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    Sony HT-G700 review: This Atmos- and DTS:X-enabled soundbar boasts a trifecta of virtual 3D modes, but no Wi-Fi

    Sony doubles down on virtualized 3D audio with the HT-G700, a 3.1-channel soundbar that may ship immersive 3D audio utilizing not one, not two, however three competing audio applied sciences. While it lacks the upfiring drivers that almost all Dolby Atmos- and DTS:X-enabled soundbars make use of for peak results, the HT-G700 simulates peak and encompass cues utilizing digital 3D options from Dolby, DTS, and Sony itself. The HT-G700 makes for a formidable showcase for the way far virtualized 3D audio has come in recent times, but it additionally betrays its weaknesses, notably in relation to Sony’s aggressive—maybe too aggressive—implementation.

    The HT-G700’s $500 price ticket would possibly sound attractive given its array of 3D audio performance, but it surely’s additionally lacking one enormous characteristic: a Wi-Fi adapter. That means most of the wi-fi capabilities we’ve come to anticipate from soundbars on this value vary—together with multi-room audio, AirPlay 2 or Chromecast connectivity, direct help for streaming music providers, and voice assistant help—are lacking.

    This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best soundbars, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to take into account when buying.

    Configuration

    A substitute for Sony’s 2.1-channel HT-X9000F, the HT-G700 arrives with extra energy than its predecessor (400 watts versus 300W for the X9000F), together with (in response to Sony) a wider sweetspot, a bigger subwoofer, and a brand new “Immersive AE” (Audio Enhancement) mode that’s able to upmixing 5.1 and even stereo audio to virtualized 7.1.2 audio.

    The Sony HT-G700 is a 3.1-channel soundbar, with a trio of 45 x 10mm oval-shaped cones in the principle unit for the left, proper, and heart channels (the “3” in “3.1”) and a wi-fi subwoofer with a 160mm cone for low-frequency results (the “.1”). Because the HT-G700 lacks the wi-fi capabilities of Sony’s pricier soundbars, it will probably’t be upgraded to a full-on 5.1-channel system utilizing a set of wi-fi encompass audio system; in different phrases, what you see (and listen to) is what you get.

    The HT-G700 helps 3D object-based sound codecs resembling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, but it surely doesn’t ship peak results with upfiring drivers that bounce pontificate your ceiling (which is itself a substitute for putting in audio system in your ceiling). Instead, it makes use of virtualization to trick your ears into pondering you’re listening to sound from above (to not point out from behind, or from the edges). The soundbar really helps three flavors of immersive 3D audio virtualization: Dolby Atmos with peak virtualization expertise, DTS Virtual:X, and Sony’s aforementioned Immersive AE, which employs a pair of different Sony audio applied sciences—Vertical Surround Engine for peak cues, and S-Force Pro for side-to-side encompass—to upmix 5.1 and even 2.0 audio to virtualized 7.1.2 sound.

    In common, digital 3D peak results lack the precision you’ll hear from these delivered by upfiring drivers (which, in flip, aren’t as exact as in-ceiling audio system), they usually may sound harsh and distractingly synthetic in the event that they’re utilized too aggressively. That mentioned, digital 3D sound presents a key profit over drivers that bounce pontificate the ceiling: its efficiency doesn’t depend upon the kind of ceiling you will have. To wring the very best sound out of upfiring drivers, Dolby recommends a flat ceiling between 7.5 and 14 toes peak, and vaulted ceilings merely received’t do. If the ceiling in your leisure room is simply too excessive, too low, or something apart from completely flat, digital 3D sound could be the best choice, shy of precise in-ceiling audio system.

    The Sony HT-G700’s primary soundbar unit measures 38.6 x 2.6 x 4.4 inches, making it considerably narrower than my 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV, with the soundbar barely grazing the underside fringe of the display from the vantage level of my front room couch. Meanwhile, the 7.6 x 15.25 x 16-inch wi-fi subwoofer (which isn’t actually wi-fi, because it requires an influence wire) is about as large and hulking as these that include competing soundbars.

    Setup

    The Sony HT-G700 takes solely minutes to arrange. You have the choice of putting it in entrance of your TV or mounting it on a wall beneath your TV; a wall mounting information is included, however no brackets or screws. I skipped the mounting course of and easily plunked the soundbar down in entrance of my TV set.

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