Sony personal audio brings Dolby Atmos to private listening

Sony SRS-NS7 wireless neckband speaker
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony's no stranger to home audio equipment, but the company's latest bit of home theater gear may look a little strange. With an open-speaker neckband design, The Sony SRS-NS7 Wireless Neckband Speaker looks like a cross between a neck support pillow and a pair of desktop speakers, but it may just be the next big thing in personal audio.

The SRS-NS7 neckband is like a home theater speaker setup for one. Unlike most personal audio, though, it's not contained to a pair of headphones, but a neckband that has multiple speakers built in. Paired with this is the new Sony WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter, a wireless TV audio adapter that can do way more than just Bluetooth.

Sony SRS-NS7 wireless neckband speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

Billed by Sony as the "ultimate personal cinema experience," the SRS-NS7 is a hands-free speaker set that goes around the neck and sits on the shoulders, putting a multi-speaker array right around a single listener. The neck band design is a little unusual, but it also allows for Dolby Atmos sound and a balanced combination of upward facing speakers and passive radiators to create a richness of sound that closed headphones may not match.

The neck band design is covered in fabric and backed with flexible silicone, letting it conform to the curvature of your own neck. The built-in battery offers up to 12 hours of power — up to 5 hours at top volume — and a quick charging feature can give you up to an hour of extra listening time with just 10 minutes of charging over USB-C.

Sony SRS-NS7 wireless neckband speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

Made for private listening, Sony touts the fact that the open ear design allows you to be aware of other things going on around you, but also claims that the upward facing speakers set up delivers audio to the user without disturbing others, so it's not clear just how private this listening experience is.

It's also made for more than just TV watching. The neck band has built in microphones for hands-free calling, and multi-point connectivity that lets you jump from the TV to another device, such as a smartphone or laptop with just a click of a button.

Sony claims that the device will offer cinematic sound for devices large and small, whether it's your big screen TV or a smartphone watching Netflix. And because it's wireless and free to run around the house with you, Sony also made it moisture-resistant with an IPX4 rating, which will let you enjoy a beverage or do the dishes without worry of spills or splashes. (But it's probably not safe to wear the SRS-NS7 in the shower.)

Sony WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter

(Image credit: Sony)

The companion to this device is the Sony WLA-NS7 wireless TV adapter. Unlike the average Bluetooth adapter, the Sony unit supports Sony's 360 Spatial Sound, delivering multi-channel audio wirelessly, and allowing you to fine-tune that sound through the Sony 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer app.

The WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter works with most TVs, connecting with the USB cable and an optical audio cable, meaning that you can use it without disconnecting any HDMI-connected soundbar you might have set up already. Some features, however, may be exclusive to Sony Bravia XR TVs, like the one in our Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED review.

The wireless transmitter is not billed as a Bluetooth adapter, because it's connectivity uses different standards and offers a fuller audio experience, but it also does Bluetooth. So if you've got Bluetooth headphones you can wirelessly transmit to those as well; the WLA-NS7 will likely find a home on our best bluetooth TV adapters page

Sony SRS-NS7 and WLA-NS7 pricing and availability

The Sony SRS-NS7 wireless neckband speaker is available for pre-order for $299.99 through Best Buy and Amazon.

The Sony WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter is also available for pre-order, for $59.99, and is also selling through Best Buy and Amazon.

Both items will be released later this month. Product pages on Best buy in Amazon differ slightly as to when products will actually be available, with Best Buy claiming a release date of October 18th, and Amazon quoting a later date of November 1st. 

Sony's product pages quote a release date of October 27th, so if you want to get yours sooner, you may be better off ordering from Best Buy and crossing your fingers that their earlier date is correct.

Brian Westover

Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.