Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 which is better?

With this Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 article, we have quite an interesting matchup. We have the flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar from Sonos going up against what was once the top Dolby Atmos soundbar from Sony. Not too long ago I put Sonos and Sony in the ring together in our Sony HT-Z9F vs Sonos Arc which is better? article which was a to of fun to write. In that battle, the Sonos Arc came out on top, but perhaps just like in Rocky II, Sony can come back and get the win in this rematch.

The Price

We are kicking this Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 the same way that we always do these battles and that is with the price! These are two very expensive soundbars, but if you want this type of quality, you have to pay for it. These are two premium Dolby Atmos soundbars that are designed with offering cinema quality sound at home. That kind of tech does not come cheap!

Sonos Arc: 

One of the most interesting things about the Sonos Arc is that it has kept its price incredibly well. I actually think until Sonos release a follow up to this, the Sonos Arc is not going to drop in price any time soon. The price this goes for is usually from $799.99 to $899.99. When Amazon has this in stock it is usually $799, Walmart though has this for 100 bucks more. If you do look around for this, you may be able to get a few bucks off it here and there. I did though have a look on eBay and as usual, there are not too many deals to be found for this on there, as of writing the cheapest new one is on there for $770.

Sony ST-5000:

The pricing for the Sony ST-5000 is all over the place! I am pretty sure that the RRP for this is about $999. I say that because that is what Walmart has this listed for and they are pretty good buddies with Sony. Over on Amazon, there is a seller with this on there for 700 bucks which is a steal, other sellers have it in the 700 to 800 bucks range, but Amazon themselves have not had this in stock for a while. Over at eBay, you can get this for around $500 if you are willing to get a refurbished one. Just be sure to shop around if you like the look of this as there are many deals out there for this.

The Verdict: 

I have to say that I feel these are both fairly priced, but if you can get the Sony ST-5000 for around 800 bucks, that is one hell of a deal. The subwoofer that Sony has included with this is just fantastic and very impressive. Man, this is a hard one to call, I have to say that I think the inclusion of that subwoofer may just give Sony the edge here, but only so very slightly, actually, it is closer to being a draw!

The Design

These are two of my favorite tech companies around and this was the category I was most excited about when I started putting this Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 article together. I have yet to see a product from Sonos or Sony that I did not like the look of and these two are fantastic looking soundbars. Either one of these is going to look epic sitting underneath your TV!

Sonos Arc: 

Sonos flat out does not make a better looking soundbar than the Sonos Arc. This thing is truly amazing so much so that I suggest you check out this Sonos Arc – Unboxing, Test, and Impressions video so you can get a better picture in your head of what I am talking about here. This is a pretty big boy, coming in at 3.4” x 45” x 4.5”. Its 45 inches of length do mean you need a decently sized TV unit to have this on display. Sonos offer this in both white and black, but it is the black version I am talking about today. As soon as you crack open that big ass box, you are amazed at just how high-quality and premium a product the Sonos Arc feels like. Sonos truly outdid themselves with the design of this, so much, that I cannot fathom how their follow up is going to top it.

Sonos is one of these companies that like to use fabric on their soundbars but the Sonos Arc is the exception. They have used a plastic grille here and it looks cool. The whole soundbar has a very curvy design to it that could not be any easier on the eyes. It really is the best looking soundbar that Sonos has made so far. It manages to look cool and also classy at the same time. What doesn’t catch your eye at first is how they have used a different shade of black for the sides, it may not sound like much, but it is a very smart effect.

As we flip the Sonos Arc around to see what is going on around the back we have our various hookups. Sonos gives you an HDMI port on the back of here. This is a premium Dolby Atmos product and as you need to use HDMI for Dolby Atmos that does make sense. If for some crazy reason you are spending nearly a grand on this and do not care about Dolby Atmos, you can use the HDMI to optical cable that this comes with. You do also have a USB port for any firmware updates that may be required.

Sony ST-5000:

While this is an older video this Sony HT-ST5000 Unboxing/AudioTest/And Give Away video still gives you a good look at this soundbar and lets you know what to expect. I am a big fan of the way that Sony design their soundbars and the Sony ST-5000 is one that certainly has that classic Sony style which I am a massive and I mean a massive fan of. I was surprised at just how large and imposing this thing looked when I pulled it out of the box, but I mean that in a positive manner. Of course, I could see it perhaps being a tad too “boxy” for some of your guys. The dimensions of this are, 46.5 x 3.2 x 5.6 inches, it certainly feels thicker than the Sonos Arc that is for sure. When you hold this for the first time, you just feel like you are holding a very premium kind of product.

I love the design of this! It is very sleek and you can even take that grille off if you want to show off those impressive speakers. To be honest, I would never in a million years do this as I have kids, but you can do it if you want. Around the back of the Sony ST-5000, we have our hookups. This has a very impressive three HDMI in ports! There is also an optical port, a standard AUX port, an ethernet port, and a USB port as well. Sony has well and truly gone above and beyond with this thing in terms of the HDMI ports! If you want more than just your TV directly connected to this, you will be very happy with having so many HDMI ports on here.

We of course have to talk about the subwoofer that Sony are including with this and I think it is fantastic. It has the same kind of style as the actual soundbar and they really are a perfect pair. At 9.8 x 15.9 x 16.7 inches, the subwoofer is pretty impressive in its size. It is wireless, so you do not have to have it right next to the soundbar. I love the large grille on the front, but what I really do love about this is the riser that Sony has this standing on. It gives the subwoofer such a unique and cool kind of look that is just so typical of Sony to do!

The Verdict: 

Wow this is a category that is very tough. I really do like the curvy and sexy design that Sonos went for with the Sonos Arc, but the Sony ST-5000 just appeals to my taste more. It has that what I call classic “Sony” look and while it may be a tad “boxy” I do love the design. Plus, the style of subwoofer is very cool, I would happily have this subwoofer out on display in any room in my home! The Sonos Arc looks amazing, but for me, the ST-5000 takes this one and I did not even mention the extra HDMI ports that are on here which I am sure will come in very handy for some of you guys.

The Sound

As these are both Dolby Atmos soundbars I am pretty excited for this category in our Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 battle. It is kind of like when Rocky took on Clubber Lang, they were both boxers, but with very different styles. Two Rocky references in one article! Anyway, these both sound great and if you want that cinema experience at home, I can tell you right now that these both offer you that, just in different ways.

Sonos Arc:

I have said this before, but the more I have used the Sonos Arc, the more I have liked it. It just gets better and better and the level of Dolby Atmos this provides is arguably the best you can get in a soundbar right now. Check out this quick Dolby Atmos Demo on Sonos Arc video to get a slight idea of what I am talking about. The way that the Sonos Arc fills the room with sound is truly amazing, the final battle in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was one of the most amazing experiences I have had with the Arc. I know that the soundbar cannot provide surround sound, but at the same time, I felt like the sound was hitting me from all angles. I have an electronics store near me and they use the Sonos Arc to show people what Dolby Atmos is all about. This is truly amazing and I cannot oversell it enough, that is how good it is.

Of course, you do not always need to feel like you are in the middle of an epic Star Wars style battle! If you are watching a TV show, the news, or a more dialogue heavy movie like the amazing, The Devil’s Advocate. Seriously I watched this movie for the first time in years and forgot who amazing it was, Al Pacino is amazing in this flick! The point I am trying to make is that the vocal clarity through the Sonos Arc is truly incredible. It is so clear and precise that there is no way you are missing anything. Even if there is a lot of action going on at the same time, the speech does not get lost in the mix. It is really done very well and you do have a dedicated setting for clear voice with this soundbar.

There is no subwoofer here, but out of all the soundbars that I have used which do not have a subwoofer, the Sonos Arc offers the best bass. It still packs a hell of a punch, just like the one Hulk Gave Thor in the epic, Thor: Ragnarök. I will say that when head to head with a soundbar like the Sony ST-5000 that does have a dedicated subwoofer, you do notice the difference. Sonos does have their own amazing subwoofer called the Sonos Sub which is nearly as much as the actual Sonos Arc! Still, it is one of the top tier subwoofers around, but I do not actually think that a dedicated subwoofer is 100 percent necessary.

The Sonos Arc just impressed me right across the board, while you may want to buy something like the very expensive, but awesome Sonos Sub if you want to get that movie theatre rumble. However, even without a dedicated subwoofer, I found the level of bass that the Sonos Arc offered to be very impressive and movies that have a lot of bass such as the 2005 War of the Worlds which is not as bad as people say, will really make the room shake!

Sonos HT-5000:

I highly suggest you check out this Sony HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos® Soundbar | Product Overview video that was uploaded by the Sony Support YouTube Channel which is a fantastic channel. I want to start talking about the way that the Sony ST-5000 handles Dolby Atmos. I think that the Dolby Atmos this provides is very solid, but this soundbar is a few years old as I write this and I think that newer soundbars manage to hit that height a bit better than what this does. Do not get me wrong, it is still very impressive. I checked out Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition which is not the greatest movie, but it sounded amazing. Actually, the entire DCEU has amazing sound design and this movie really showcases Dolby Atmos when it is done right. I was truly blown away and it did sound like I was sitting front and center in a movie theatre.

I of course have to talk about how this handles dialogue and I am pleased to say that it handles it very well. I want to stick with DC for a moment actually and talk about a movie I just got recently and that is Injustice which is based on the hit video game series. The vocal clarity through the Sony ST-5000 is fantastic and I think that it handles dialogue so very well. It is so clear, but even when something loud or crazy is going down in a scene, it still makes it so you can hear what the characters are saying nice and clear.

One area that I think the Sony ST-5000 really excels in is in offering an overall impressive sound. A movie that has a bit of everything when it comes to sound such as It: Chapter II, for example, sounds amazing. It manages to handle a diverse selection of sounds very well. Of course, this as it has a dedicated subwoofer gives you that extra kick in the bass department. I am very impressed with this subwoofer and it is notably better than the subwoofer Sony included with their also very good Sony HT-X9000F. I would actually go as far as to say it is a pretty substantial upgrade actually!

The Verdict: 

This is another very tough round for me to pick a winner! Both of these are great, they both offer Dolby Atmos, but that is where the main difference lays between these two. I have to say that the Sonos Arc offers a better Dolby Atmos performance than the Sony ST-5000. It just seems to hit you better than the ST-5000. Overall, though, I do think that the subwoofer Sony gives you does make a hell of a difference. Hmm, if you are going purely on Dolby Atmos, I think you have to give this one to the Sonos Arc. However, I think that I could quite easily make the argument that overall, the Sony ST-5000 is offering a more complete sound if that makes sense.

The Remote Control

Out of all the categories in our Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 today the remote control is the easiest one for me to write. It is so one sided that it is like when Rocky took on one of those bums Mickey selected for him in Rocky III…. Yes another Rocky reference, Rocky is awesome and you can never have too many Rocky references.

Sonos Arc: If the Sonos Arc has a Kryptonite in these types of articles it is the remote control. Look, Sonos has decided that they do not need to make a remote control anymore. That is right, this expensive and amazing soundbar does not actually come with a remote control! The idea is that you use the Sonos app, to be fair this app is great and gives you complete control over the Arc. However, for me personally, in the evening I like to put my phone away so this would be a pain in the ass for me. Actually, when I tested the Arc out for a few weeks, I put the app on an old tablet I had just so I could have it out!

Sony ST-5000: Sony really like this remote control design as the remote they give you with the Sony ST-5000 is one that they have used with other products. While it is stacked with buttons and may look a bit on the intimidating side at first. This remote control could not be any easier to use as each button is clearly identified so you at the very least have an idea of what it does. Sony has made it so changing a preset, input, or whatever is as easy to do as possible. I also like how large the remote control is, I do not know why, but I always like it when a remote control has a bit of weight to it! For me, Sony (with Bose a close second and then Yamaha third) make the best remote controls around.

The Verdict: Sony wins this one hands down. The Sonos Arc does not come with a remote. I wish that they at the very least threw a basic remote in here just to let people control the volume and maybe a few of the presets. Sony though does not just win by default, they have actually thrown in one of their better remotes controls with this soundbar, it is a remote they have used before and I am honestly fine with that.

What Is In The Box?

Our final category in this Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 battle is what these are offering inside the box. Here you will get to know a bit about what you can expect to get when you are lucky enough to get one of these bad boys.

Sonos Arc: As the Sonos Arc is so long, you know that the box this thing comes in is pretty damn big too! In the car that I currently have, I would have to put the seats down to get this thing in there! Inside the box, you get your Sonos Arc and power cable. You also get the instructions as well. They give you an HDMI cable and also a handy little HDMI to optical cable converter too which is neat.

Sony ST-5000: I have to start by saying that like other Sony soundbar and subwoofer sets, the Sony ST-5000 comes in a massive L shaped box. Trust me, getting something like this in a standard sized car is a pain in the butt. Inside the actual box, you get your soundbar, subwoofer, and accompanying power cables. You also get your remote controls, a set of batteries, and instructions too. They also throw in an HDMI cable too which is to be expected these days. It would have been awesome if they gave us three HDMI cables to take advantage of all three ports. You can get HDMI cables pretty cheap these days such as this 4K HDMI Cable 6ft (2-Pack), Syntech High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 Cable set which is a great price.

The Verdict: You get all that you need with both of these soundbars, but I do think that you are getting that little bit more with the Sony ST-5000. To be fair, both Sonos and Sony are taking care of the consumer here. Just make sure if you are picking this thing up from a store, you better make sure you have a car big enough to handle either one of these.

What Is The Best?

So we come to the end of our Sonos Arc vs Sony ST-5000 article battle and it has been one of the hardest fought and epic battles I have done. It was so epic that I feel it could be included in the awesome Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1-3 Complete Collection! Trying to pick a winner here is so hard as I feel that they are both amazing, but they are both offering their own kind of experience. They are both giving you that cinema style sound, but it depends on what you personally want. The Sonos Arc I feel does have the better Dolby Atmos performance, but with the Sony ST-5000, you are getting that better bass and dare I say better “mid-range” sound. To be fair, this is all subjective, and right now if I could have any one of these in my living room…. I think I would opt for the Sonos Arc as Dolby Atmos is what I am all about these days.

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