The latter is a technology that uses similar principles to Ambisonics and Wave Field Optimization to synthesize sound fields from both real and “phantom” sound sources. four speakers, each with a 19mm front-facing tweeter, a full-range X-balance driver, and a ceiling bouncing sound off the ceiling upward-firing X-balance drivers. However, Sony is reluctant to define this system in terms of individual channels, saying instead that the four units create a bubble of sound from the 12 “phantom” speakers. The bottom of the system is labeled Front Left (FL), Front Right (FR), Rear Left (RL), and Rear Right (RR), but the speakers do not have to be placed at the same height or in a fixed arrangement, the company stresses.

Sony HT-A9 review: Design

The Sony HT-A9 is a soundbar, yet it doesn’t look anything like them. In comparison to typical satellite speakers, it contains a control box and four larger, heavier speakers. These four cylinder speakers are wirelessly linked to a central box. The SA-SW5 optional subwoofer also instantly connects with the control box once the power cord is plugged in, but you must pay extra for it. Each speaker must be plugged into a power outlet to operate, just like the sub-woofer. The control box resembles an upgraded Apple TV 4K box in appearance. It is six inches wide and approximately six inches long. It has a power port, two HDMI connections, an Ethernet port, and an S-port for connecting to more recent Sony TVs so you may use their speakers as the center channel. There is a USB port on the back of the box as well, however it can only be utilized by Sony’s support staff if your device has a problem. Returning to the design, you will see that the front and top faces of each speaker are covered by a matte perforated grille, and the back of each unit has been flattened to enable it to sit flush against walls. More than 12 inches tall and more than 6 inches broad describe each speaker unit.

Sony HT-A9 review: Sound

The wide dispersion of the HT-speakers A9’s is immediately noticeable and certainly excellent, though we still maintain a fair dose of scepticism regarding phantom channels and sound bubbles. When watching the unstoppable race from Ready Player One in Dolby Atmos, the vehicles’ frantic zipping and weaving across the soundfield gives the viewer a real sense of distance and action. Four equally sized, capable, and expansive speakers allow for the effective transmission of sounds from both the front and off-screen. Furthermore, it has a finer texture and precision than any soundbar package we’ve used, making it more immersive. We discover that the system operates best at greater levels of drive, with the HT-A9 offering a respectable amount of low end and attack. However, when King Kong joins the competition, adding the sub to the setup gives it considerably more scale and appears to enhance the mid-range in the satellite speakers. The vehicles’ screeches and skids, on the other hand, are full of fizz towards the top end. However, it avoids being harsh and instead adds an engaging amount of expansiveness and richness.

Sony HT-A9 review: Remote Control

Only two buttons on the Sony HT-A9 have been moved; otherwise, the buttons’ design, size, and placement are all the same as on the A7000. You have access to the Immersive AE (which I advise you to turn on and forget about), volume, surround, and subwoofer settings, as well as playback controls, in addition to controlling the input source. The remote control is practical, simple to use, and intuitive.

Sony HT-A9 review: Connectivity

Let’s look at the connection possibilities that the HT-A9 offers presently. One HDMI input and one HDMI output, an Ethernet port for wired connection to a local network, an s-center output, and a USB-A utilised for firmware updates may all be found on the back of the main connection box. That pretty about sums it up. The HT-A9 allows video pass-through with both an input and an output, but due to the system’s single input, it cannot be used as a hub. The output also has eARC, giving you far more freedom in how you can connect the system to meet your unique requirements. Last but not least, we also receive HDMI-CEC and Bravia Sync.

Sony HT-A9 review: Price

Sony’s HT-A9 speaker system combines the convenience and streaming capabilities of a soundbar with the consistency and immersion of a classic surround package to deliver realistic home theatre sound without pretence. This is an approachable and spacious setup that would work well for folks with big families or who live in cramped quarters and who want to bring enjoyable music to their living room without being precious. Its placement is highly forgiving. There are, of course, limits to what it can achieve, and while the HT-A9 outperforms nearly all soundbars of a similar price range in terms of tonal range, precision, and expansiveness, the system lacks some of the fidelity and transparency we would anticipate from a conventional speaker setup.

Sony HT-A9 review: Verdict

We had no notion what to expect from such a system when we began our review. We were unsure of its behaviour because it was neither a soundbar nor a separate speaker. After seeing everything, we are confident that the HT-A9 is in a class of its own because it combines numerous benefits from both worlds into a single device that we are sure many people will find useful. On the plus side, the system is made to be incredibly simple to use and set up. Setting it up resembled setting up a soundbar. It was built with excellent craftsmanship and has a highly contemporary design. It has a tonne of options for both local and internet streaming to keep everyone happy, but its sound quality was its best benefit. When it comes to surround sound, the HT-A9 is incredibly impressive, and the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology is even more impressive because it multiplies your sense of immersion by creating phantom speakers all around you.

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