Sony’s HT-A9 Promises Dolby Atmos From 4 Wireless Speakers

Today, Sony has released two new Dolby Atmos -capable home theater sound systems. While both are designed to offer a very immersive sound and easy installation, the way they approach the challenge is unlikely to be different. The $ 1,300 HT-A7000 looks like a traditional sound bar, right down to the optional wireless subwoofer and surround speakers. But the $ 1,800 HT-A9 uses a set of four bookshelf-sized wireless speakers that can be placed anywhere in the room and use their onboard microphone to feel and respond to furniture, walls, and other acoustic features. Both will be available in September / October from major retailers. Here is a more in -depth overview of each system.

Sony HT-A9: $ 1,800

Sony HT-A9 home theater system.

The HT-A9 is a completely new concept in home theater sound, though it’s clear that Sony took inspiration from Sonos and WiSA. It consists of four identical wireless speakers equipped with a tweeter, midrange drive, bass channel, and up drive. They communicate with a control box that is no larger than the size of an Apple TV. The control box acts as a simplified A / V receiver, with one HDMI input, one HDMI ARC / eARC output, an Ethernet jack, and a middle channel output (more on that in an instant). The control box connects the system to Wi-Fi, and it’s compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, plus a built-in Chromecast and AirPlay 2.

Once installed, the system uses Sony Sound Field Optimization to detect room features such as ceiling height and adjust its settings accordingly. The HT-A9 also uses Spatial Voice Mapping technology, which Sony says can create up to 12 “ghost” speakers, expand the sound stage and create a 360-degree sound dome. Apparently, you’ll feel as if the sound is “coming from outside your walls.”

Family with Sony HT-A9 home theater system.

By having four speakers anywhere you can free people from the traditional bar bar in front of the TV like a regular sound bar, but equipped with some reminders. Despite being priced at nearly $ 2,000, the HT-A9 isn’t equipped with a wireless subwoofer, so the very low roar sound, which has become one of the hallmarks of immersive home theater, may be lacking. As you can see, there are no discrete middle channel speakers.

Sony has designed the HT -A9 to work with 2021 TVs, some of which have the ability to act as center channel speakers – the center channel output on the back of the control box provides this connection. For those who don’t have a compatible Sony TV, the HT-A9 makes a virtual center channel.

We were also a bit surprised that Sony hasn’t included more connectivity options, such as additional HDMI inputs, and optical inputs or wired subwoofer outputs. Sony has yet to say whether the HT-A9 will support Bluetooth on sale.

If you want lower power, you can equip the HT-A9 with an optional wireless subwoofer. Sony provides two options: the $ 700 SA-SW5 and the $ 400 SA-SW3.

The system supports Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Sony 360 Reality Audio (360 RA) formats, and high -resolution audio.

Sony HT-A7000: $ 1,300

Sony HT-A7000 sound bar.

Sony’s HT-A7000 is much more conventional. It’s a 7.1.2 channel sound bar that uses a built -in subwoofer and side beam tweeter to create a deep sound field from just one enclosure. Like the HT-A9, you can add the A7000 with a $ 700 SA-SW5 or $ 400 SA-SW3 wireless submarine, and there’s also the option to add a $ 350 SA-RS3S wireless speaker to bring greater immersion, but it’s should note that these environments do not have their better activation drivers for better Dolby Atmos or DTS: X performance.

Sony uses Voice Field Optimization to once again detect room features such as ceiling height and adjust its settings accordingly. The A7000 comes with two HDMI inputs and an HDMI ARC / eARC output, as well as optical inputs, a USB port for accessing music, and analog inputs. While having its own center channel driver, you can also connect the A7000 to a compatible Sony Bravia TV to take advantage of the TV’s center channel output capabilities.

The HT-A7000 has Chromecast and AirPlay 2 built-in, it’s compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and supports Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Sony 360 Reality Audio, Spotify Connect, and high-resolution audio.

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