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Sony SRS-RA3000 360 Review

If you're looking for a live music experience from the comfort of home, this is the speaker for you
Sony SRS-RA3000 360
Credit: Sony
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $300 List | $298.00 at Amazon
Pros:  HiFi streaming compatible, 360 reality audio, great connectivity
Cons:  Multiple apps required for full functionality, bass sometimes overpowering
Manufacturer:   Sony
By Michelle Powell and Conrad Salonites  ⋅  Aug 2, 2021
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 9
  • Sound Quality - 40% 7.9
  • User Friendliness - 20% 7.8
  • Volume - 20% 7.1
  • Connectivity - 20% 9

Our Verdict

Boasting incredible audio quality and a wide array of connectivity options, the Sony SRS-RA3000 is a fine speaker choice. With the ability to play HiFi audio tracks by way of seamless Google Casting, the Sony SRS-RA3000 effectively recreates live-sounding audio experiences within the home. It cannot be understated the impressiveness of this speaker being our only award winner without a Sonos or Bose prefix. Although a cumbersome amount of required apps kept this speaker from taking the top spot, we can say without a doubt that the Sony SRS-RA3000 would be an excellent choice for any wireless speaker newcomer, so long as they are technologically literate.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Sony SRS-RA3000 360
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $300 List
$298.00 at Amazon
$199 List$299 List$200 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$179 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros HiFi streaming compatible, 360 reality audio, great connectivityGreat sound quality, compact, loud, multiple connection optionsIncredible audio quality, powerful volume, pairs with other soundlink modelsVery impressive sound, smart home convenience, pairs with other EchosGreat sound quality, small, relatively inexpensive
Cons Multiple apps required for full functionality, bass sometimes overpoweringSlightly pricier than some comparable modelsExpensive, not the most portableAlexa app required, confusing app interface, unreliable WiFi streamingNo Bluetooth connection, not the thumpiest bass
Bottom Line If you're looking for a live music experience from the comfort of home, this is the speaker for youImpressive bass and good overall sound in a compact and versatile packageIf lush audio in a portable package is your top priority, this is the best speaker you can buyAny Amazon aficionado looking to upgrade their sound system should not miss this wireless speakerSmall yet expressive, this is a great affordable option for an apartment or as a building block for a larger system
Rating Categories Sony SRS-RA3000 360 Bose Home Speaker 300 Bose SoundLink Revo... Amazon Echo Studio Sonos One SL
Sound Quality (40%)
7.9
7.7
8.0
8.3
7.5
User Friendliness (20%)
7.8
7.8
7.8
6.0
7.6
Volume (20%)
7.1
7.2
7.3
6.9
7.0
Connectivity (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Sony SRS-RA3000 360 Bose Home Speaker 300 Bose SoundLink Revo... Amazon Echo Studio Sonos One SL
Smart Home Compatability Google Home, Alexa Alexa, Google Home Siri, Google Assistant Alexa None
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Inputs Bluetooth, WiFi, Google Cast, 3.5mm Aux Bluetooth, Micro-USB, 3.5mm Aux, WiFi, AirPlay Bluetooth, Micro-USB, 3.5 mm Aux Bluetooth, Wifi, 3.5mm Aux, Micro-USB WiFi, Ethernet, AirPlay
Dimensions 5.75" x 9.75" x 6.13" 4" x 5.6" x 6.3" 4.13" x 4.13" x 7.25" 8.1" x 6.9" x 6.9" 4.7" x 4.7" x 6.4"
Weight (lb) 5.5 2.1 2 7.7 3.88

Our Analysis and Test Results

What really distinguishes the Sony SRS-RA3000 from its competition is its seamless connectivity and high-quality audio output. Paired alongside the ambient room-filling sound, we were blown away by how great a listening experience we consistently had throughout our rigorous testing process. Although it did suffer from some hang-ups, especially a lackluster app experience and an audio strength that wasn't quite up to the par set by some of the other speakers, we nonetheless never failed to enjoy the crisp audio output of lossless HiFi tracks, and the incredible convenience offered by the Sony SRS-RA3000 Chrome Casting abilities.

Performance Comparison


The Sony SRS-RA3000 consistently provides great sound and...
The Sony SRS-RA3000 consistently provides great sound and connectivity, despite some cumbersome aspects of its app.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


Although the Sony SRS-RA3000 isn't the highest-scoring speaker in this metric, make no mistake—this is a high-quality speaker with excellent sound quality. We repeatedly found ourselves going back to it and enjoying the incredible dynamic range offered, reveling in the Sony SRS-RA3000's deep and rolling bass working in conjunction with its floating treble. Throughout our testing, this speaker repeatedly handled with ease the difficulties that live music tracks provide, allowing us to enjoy the gentle whispers and blaring roars with great clarity.


Our only hang-up with the Sony SRS-RA3000 is with its bass, as with certain extremely bass-heavy tracks, when the intention is to produce a palpable rumble, the sound quality would start to turn a little muddy. Moreover, the bass strength on this speaker is so powerful that we noticed a few times throughout the testing process that it would begin to overpower other parts of the music, stealing the show. Once again, however, this was not a constant issue, and we only really noticed it on tracks where the bass was meant to be emphasized. Despite this hiccup, we really enjoyed the crisp audio this device provided. Plus, we were impressed by the dynamic range the Sony SRS-RA3000 showed, clocking in at 54 decibels below full scale in our testing measurements, meaning we were still able to hear sounds clearly to a relatively low volume.

Except for a rare overpowering bass, this speaker is a fantastic...
Except for a rare overpowering bass, this speaker is a fantastic audio choice even for audiophiles.
Credit: Laura Casner

HiFi


The ability to play HiFi audio tracks is a major aspect of the Sony SRS-RA3000's marketing, and we wanted to decode what that actually means. Despite the traditional definition's relationship to speakers, "HiFi" in this context is not referring to the speaker's output capabilities. Instead, it is referring to a more robust style of lossless audio compression, meaning more information is stored in the audio files you can stream onto the device, allowing for higher quality sound. HiFi streaming services, such as Tidal or Nugs.net, provide large repositories of tracks that have been remixed or rerecorded to account for these advancements in digital audio. We certainly noticed an increased audio quality when playing these tracks, but an important thing to keep in mind is that non-HiFi tracks are still the industry standard, so this function should not be a primary selling point for non-audiophiles.

User Friendliness


Despite a few difficulties, the Sony SRS-RA3000 overall provided a strong showing throughout our user friendliness testing.


As the cultural trend towards digitization continues, the Sony SRS-RA3000 does not come with a remote but is controlled via a smartphone app. Although Bluetooth capable, this speaker's primary inputs are by way of the Sony Music Center app. During our testing, we repeatedly found this app to be less than ideal, providing only a limited number of usages, such as EQ adjustment, general speaker settings, and the ability to link Sony speakers. Our biggest hang-up came from the necessity of installing multiple applications to access the entire breadth of the Sony SRS-RA3000's functions. For example, the Google Home app is required to use the speaker's Google Cast feature, the only way to wirelessly play HiFi music over WiFi. Unfortunately, and more pertinent towards general speaker usage, there is no accessibility of any music streaming service through the Sony Music Center app. Despite Sony encouraging membership subscriptions from HiFi services such as Nugs.net or Tidal, and recommending you to link it to the Sony Music Center app, all music browsing, streaming, and casting must come from the music service's specific app. We found this lack of streamlining to provide a somewhat cumbersome experience when trying to play music on our Sony SRS-RA3000.

An overreliance on multiple apps was our biggest hang-up with the...
An overreliance on multiple apps was our biggest hang-up with the Sony SRS-RA3000.
Credit: Laura Casner

Although the wide array of required apps faired poorly in our testing, we nonetheless found the Sony SRS-RA3000's tactile inputs to be a far smoother experience. Industry standards, such as power, play/pause, Bluetooth, and volume buttons are all easily accessible on the Sony SRS-RA3000's exterior. Moreover, the device comes equipped with indicators/buttons for Music Service and Sound Mode. While both are incredibly useful, the two indicators, especially the latter, convey several different settings solely through colored lights. Of course, the information these lights are conveying is not rocket science, but periodically throughout our testing, we had to refer to the testing manual to remember the exact meaning of a displayed light.

Despite app problems, this speaker still provides tactile input...
Despite app problems, this speaker still provides tactile input options.
Credit: Laura Casner

Volume


A speaker, such as the Sony SRS-RA3000, ought to be commended when its lowest scoring metric still holds strong against its competition.


Although the Sony SRS-RA3000 won't be setting any records for volume, we found it to provide an all-around acceptable audio experience. One aspect of our volume measurement was identifying the decibels being put off by the speakers, operating at three-quarters volume, from ten feet away. Our tests indicated that the Sony SRS-RA3000 was giving off a decibel count of 87, landing just below the top-scoring speaker in this test. Furthermore, our testing showed the Sony SRS-RA3000 doing an excellent job filling the room with its music and providing a truly immersive auditory environment in the room it was located in. However, the Sony SRS-RA3000's sound did struggle in traveling, as the moment our testers left the room, the strength of the audio became noticeably diminished.

With room-filling sound, this speaker works well in nearly any...
With room-filling sound, this speaker works well in nearly any interior location.
Credit: Laura Casner

One of the key aspects of the Sony SRS-RA3000's marketing is its Ambient Room-Filling Sound. Our testing found it to offer an incredible listening experience that truly felt immersive, as it filled the whole room with sound, regardless of the speaker's positioning. In fact, the Sony SRS-RA3000 comes equipped with sensors that orient it in the room to ensure the best sound from any location. A word of advice though, during our testing process we did find that the material covering the speaker very easily attracted pet hair, so pet-owners may want to find an out-of-the-way place for their Sony SRS-RA3000.

Connectivity


Where the Sony SRS-RA3000 really distinguished itself was through our connectivity metric, standing strong amongst our top scorers with ease.


The Sony SRS-RA3000 comes with a range of connectivity options. With both Bluetooth and AUX support, this speaker comes equipped with theindustry standards, but it really shines with its Chrome Cast capabilities. Although we found the number of steps required to utilize the Google capabilities a bit of a hindrance, Chrome Casting allows the Sony SRS-RA3000 to play HiFi music files, a feature guaranteeing a high-quality listening experience. We found it really convenient to be able to circumvent the app entirely, and Chrome Cast tracks directly from our testing computers.

Although more niche plugins are lacking, Chrome Cast functionality...
Although more niche plugins are lacking, Chrome Cast functionality is a major plus for this speaker.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


In comparison to our other reviewed wireless speakers, the Sony SRS-RA3000 comes onto the field with a very middle-of-the-road price. With this very affordable price and an all-around excellent audio experience, we very easily designated this speaker as one of our Top Picks. While the Sony SRS-RA3000 does not offer the high-end perfection of some of the pricier speakers, it nonetheless offers very competitive sound quality at a significantly reduced price. If you can stomach a lackluster user interface, and/or you are an avid purveyor of Google tech, the Sony SRS-RA3000 is an excellent choice.

Conclusion


The Sony SRS-RA3000 provided us a high-quality listening experience. Although the constant use of multiple applications may alienate some, those willing to persevere will be rewarded with a consistently incredible auditory experience. This speaker may not be the best gift for an aging parent, but anyone who already has a Google account will be well suited for the unique experience which the Sony SRS-RA3000 has to offer.

Michelle Powell and Conrad Salonites