ichiji,
We appreciate bringing this to our attention and we are more than happy to take a look on this matter. Thank you for choosing Sony.

0

Underpowered Subwoofer

HTST5 02/03/2015 by Jerrymmm (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I like this sound bar but do not like the accompanying subwoofer. It is very soft and the ability to boost it relative to the rest of the sound is minimal. I assume most people would like a booming subwoofer and the ability to increase/decrease it based on personal taste. This one doesn't boom and even if you set it at the highest level it is hard to hear. Too bad because the sound bar is very nice and the blue tooth works well with my iPad and iPhone.

5

0

Response From Sony Support
03/03/2015

Hello Jerrymmm! Thank you for sharing your experience with this unit, we will forward this information to the proper department for further review. We would like to also recommend to check through the menu that the LEVEL setting called DRC (Dynamic range control) is set to OFF and to test audio output again for quality.

0

nice components except the remote

HTST5 27/02/2015 by digitalrat13 (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

the sound bar sets up quickly and easily (although it did take a few attempts to sync the sound bar with the bass module) and both of those pieces have a nice, solid quality feel to them. the manuals could have been laid out better (the instructions for syncing the wireless bass module should have been in the start up guide, rather than having to hunt through both manuals only to find it on page 9 of the operations manual). the plastic remote feels like a cheap toy and is extremely flimsy when you extend it to access the internal controls (like for syncing the bass module). for the price point of this product, it should have been engineered better. I'm also not a fan of the finish on the remote. why sony continues to produce items with a glossy black finish that ends up looking filthy the moment you touch them is beyond me (the top and bottom of the remote are matte, but the sides of the remote have a high gloss finish). overall, it's a nice product and definitely suits my needs and an upgrade to the remote would have earned 5 stars.

4

0

Response From Sony Support
03/03/2015

Hello digitalrat13! Thank you for your feedback, we will forward this information to the proper department for further review.

0

excellent sound, full but not surround

HTST5 29/01/2015 by Rambocat (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

You need to play with the unit to find the appropriate settings for your taste. I have a large room two story ceiling and keeps going into an open kitchen. So simulated surround sound probably does not have the necessary walls to perform. It is plenty loud depending on your feed. Base is good, but not teenage dish shaking. Very good "Movie 1" mode for a full room of sound when watching TV. Music needs to be on music mode. May lack real deep base, but it is plenty loud. If you have Direct TV try music channel 851. Even if not a Jazz fan gives you the crisp sound quality. Nice piece of equipment for what it is intended to be used for.

5

1

0

Works Great

HTST5 10/01/2015 by DannyTurr (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

It works fine, but not with the Sony Receiver that I bought, check with Sony before you buy, they won't tell you!!

0

2

Response From SonySupport
17/01/2015

Hi Danny, sorry to hear this. Can you give us more info on the issue. Thanks -Vincent

0

NOT IMPRESSED

HTST5 10/01/2015 by Carnaz (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

It takes 20 sec. to hear it, after you turn the TV on. I even paid SONY to have it installed.

1

5

Response From SonySupport
12/01/2015

Hi Carnaz,
Please try to connect the SoundBar from another source like music players and check if you're having the same result. You may also try different connection because this SoundBar can support HDMI, DIGITAL OPTICAL and ANALOG connections. Thanks.

0

Remote Control Device is HORRIBLE

HTST5 08/01/2015 by UnhappyRemote (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

We received this as an early Christmas gift in December. In the short time that we have owned this sound bar, within 2 - 24 hours of placing batteries in the remote control, they cease working. We have been thru numerous batteries (which, by the way, are all recently purchased) in the past few weeks. This is absolutely unacceptable. Please provide us with a resolution strategy in order that we don't have to return the sound bar....which we do not want to do.

0

4

Response From SonySupport
11/01/2015

Hi UnhappyRemote,
We appreciate bringing this to our attention and we are more than happy to take a look on this matter. Please reach us out at socialsupport@am.sony.com. Let us see what we can do to help you. Thanks.

0

Sony ht-st 5

HTST5 27/12/2014 by JCNY (USA)

This sound bar has it's good and bad points - the good: streaming music through this sounds amazing, movies sound full - The not so good: watching tv shows on this sounds thin and flat - you really notice this when using the sound bar at low volumes - this sound bar is well made, but don't be fooled, it does not create a true 7.1 surround sound like a real 7.1 system would.

1

2

0

Brings the TV to life

HTST5 27/12/2014 by Luke2006 (USA)

I replaced an older sound system that I always thought had good sound but I wanted to hide the sub woofer and eliminate some wires to which the new soundbar did that and I also gained superior sound.

2

0

0

Sound bar revitalized my 7 year old LCD Sony tv

HTST5 20/12/2014 by LDF99 (USA)

My Sony KVL46W3000 TV is 7 years old but works great except for sound quality. This sound bar was a perfect upgrade that allowed me to keep using this Sony TV. When the time comes to upgrade the TV this sound bar will be a great addition to that TV

1

0

0

not impressed

HTST5 09/12/2014 by mfe1 (USA)

not easy to understand the control bar , the bass may as well not even be there

7

3

0

Incredible

HTST5 09/12/2014  (USA)

One word...INCREDIBLE. Okay, Okay, just a little more to say. It may not be like ridiculously BOOMING but it is loud enough and very clear to hear. I also like the different sound formats. Really easy to plug and play.

1

0

0

Excelle

HTST5 01/12/2014 by Vose (USA)

Theatre quality sound and easy to set up.

0

1

0

Perfect Choice for Me.

HTST5 01/12/2014 by Itsasuma (USA)

Purchased SONY 27-HTST5 Internet. Sony had great communication via email after order. Good follow up on delivery advice. Extremely fast delivery under standard delivery. Arrived in Perfect condition. Unit installed with one optical cable connection to my Sony Smart TV. Woofer is wireless except for 110 V electrical outlet. Sounds great for our room which is high ceiling. Guests have commented favorably as well. You may spend more but this model was my choice and I am extremely pleased start to finish.

1

1

0

The New Standard for Audio in my Home

HTST5 03/09/2014 by Multimediographer (USA)

Over the past few years I’ve been in the process of building the “perfect podcasters studio” in my home office. The latest addition to my set-up is the Sony HT-ST5 sound bar. I’ve never owned any sound bar prior to this one so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of sound quality. Especially considering the sleek low-profile size of the unit. I’ve grown up thinking big speakers mean big sound, right? Wrong. I own several Sony products, so I was certain build quality wouldn’t be an issue, but the idea that cinema quality sound could come out of a device that occupies such a relatively small footprint made me very skeptical. Also, in my livingroom I have a full 5:1 premium built-in sound system. My thinking was — how could this thing ever compare? In short, it did more than just compare. It made me really question the expense I incurred by getting that built in system. THE BOX! TETRIS IN THE HOUSE! The unit showed up in a box that looked like a “Tetris” piece. The box is an “L” shape, to accommodate both the oblong sound bar as well as the square-ish subwoofer. The box was a bit heavy, but even though the packaging indicated that it should be handled by two people, I was able to easily move it around by myself. THE MARINADE After the box arrived, I let the box sit, sealed, in my office for a few days. I was waiting until I had a good amount of time to dedicate to getting it all wired and configured in my home office. And I just “knew” a trip to Best Buy was in my future to snag some essential missing cable or something. Thankfully, none of this was the case. THE SET-UP Sony packaged the device very well, but it was easy enough to open and unpack. In fact, I had the unit out of the box and sitting on the floor waiting for installation in about 5 minutes. From there, it was really “scarily” simple to set up. The configuration essentially consisted of this; 1. unbox the unit, 2. put it on my desk and plug it in, 3. connect the audio input, 4. plug in the subwoofer. 5. play some music and sit back and listen. I can’t stress enough that there was pretty much ZERO configuration with this device. Setting it up really only consisted of plugging it in. And the wireless subwoofer made my day. No pairing, no hassle, no nothing… I just plugged it in and turned it on. The sound bar automatically found the sub and everything just… worked. This is how technology should work. THE REMOTE AND ENERGY SAVING The remote control is delightfully simple with just a few buttons to operate it, and the sound bar automatically powers itself off after a period of dormancy. I do wish that it would auto detect an incoming audio signal and turn itself on as well, but it doesn’t. Once it goes to sleep, a trip to the tiny remote control is in order to power it back on. But it boots up within a few seconds and is ready for action. SOUND QUALITY In a word, WOW. For context, this device replaced a set of M-Audio AV-40 monitor speakers that I had connected to my Mac. These speakers sounded just fine, but lacked the low frequencies. Meaning podcasts, Skype calls and Google+ Hangouts sounded just fine, but the lower frequencies present in music and other audio were almost non-existent. Conversely, the audio out of the Sony HT-ST5 sound bar blew my socks off. The bass response is outstanding, with crisp highs and clear mid tones. My podcast studio finally sounds like an actual studio. THE BOTTOM LINE My eyes have been opened to the quality possible from the Sony sound bar line up. It’s simply amazing that such rich and cinematic sound can come from such a sleek and low profile device. I’m now planning on purchasing one for the master bedroom. And have cancelled plans to have built-in speakers installed in the ceiling. I realize I’m using this device somewhat outside of its intended purpose (home theater), but if Sony hasn’t considered the home office/studio as a possible use case, it should. The Sony HT-ST5 sound bar has added a depth of sound quality to my office that I had not previously thought possible… especially not at this price. I highly recommend the Sony HT-ST5 sound bar to anyone looking for premium sound — in any room.

26

2

0

Premium Sound!

HTST5 03/09/2014 by samtheman2013 (USA)

I researched quite extensively for currently available sound bars. The Sony HT-ST7 came in at number 1. The HT-ST5 (this model) is the younger brother and is about 300$ cheaper. However the HT-ST5 still is of premium quality although the max sound/bass is lower than the HT-ST7. This is a great looking device with premium quality brushed metal look. Comparing the HT-ST7 to much more expensive(about 500-700$ more) Sonos, Definitive Technology and Bowers and Wilkins etc. the Sony just blew them away. The HT-ST5 also comes in very close to performing at the same levels as these other sound bars I mentioned (the price difference is even bigger then as the HT-ST5 is cheaper than the HT-ST7). The quality of music is unbelievable and does not get distorted at the max volume. I also have a Pioneer Amplifier (7.1 channel) and a Harmon Kardon Speaker system (8 speakers in total). This system is my main Home Theater and it is a mid-range system. So I cannot compare that system with the Sony HT-ST5 as it would not be fair for the HT-ST5. However if you are looking for a sound bar that is extremely easy to setup with very good sound then the HT-ST5 is what you are looking for. Setting up the system was a breeze (compared to my existing 8 speaker home theater). All you need is to connect two HDMI cables - one from your Blue Ray Player (IN) and then then the other to your TV (OUT). The Wireless Sub-Woofer connected easily as well (although I had to use the setup menu to do this as I have a lot of other wireless devices in my house). The good thing is that Sony provides their own Wireless connectivity with the bar to the sub-woofer so that they do not interfere with your other wireless connections (and they have two frequencies you can use). When you turn on the sound bar the sub-woofer turns on automatically as well. I also connected my Android phone (Sony Xperia Z1) and a IPAD and an IPOD thru the Blue Tooth audio. The sound was excellent! The NFC function (touching my phone to the sound bar) worked without any issues and right away and they connected in about 2 seconds. Something to note is the higher price of this Sound Bar compared to others like Samsung, LG (or Sony's own 2.1 channel systems) etc. You need to keep in mind that those systems are 2.1 channel (not 7.1 channel) so there is a big difference in the sound quality especially when watching movies. I really have to emphasize that the HT-ST5 and it's bigger brother HT-ST7 really blows all other sound bars away! The Remote is compact and easy to use. However several other reviewers for HT-ST7 have complained about the remote as not having dedicated buttons for Inputs or being lighted at night. (note that the HT-ST5 remote is the same as HT-ST7) Although I agree with those reviews, you could just download the Songpal App and that would solve all those issues. I just used my Xperia phone with SongPal and it is a great app to use and then you don't need the Remote and it has more functions on this App compared to the Remote. An added feature is that when the Phone connects over Blue Tooth the Sound Bar gets turned on automatically if you have this setting turned on in the App. Below are some items that I ran across: 1) Although set up is very simple, the HDMI inputs are in a confined space at the back of the unit. If you have big Monster HDMI cables and have big hands it was a bit annoying. They need to increase this space or just have the cables plugin directly in the back instead of sideways (I guess they designed it this way for wall mounting) 2) The surround sound is simulated so it won't be as good as a mid/high-range more expensive real home theater system (i.e. 8 speakers like I mentioned above). This is understandable as this is only a sound bar. But for a Sound Bar Sony has done an excellent job. 3) I could not find the SongPal App in Apple App store. However was able to find it in Google Play for Android. 4) Sony had some kind of a Tag/Sticker on the Sound Bar and it is glued heavily. That took the most of the time for the setup to take it off! 5) Had an issue with one Blue Ray movie (Indiana Jones - Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) where the movie would not display properly on the TV (Although it will when going thru my Pioneer Amp). The colors were distorted. However I think this is due to an issue with my older TV being 1080i and not 1080p. I would recommend this Sound Bar without any hesitation! You won't be disappointed!

20

3

0

Excellent + stylish upgrade from previous setup

HTST5 02/09/2014 by DianaElizabeth (USA)

Previous surround sound set up (might be similar to yours): Power plug from wall to Subwoofer --> Subwoofer cable to Receiver (Disc player/Radio) AND small speakers with thin wires --> Receiver cable to TV. Lots of cables everywhere, all nestled by the TV as all must be connected. For reference - my TV is 46" and it is perfect size where it matches the length of the sound bar. POSITIVES: > Less wires. Sound Bar cables - (1) optical out to TV, (2) HDMI cable to Receiver (disc player/etc), (3) power outlet. Much simpler, I was looking for a better solution. > Subwoofer plugged in anywhere in the room (can be hidden) and is wireless. > Different settings for what you are watching - game, movie, football, etc. A TO NOTE: > If updating from something similar to my previous surround sound set up, you will need a new DVD/Radio Receiver since mine was ancient and had no HDMI or power outlet. > Connecting from a smartphone/tablet, you switch on Bluetooth - setting BT AU to sync. Will prompt you to download a free App (instructions in manual). Once set up I didn't know how to play the music, hitting all kinds of buttons, essentially the App just allows you to use your smartphone as a remote (but couldn't make it play from my iTunes). Use the hand remote and hit "BT AU" once again for the speakers and it will play. Careful on sound settings on your iPhone and speakers, I almost blew my ear drums out. > In future to play songs from smart phone/tablet turn on sound bar "BT AU" so it's on, and connect bluetooth (select device) and play iTunes. This is my first experience with a sound bar. I do enjoy that subwoofer no longer needs to sit by the TV (again, my previous set up was probably 6+ years old). The only reason for 4 instead of 5 would be the size (and , but again, I'm not sure if it would be possible for a sound bar to be slimmer. I enjoy this view better than all the dated speakers I had before.

6

1

0

Good Choice For Movies! Not As Much For Music

HTST5 01/09/2014 by sandiegodom (USA)

This was my first experience with a sound bar as my home reference system is based on a traditional 5.1 speaker configuration. I was very curious to see how convincingly the surround sound experience could be recreated using a single array. DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY The industrial design with gracefully angled corners is clean, sleek and attractive. A painted aluminum finish and metal grill are high-end to the touch. There is no on-screen display to the monitor output so status and setup is accomplished through a L.E.D. array behind the grill. This mostly works and can be dimmed or turned off so as not to interfere with viewing in a dimly lit environment. The subwoofer, on the other hand, could benefit from the design cues of the sound bar. The enclosure is a standard (and somewhat tall) rectangular box with a cloth grill. I would have preferred that the enclosure echo the angled designs of the sound bar to communicate that the units are part of the same package. Add a metal grill to the sub and the entire affair would have a visually cohesive, premium look and feel. SETUP Anyone who has spent time prying up their carpet to hide speaker cables will appreciate the simplicity of a single driver array and a wireless sub. Having done the carpet thing before, I’m not sure how much more simple the HT-ST5 set-up process could have been. If you have a location to place the sound bar that does not involve mounting it on a wall you can literally have the system up and running in less than10 minutes. CONTROL The system can be controlled using the supplied infrared remote control or through the SongPlay app available for iOS and Android. I was actually quite happy with the IR remote as it’s a departure from the typical crowded Sony remote surface. Commonly used functions are on the main surface and by sliding down the body of the remote, secondary function are available. My only complaint here is that there is no backlighting on the keys making them difficult to read in a dim environment. Going back to the lack of an on-screen display, secondary set-up functions are configured using buttons inside of the remote. Most of the selections require you to ‘arrow’ through a list of options, but there is no wrap around. So once you get to the end of the list you have to arrow back through the list to get to the first option again. The SongPlay app will control the HT-ST5 but seems to make the most sense when streaming through Bluetooth. The app is actually a Bluetooth ‘conduit’ for routing the sound from other apps through the HT-ST5. For example you can route Spotify, Pandora, the Walkman app (come on Sony, time to change the name), YouTube or any other media app through SongPlay and it will send that app’s sound (not picture) to the sound bar. Here’s where it can be a bit tricky. You set your steaming apps in SongPlay and from that point forward they appear as selectable icons inside of the app. Once you press the desired icon SongPlay prepares to route the app’s sound to Bluetooth and then switches to that app for song selection. Where this switching back and forth gets irritating is on the Tablet Z. The SongPlay app defaults to a horizontal screen orientation, whereas for example, Walkman and Spotify default to vertical orientations. So on the tablet not only do you get the switch between apps you also get the screen orientation ‘swirl’ at the same time. I don’t see a reason why the SongPlay app could not default to a vertical orientation. CONNECTIVITY Besides Bluetooth there is no other data connectivity to the unit (i.e. Wi-Fi, USB). Wi-Fi connectivity along with a few key built-in apps (Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify) would truly make this an all-in-one system. Also without Wi-Fi or USB there does not seem to be the possibility of firmware updates. SOUND QUALITY I auditioned the HT-ST5 with the sound bar placed directly below my TV and the sub on the same plane about three feet to the side. The source material for the surround portion of the demo was Star Trek Into Darkness in 7.1 surround. You get an assortment of stereo effects, wide dynamic range and surround within the first 8 minutes of this movie – perfect for testing! I configured my Blu-ray player to simultaneously feed my reference system and the sound bar allowing instantaneous A/B comparison. I used the standard HT-ST5 surround and voice settings for movies. The sound bar and sub blend seamlessly. I will say that the bottom end as well as the articulate, detailed highs immediately impressed me. The front stereo/surround image was expansive and in fact seemed to wrap around the viewing area. Surprisingly the subwoofer is an acoustic suspension design and there is plenty of tight, good quality bass to go around. Early in the movie a volcano begins to loudly erupt and the little 7” driver handled the dynamic range and lows admirably – even in relative comparison to my reference sub. (Incidentally the subwoofer produced low, though audible output down to 30 Hz – impressive for its driver size). However during A/B comparisons I did notice several points worth mentioning. While the sound bar does a great job of creating a larger than normal sound field, purist will likely miss actually hearing the effects that have been place in the rear…actually play from the rear. For example, in another section of the test movie on my reference system it was possible to hear the ships engines in the rear or laser blasts starting in the rear and ending up in the front. This yielded a more life-like experience. But there is a more significant flaw. With very little setup, a quick spectrum analysis revealed relatively flat response all the way until the usual roll-off in the lower frequencies. The problem? Flat response is a good place to start but it is not as pleasant to listen to. As a result during movie viewing male voices sounded thinner and slightly tinny. This was less noticeable on female voices but the harshness was still present. When playing back Bluetooth sources using the recommend surround settings the problem was still there. Next I connected my reference SACD player and auditioned Diane Schuurs “In Tribute” as well as Arctic Monkeys “Favourite Worst Nightmare. Same results on both – detailed highs, tight lower bass and what sounded like a hole in the mid bass. No matter how much I manipulated sound fields or changed the subwoofer volume I was never able to satisfying fill in the ‘missing’ bass. The closest I got to reducing the harshness was playing back mp3 tracks via Bluetooth and setting the iPhone’s built in equalizer to ‘Bass Booster.’ Finally the sound bar was sonically everything I was hoping it would be. CONCLUSION Generally the HT-ST5 is very well engineered, attractively designed and ridiculously easy to set up. For watching movies I think it very much accomplishes its intended purpose. With so much surround information present the thinner vocals are less of a distraction. Again, though, with strictly musical sources I feel the inability to customize the frequency response may cause problems for the more discriminating. The HT-ST5 is perfect as a no-hassles surround system for a second room/bedroom. It will also work great in apartments where space is at a premium. If you are feeling generous and have college aged kids they’d love something like this to keep the party going in their dorm room. If used for movies primary and casual listening at a distant second this really is all you need. However if your music is as important as your movies you will have to look elsewhere.

12

1

0

HIGH TIME WE UPGRADED OUR SOUND

HTST5 31/08/2014 by BeJay2 (USA)

Over the years we’d gotten comfortable with what we had in place — know what I mean? Our living room has an L-shaped sectional couch at its focal point so that’s where we had placed an antique armoire – to hold and to hide our entertainment components. Then two years ago we swapped our older technology TV for a 46-inch Full HD 3D-capable LED unit and a new Blue-ray 3D DVD player. They fit inside that armoire along with our old sound system, which was a circa-2000 Amplifier/6-CD/AM&FM Radio music center with a wired subwoofer and pair of duplexed micro cube speakers…. After a while our new components revealed how outdated our sound system actually was; besides, it didn’t do surround sound, etc.… The question then became what to replace it with that had: quality sound; was flexible enough to connect with many devices; and looked good in our living room (that is, fit without showing). We were drawn toward the compactness and ease of installation of a high-quality sound bar rather than discrete components. We had looked at several models, including Sony’s top-of-the-line HT-ST7 Sound Bar and we had liked its premium sound and capabilities. So, when Sony’s brand new HT-ST5 Sound Bar recently became available it gave consumers like us the option of a premium device at a lower price point but still delivered ST7-like sound quality and features. Frankly, we couldn’t hear the difference. Checking the HT-ST5’s specs, it had more than enough power (380W) for our 13ft x 23ft living room with 8ft ceiling; 7.1 channel surround sound; 7 mid-range, 2 tweeters and a sealed subwoofer; and several HDMI 2.0 inputs for our LED TV, Verizon FIOS cable box, and our Blue-ray DVD player. Perfect! The HT-ST5 arrived in a sturdy L-shaped foam-padded carton. Installation was as straightforward as expected using an included optical cable and two HDMI cables that we already had. The HT-ST5 fit neatly into our armoire two shelves below the HD LED TV (see photo), so we don’t need to use the built-in IR repeater. The unit has removable rubber feet that tilt it upwards about 30 degrees, which seems to maximize the sound path for our particular layout. And the subwoofer, being wireless, was easily stashed out of sight behind our couch. The sound bar and the subwoofer paired automatically – no muss, no fuss. The HT-ST5 installation actually took less time than it took to dismantle and set aside our old equipment and cabling! We’ve been enjoying the HT-ST5 and we don’t miss our old component system. In fact, we are astonished by the presence and clarity of Sony’s theater-like surround sound in our space. [We’ll leave it for technical reviewers to compare arcane specs like S Force Pro Front Surround, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, aptX and AAC codecs, and stuff like that.] We can hear the difference compared with our old system: cable channels, streamed movies, DVDs, and even our legacy collection of classical music CDs are more satisfying and enjoyable now – it’s as if our entertainment center has, well, come alive! Speaking of “hearing”, one feature that we had under-estimated on the HT-ST5 is Sony’s three Voice settings for dialogue clarity – it really does help eliminate those dreaded “Honey, what did they just say?” They are in addition to seven levels of Sound Field settings (Standard, Movie1, Movie2, Music, Game, Football, and Clear Audio+), which are convenient presets of equalizer and other settings. The HT-ST5 is now the hub of our entertainment system. We’re still trying out the HT-ST5’s many settings and exploring all the options so our listening experience is actually getting even better as we learn to tweak it. That said, if there is anything we wished Sony had done differently with this product it would be around the Startup Guide and User Manual – they ought to be more user friendly and in-depth. Perhaps coupled with a set-up video? Sony’s engineers also included NFC (Near Field Connectivity) for devices with that level of Bluetooth technology. I’m a fan of NFC, I already use NFC to pair my Xperia Tablet Z with my RX100/II Cyber-shot digital camera, so connecting this sound bar with my tablet was a snap – just press the unit’s Pairing button and “tap” their NFC logos together to connect. Also installed Sony’s free SongPal™ app on the Tablet Z to navigate content, control the Sound Bar (see photo), and stream the tablet’s audio output. However, we are quite comfortable using the neat little remote and its “hidden” buttons. There’s even a button to dim/turn-off the HT-ST5’s front panel display to enhance the mood – I kid you not. So, if you are also looking for a premium sound bar in the $1K price band, I can heartily recommend purchasing an HT-ST5. Then pour a glass of your favorite beverage, sit back, and enjoy the thrilling sound of this remarkable new sound bar. Cheers, Sony.

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