Three models were unveiled during the presentation of the Japanese brand at CES in Las Vegas: the HT-MT300, MT500-HT, and HT-ST1500.
While the first two are biased to the discretion and compactness, the last out all the stops by offering a virtual experience Dolby Atmos 7.1.2.
Let’s start by both compact bar dubbed HT-MT300 and MT500. These two new models adopt a very simple design that seeks greater discretion under the TV.
They are accompanied by a wireless subwoofer that can be placed next to the TV stand or, more surprisingly, under the sofa or side.
For this, Sony announced a special mode sofa (Sofa Mode) which would better perceive low frequencies when the subwoofer is placed in this way.
We will wait to see this mode in action to draw an objective analysis.
Both sound bars also take advantage of a technology called S-Force Pro Front Surround, which would improve its films and the atmosphere with only a 2.1 Surround broadcast.
The MT300 and MT500 are widely covered with a textured leather coating and protected by a metal front grille. Control can be via a touch panel or via the supplied remote.
Sold at around € 300 in March, the MT300 also in the simplicity in terms of connectivity and features. It only includes the Bluetooth (SBC and NFC) for wireless and USB port for audio file playback (not Hi-Res), a Toslink optical input and a mini-jack input 3.5mm wired.
Wi-Fi, it is not compatible with the multiroom sound ecosystem of Sony and can not benefit from the networking capabilities (services streaming online, DLNA …). Moreover, its sound modes are limited to night modes, Voice Up, Clearaudio +, the EQ EQ Film and Music.
Investment examples subwoofer by Sony. The sound bars are also available in anthracite black.
The MT500, it is much more complete than his little sister and will be sold at around € 600 in March. Wi-Fi is found there, which opens many doors: the multiroom (the possibility of a wireless surround sound and remote controls with the app SongPal Link), DLNA, access to services streaming, integration Chromecast and compatibility with Spotify Connect.
Besides, a button is specially dedicated to it to automatically play the last song played on the platform. Bluetooth is also interesting, with the LDAC compatibility, AAC, and SBC, but no aptX. The wired connection hosts an HDMI ARC.
The MT500 is also compatible with Dolby Digital bitstream, DTS, PCM audio and Hi-Res said. Few extra features are present on this model: an audio/video sync option, the DSEE HX, and 4 other EQ modes.
A loudspeaker is hidden at each end of the top of the HT-ST1500 bar for Dolby Atmos.
The latest soundbar submitted, the HT-ST1500, greatly widening the gap with its peers, both in functionality than its selling price. Sold € 1,500 in spring 2017, this sound bar with high-end wireless subwoofer has a Dolby Atmos compatibility for multichannel virtual 7.1.2.
The HT-ST1500 is no lack of connection possibilities, either wirelessly or wired: Wi-Fi (DLNA, Multiroom, Spotify Connect and Chromecast), Bluetooth (LDAC, AAC, SBC, A2DP, AVRCP and chip NFC, but no aptX), 3 HDMI inputs and one output HDMI ARC, all 4K HDR Pass Thru, USB port, RJ45 port, mini-jack input and Toslink optical.
This model can also count on all audio features and compatibilities previously mentioned on the MT-300 and MT500, the S-Force Pro Front Surround adapted here for the virtual 7.1.2.
The Sony HT-ST1500 can also support the Dolby Atmos stream, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital +, Digital and PCM up to a sampling frequency/resolution up to 96 kHz / 24 bits.
If one believes the visuals, this model benefits from the coaxial speakers from Sony, already used on other high-end products of the Japanese brand.
The only sound information provided by Sony, although it does not mean much in the state, indicates a power of 800 W and the presence of S-Master HX.