Replacing surround with sound bar

The Bryston SP3 processor I use for surround doesn't take eARC so I need an eARC/HDMI converter.  It's messy.  For simplification I'm thinking of replacing the surround gear (SP3, 2 NAD stereo amps, 4 KEF LS50s, and a large center speaker) with a Sony HT A-700.  The audio of the new 85" Sony full array TV is quite good, so I don't bother with surround.  Any recommendations?

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The need to simplify is real.  If you aren't a huge movie sound buff by all means switch to a bar.

Personally I have found that taking the time to properly set up a 5.1 system quite satisfying to listen to.

There are a number of eARC to HDMI converters, some very affordable:

I think I would use surround more if it were provided automatically by the TV.  I haven't used the eARC/HDMI converter enough to know if it transmits surround.  I do use HDMI from the Ayre DX-5 DSD to the Bryston SP3 for Blu-rays.  In my OP I didn't mention that I'd like to end up with the single 4-tier rack of Ayre gear and KEF Reference 1s I have now -- a fine sounding setup, or KEF LS60 with the Ayre DX-5 DSD as the approach to my simplification goal.  In either case, gone are the SP3 and NAD amps.  At 87 I feel the need to downsize and simplify.

I switched to the Sony soundbar added the bigger sub and smaller back channel loudspeakers and have been very happy.  I was using a 2 channel with single subwoofer setup run through a Roksan analog preamp.  I took the analog audio output from the television.  It sounded good.  I then got a bigger, newer TV with very limited analog outputs and thought I should do something.  The sound, particularly dialog, is much better with the Sony soundbar, but the setup and convenience are far, far superior to the previous 2 channel movie playback.  It's all wireless with automatic room optimization and I can use a single remote for all television/streaming viewing.  Unless you're trying for some sort of statement multi-channel viewing experience I would highly recommend the Sony soundbar.

I have not used the Sony for music playback.

The model I got was the HT-A7000.  It's being discounted right now.  Could be a new model coming?

Several years ago I replaced NAD T765 with PSB speakers and Mirage sub for a Bluesound sound bar to down size. 

I haven’t regretted it though I use my tv as a monitor for Roon probably more than for tv or movies. 

It’s an option and if aligned with your priorities can be worthwhile 

There is a big difference between a real surround system and a soundbar, even a cheap surround system. I would do what you have to do to keep it. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I understand the eARC issue. The last time I upgraded our TVs… suddenly all the TVs and surround systems and sound bars suddenly started working together under the eARC input. I only had to upgrade my HDMI cable to 2.0 or something like that.


But I understand. My partner is disabled and bedridden, so we have a 65” and a soundbar in the bedroom. I think it is pretty easy to show ~ best is the Sennheiser Ambeo. Add a small sub and you have really good natural sound, but not surround.

@ghdprentic Sadly many early generation HDMI processors have no ability to take sound from the TV.

If you only use external sources like Roku, a BD player or a cable box then it can go through the HDMI processor without a problem. It’s when you use, for instance, the Netflix app on the TV that you are pretty much out of luck.

Of course, one other alternative is to use the digital out from the TV which normally supports at least 5.1.

When my wife and I finished renovating our house in early 2022 I had to make a big change in our Home Theater because we were relocating the position of the television on a console. I had to replace my old B&W CC6 center channel, ASW-650 subwoofer, and Magneplanar MG-I L/R combo, with an Onkyo AVR that I had been very happy with. It was a simple 3.1 setup that was all we could do in living room. Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable.

I had to simplify my setup because of space considerations and decided a high-end soundbar was the only way I could go. I was able to finagle and negotiate the purchase of two small subs instead of one big one. That decided, after a bit of research, I decided on the GoldenEar 3D Array XL soundbar plus two ForceField 3 subwoofers, and a Pioneer AVR.

Almost two years later I can say I made the right decision. The sound on my new 3.2 system has been excellent, very involving. Sporting events are fantastic with this combination, as are movies and episodic tv shows. I don’t watch modern movies that much — because they all suck. But when I watch a modern movie with a surround soundtrack, the sound is spectacular. I buy physical media (Blu-rays) for anything that’s good enough to keep.

I have always known that a Home Theater is a very different animal than a high-end two-channel system. Even though I took great care in selecting these components, the content that is reproduced in a Home Theater is very different from that reproduced in a two-channel system. Music in our living room, when played, is streamed for parties, or for background, so the reference standard I have in my two channel system is not really a fair apple-to-apples comparison. That said, the GoldenEars are fantastic, really great sound, and highly recommended.

When moving a few years ago I also needed to simplify so for the main living space I also went soundbar. I have the Sony HT-A7000 with the smaller sub. It works in conjunction with my Sony TV in a way that the TV speaker provides the center channel and the bar does the rest. Not as immersive as my basement system with a full compliment of speakers but more than good enough. The bar has a calibration program that tweaks its use for the room, with full Atmos as well.

My living room [where the big TV is] is terrible for acoustics of any kind.  I gave up on surround sound and went to a Klipsch soundbar and sub.  Not exactly audiophile quality, but sure can play loud if needed.



Thanks Erik, Now I get it. My main system uses inputs from cable box, AppleTV and DVD player… so we never use the TV as input. All the bedroom stuff is contemporary. Wow, I missed that problem… I was lucky for once.

ghdprentice, if the audio of the 85" Sony weren't so good I'd be more motivated to fire up the Ayre preamp and set it to by-pass, fire up the Bryston SB-3 and select TV input, but Sony really has done a job with the audio of that TV.  I think I miss more the 3 Velodyne HGS -15s.  Maybe I'll try surround again.  It's all set up and ready to go.

Get the Sony is a big step up from goofyass soundbars without the complications of 5.2.4, 7.4.6 etc atmos setups.

The Sony HT A9 was what got me to consider sound bars.  The need for AC outlets for each module seemed a turn-off,  but that's when I was thinking about replacing the LS50s with the modules.  If nstead I place the modules near AC outlets that might work.  In the meantime I'll retry my surround setup.



what other CD/SACD players are in your collection? Feel free to PM me.


Happy Listening!