Of all the equipment that I’ve reviewed in the past few years, my wife has only really liked one item: Sound bars. They’re simple, they integrate easily with the TV, and they make a huge improvement over the sound of a regular flat-screen TV. Sony has just released their first high-end sound bar, the Sony HT-ST7. it adds a few features that many premium sound bars are missing: HDMI inputs, lossless audio decoding, Bluetooth and NFC. You should be able to easily stream content to the Sony HT-ST7 without having to buy any extra components for it. It also has a wireless subwoofer and comes in a sturdy aluminum chassis with 9 drivers.
Where sound bars always fall short for me is with music. They do a very good job with movies and TV, and their faux-surround modes add a good bit of depth. Engage those modes with music and everything just sounds distance and unfocused. The Sony HT-ST7 does a better job here. Direct stereo music sounds good with nice stereo separation for a sound bar, but the music mode actually improved the sound I felt. Utilizing the 5 center drivers, it manages to keep singers and instruments well anchored on the stage but adds a good bit of depth and immersion.
Movies sound very good as well. Master & Commander features a surprising amount of impact during the opening attack scenes. Cannonballs don’t rattle your bones but you certainly feel the impact a bit. The sounds also extend a good bit back up the walls instead of being anchored at the TV. Watching The Art of Flight I found I had to turn the sub down a bit as the deep bass notes were pushing the sub too far. Once back at a reasonable level the Sony HT-ST7 sounds wonderful with the pulsing Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that is a favorite demo at shows.
For way more detail on the Sony HT-ST7, read the full review at Secrets of Home Theater. If you have a nice display but haven’t improved upon the sound, it might be just what you are after. Simple to use and great in use, it’s a component my wife is happy to see.