On the subject of residence theatre, there are informal customers which can be happy with soundbars and fans that desire a cinema-like expertise with a number of audio system throughout them.
Over the previous few years soundbars are getting nearer to providing a cinematic expertise – particularly those who embody upward firing drivers, a set of rear audio system and a subwoofer, all of which ship an immersive sound that works for many folks.
Nonetheless, that will not be sufficient for devoted residence theater fans – and that’s the place the Sony HT-A9 is available in.
The HT-A9 is a set of 4 audio system that talk with one another wirelessly through a tiny field that is barely bigger than an Apple TV. This field attaches to an eARC port in your TV and in addition helps wi-fi requirements reminiscent of Bluetooth, AirPlay and Google Solid to take pleasure in audio not simply out of your TV but additionally your telephone, pill and different units.
The magic of the HT-A9 speaker system is that these audio system do not have to be completely positioned in your room. Every speaker makes use of inner microphones to dynamically find different audio system and modify the sound stage so that you simply really feel you’re on the heart of the sound dome, irrespective of the place you’re sitting within the room.
Every of the 4 audio system has an up-firing speaker, a delicate dome kind tweeter and a large directivity woofer together with two microphones. Working collectively to bounce pontificate your ceilings and partitions, the audio system of the HT-A9 can create a further twelve extra “phantom” audio system for a full 360-degree sound setup.
That creates limitations within the sorts of rooms the HT-A9 will be optimally utilized in, but when your TV room does not have very excessive or domed ceilings, the unit performs impressively.
We examined the HT-A9 with all types of films and units. Dolby Atmos works impressively and between the apps constructed into our TV, an Apple TV 4K and an Xbox Sequence X, we discovered the Xbox produced the perfect Atmos expertise. The HT-A9 additionally impressed us with Apple Music and Spatial Audio on the Apple TV Plus app.
Sony doesn’t embody a subwoofer with the HT-A9 setup and anybody actually severe about their audio might want to shell out some more money for one of many two wi-fi subwoofers that works with the HT-A9.
You additionally don’t have a devoted heart channel, however if in case you have a reasonably new Sony TV, there’s a 3.5mm cable that may be linked to your TV – this then permits your TV to behave as a middle channel. It is a barely inelegant resolution but it surely’s there for somebody that desires to make use of it.
Sony HT-A9 worth and launch date
Sony introduced the HT-A9 together with its high-end soundbar HT-A7000 earlier this yr in July, nevertheless it has solely not too long ago gone on sale. The HT-A9 Dwelling Theater System prices $1,799.99 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 / AED 7,999.
It solely is available in only one colour which is gentle grey. Although the HT-A9 doesn’t include a subwoofer, Sony sells two totally different wi-fi fashions for it that are the SASW3 for $399 / £449 / AU$599 and SASW5 for $699 / £699 / AU4899.
- A bit cumbersome when mounted on the partitions
- Base unit is de facto small and will be simply hidden
- Although the audio system are wi-fi, they want an influence connection
The Sony HT-A9 consists of 4 wi-fi audio system and a base unit that connects to your TV whereas wirelessly speaking with the 4 audio system. This base unit measures 150mm x 150mm and has two HDMI ports on the again, together with energy, Ethernet, and three.5mm ports for connecting to newer Sony TVs. A USB port can also be current however is barely used for servicing the unit.
Every of the 4 speaker measures 313mm x 160mm (HxW), with a rounded entrance and a flat again for mounting simply on partitions. Whereas the 4 audio system talk wirelessly to the bottom, they do have to be powered up and linked to an outlet in your wall.
Because of this, the audio system look higher sitting on a desk or stand than being wall-mounted, as you will have electrical wires working from them to your outlet. They’re additionally on the larger and bulkier aspect which is another excuse you’d wish to put them on a stand as a substitute of the wall. Sony solely makes the HT-A9 obtainable in a lightweight grey colour despite the fact that black appears to the colour most well-liked by most audio fans.
- The easiest way to attach them is utilizing eARC port in your TV
- Setup course of is extraordinarily simple
- Included distant management is not common
Organising the HT-A9 is as simple as connecting the bottom unit to your TV utilizing an HDMI cable by means of the eARC port and powering up the 4 audio system. A setup course of includes every audio system taking part in check tones that the mics on the opposite audio system decide up, permitting them to estimate their positions relative to one another.
Curiously, these audio system don’t have to be equidistant from one another and will be positioned at totally different peak ranges to one another, too. By studying the place of every of the encircling audio system, the sound ranges are routinely adjusted to provide the finest sound expertise.
Every of the 4 audio system has an up-firing speaker, a delicate dome kind tweeter and a large directivity woofer together with two microphones. This permits the HT-A9 to create twelve of what Sony calls “phantom” audio system for a full 360-degree sound setup.
Alhough the HT-A9 has microphones and helps Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it will possibly solely work as an output system. You’ll be able to’t communicate into it utilizing Hey Google or Alexa instructions, so you will want one other Google Assistant or Alexa speaker to make voice instructions.
When you’ve got a brand new Sony TV, you can also make it act as a middle speaker targeted on dialogue utilizing the included 3.5mm cable. Ideally, Sony ought to have made this work utilizing the HDMI cable as doing this implies you’ve got two wires going to your TV.
Since HDMI CEC is supported, you possibly can simply use your TV or different system’s distant to manage the audio ranges on the HT-A9 – however if you wish to entry particular choices reminiscent of voice enhancement or selecting a specific mode like film or music, you would want the HT-A9 distant for it.
The issue with the distant is that it’s not essentially a common distant. Even with the HT-A9 linked to a Sony TV, there was no method to carry up the TV’s residence app or launch apps reminiscent of Netflix utilizing the HT-A9’s distant. We had to make use of the TV’s distant management, as a substitute.
For that objective, we advocate connecting all units on to your TV and never utilizing the second HDMI port on the HT-A9 except you wish to take care of a number of remotes and manually switching inputs.
- Helps all types of wi-fi applied sciences
- Loud and wealthy sound with implausible 360-degree sound expertise
- Undoubtedly a step up from a soundbar however cannot substitute a correct home-theater setup
The Sony HT-A9 helps nearly all types of audio and wi-fi expertise together with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, hi-res audio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, GoogleCast and Alexa. The 2 ports on the bottom station are HDMI 2.1 compliant and assist 4K/120 video. One among them connects to your TV by means of eARC whereas the opposite can take enter from a separate supply.
We linked the HT-A9 to the Sony A9G OLED TV utilizing the eARC port, which introduced all audio from the TV again to the HT-A9. This included audio from the Apple TV 4K and the Xbox Sequence X that have been instantly linked to the TV utilizing HDMI cables.
The general sound on the HT-A9 is loud and wealthy and simply lined our lounge. It presents first rate bass out of the field, however should you’re searching for something extra, you’ll should spend money on a subwoofer.
We examined a wide range of apps throughout all three sources and the one the demonstrated the HT-A9 the perfect was the Dolby app on the Xbox collection X which, not solely has particular Atmos demos, but additionally clips from motion pictures reminiscent of 1917 that spotlight the unbelievable encompass sound system.
Dolby Atmos-powered motion pictures on Netflix additionally improve your film watching expertise, and A Midnight Sky is a superb instance of that with delicate results that delight. For those who favor loud noises then Michael Bay’s 6 Underground does the trick.
It was additionally fantastic to hearken to a Spatial Audio playlist on Apple TV, with tracks like Bohemian Rhapsody including a brand new dimension to your listening expertise. It’s nice for events and will certainly get the dialog going together with your visitors.
We discovered the HT-A9 to supply a greater sound expertise than any soundbar we’ve examined – not taking into consideration the shortage of a subwoofer. The 4 audio system on the HT-A9 create a greater sound array with phantom audio system that work surprisingly nicely for an immersive audio expertise.
Going into this evaluation, we had a sense that the HT-A9 can be an improve from utilizing a soundbar, however the greater query is whether or not the HT-A9 can substitute a devoted audio setup with a full sized receiver and true Dolby Atmos speaker setup?
The reply to that’s no. Bodily audio system current in your ceilings or partitions undoubtedly create a extra sensible and immersive expertise and no quantity of sounds bouncing off partitions can replicate that.
That being stated, high-end audio programs can get actually costly and tough to arrange with wiring and placements going into your partitions and ceiling. They’re catered in direction of a hardcore residence theatre fanatic with a devoted room particularly for having fun with motion pictures.
For the remainder of us, the Sony HT-A9 presents a wonderful listening expertise with out messy wires or enormous receivers. It’s undoubtedly a step up from a sound bar for anybody trying to get a extra immersive expertise from their TV. When you’ve got a mean sized room with common ceilings and also you need a terrific 360-degree sound expertise, the HT-A9 will give you the results you want.