Sony’s new speaker is a sound bar with rear speakers for your phone or tablet

Sony's new speaker is a sound bar with rear speakers for your phone or tablet

It’s rare to arrive at the launch of a consumer audio product and exclaim “Huh. OK, that product doesn’t exist now”. But that’s what happened when I saw Sony’s new HT-AX7 (previously leaked by Slashleaks as a MagicBucket speaker).

It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker with 2 muffin-sized portable satellite speakers that sit on top of the charging port, on top of the plate. It’s designed primarily to act as a small soundbar (it’s about the size of a Roku Streambar) and rear speaker – but for your phone, tablet or laptop. It’s similar to the concept of Art TV and Soundbar TCL launched at Milan Design Week, but that idea needs power and really means something for TV. This is not, and does not need to be.

So, is it a wireless speaker that uses your home wi-fi network? No, Bluetooth only – oh, and no physical connections other than the USB-C charging port. But it includes Sony’s proprietary 360 Spatial Sound Mapping, which can convert stereo signals via Bluetooth in real time. So, when those two up-firing channels are placed 1m to 1.2m behind you, they become rear speakers and provide what looks like a Dolby Atmos setup. And I heard it: it’s not a matter of going into our best Dolby Atmos sound bar guide only because it doesn’t actually support Dolby Atmos, but it’s good and deep.

Sony HT-AX7 near the Sound Field button

Sound Field On, or Sound Field Off? Depends on how social you are (Image credit: Future)

No real room calibration technology. upconverting uses Sony’s monopolisynthesis technology but suppose you have placed your rear speakers about a meter behind you and the ‘main’ band in front of you, under your ears on a coffee table or similar. And I think it’s quite refreshing.

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