Sony HT-ZF9 3 – Good but not sure the atmos badge makes it worth the full price.

Well i will start by saying it comes in a most unusual shaped box – ‘l’ shaped. Next i already have my tv hooked up to two sound system, one full dolby atmos compatible and of course all other sound formats with dolby vision support. For general tv and to save electricity i have it also hooked up by optical cable to a compact stereo system. The first system has seven speaker units + sub woofer (20 speakers)the compact system has two speaker units + sub woofer (5 speakers)this system from sony has one speaker unit + sub woofer (4 speakers) – also physically the smallest speakers. Un-boxing the system is easy enough and the two units need mains power (plugs actually fitted with 3 amp fuses, well done sony for electrical safety). The system comes with a demo 4k uhd disc which plays a demo (under 3 minutes long in a loop) to show how well it works (the same or very similar audio demo is built into the soundbar). The demo disc sounds an awful lot more immersive on my main audio system. To link to your tv it either needs an hdmi arc socket (but it must have hdcp 2. 2 support) or as a fall back an optical cable (provided) but i don’t think optical supports more modern sound formats e. I spent an hour trying to get it to work with my 2017 lg 4k tv using arc (audio channel return) but i suspect that connection to my tv is not hdcp 2. 2 (it’s other hdmi connections are). Giving up on arc the optical cable worked first time (but with a slight sound sync issue). No hdmi cables are provided with the system.

Aesthetics========looks great, however it’s pretty long, and didn’t fit very well on my tv cabinet. It comes with wall hooks, which i think many will use (it doesn’t suit my corner install). The sub is pretty big however. The unit has a very high quality feel, and you can use it with or without the front grille. Sound=====very impressed by the sound quality, for tv and movies, it really did sound immersive, it’s a hugely powerful setup that is capable of great things. However to make the best of it. , you should budget for the rear speakers. I’m planning on buying some soon, as it’s not quite there without them (but still darn impressive). There is build in chromecast music, and this worked really well on sony’s end (less well on google’s end, as youtube music needs a subscription to cast music, youtube can’t cast music at all, and google music casts audio on the free plan, and it’s basically an inconsistent mess). I found i was better to stream bluetooth (which thankfully supports the very high quality ldac, in both transmit and receive modes).

We bought an lg oled e7v 55′ tv in august 2017, a major feature of which was its built-in soundbar. I reviewed it at the time and suggested that it was probably better to buy the considerably cheaper b7v and a separate soundbar as the sound wasn’t actually very good. Amazon deleted the review after a few weeks though, for some reason. I’ve been toying with getting a separate soundbar ever since, so was very pleased to be offered this one from sony to try out. The box it arrives in is rather unusally shaped (like a rather solid ‘l’) and it’s also very heavy. Most of the weight comes from the floor standing speaker. The soundbar itself is not particularly heavy. There are little wall brackets for the soundbar included if you need them. It’s really easy to set up, but you should note that you’ll need at least one, or possibly two decent quality 2. 0 hdmi leads to connect it to your blu-ray player and tv, depending on the hdmi sockets the tv has. It comes with an optical cable that will get it connected to your tv (if it has the appropriate socket), but you can’t access any menus on-screen without the hdmi lead. Once you’ve plugged the soundbar and speaker into a wall socket (two 240v sockets are needed), and connected the soundbar to the tv, all you have to do if switch it on with the remote (batteries included) and off it goes. It’s very intuitive and i had it working within only five minutes or so of unpacking it. There’s a good instruction booklet and a quick start up leaflet included too.

I already have a sony ht-xt2 soundbase, which provides superb sound quality, volume and bass to my tv. The xt2 is an all-in-one unit with built-in woofers. In terms of footprint, the zf9’s base is considerably smaller, but requires space for the active subwoofer. The zf9 is a far better choice for wall-mounted tvs than the xt2. I have my tv mounted to a rotating stand, so i have shelf space for the speakers, and the zf9 is strangely more difficult to house, because of that subwoofer. The zf9’s soundbar is certainly far more attractive than the xt2 (especially with the front grille removed), but the subwoofer is a plain looking black box that really could do with being hidden away. As a non-directional sound, you can put this behind a sofa and being a bluetooth device, you can do that without worrying about having to chase cables away. Excellentusing the hdmi arc port means you can control everything you need through the hdmi cable without the need to use optical cables. The built-in chromecast doesn’t have screenshare, though, so while you can use the speaker for music, i couldn’t cast video from my phone through the speaker. However, i have this feature built into my tv, but don’t assume it gives you screenshare.

I brough this as a replacement for my old sony sounder (2012), i had read a lot of reviews on line and through it could be a good option. In the end was disappointed with the lack of punch from the sub. I also tried several atmos films and the effect just didn’t work. Went for a bose soundbar 700 instead.

This is a relatively high-end soundbar, intended to act as a half-way house between the speakers in your tv (which are usually not that great) and a proper multichannel surround audio system. Opening the (reassuringly weighty) box reveals the bar itself, a subwoofer, and a few accessories – remote, wall brackets for the soundbar, and instruction manuals. There is an optical cable included, but the lack of an hdmi cable seems a bit mean, given this is basically useless without one. It’s trivial to set up – plug the bar and subwoofer into the mains (two separate plugs required), and connect the bar to your tv via hdmi or optical cable. The connection between the soundbar and the sub is wireless and completely automatic, which makes setting it up simple and keeps the lounge tidy-ish. There are a few settings to make for which you will need the onscreen display from the soundbar; this makes hooking it up a bit less obvious, as you will need to connect the hdmi out from the soundbar to an arc-compatible input on your tv (one which sends the audio back out of the tv) in order for this to work. Without the onscreen display, you can’t set up wi-fi (needed for spotify and the like) or create bluetooth connections. I hooked it up to my sony oled tv and my blu-ray player, and watched some of my usual demo content. The first thing to note is that this does a lot of processing, but it doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination produce surround – there is no sound at all from behind you, and the alleged ‘vertical surround’ feature really doesn’t make sound come from the ceiling; it just creates a wider soundstage which sounds, if i’m honest, a bit muddled. There are multiple processing modes – cinema, music, game etc; i found that cinema sounded most ‘impressive’, while music sounded a lot more accurate to the original sound, but it lost a lot of impact; you will need to carefully choose which to use, although there is an ‘auto’ button which tries to guess the right setting based on what you are watching.

  • It’s good. But don’t expect the Odeon.
  • Brilliant but surround speakers really required to do it justice.
  • Phenomenal sound reproduction on this setup.

Highly recommended if you don’t have space for longer high end soundbar ht-st5000. This soundbar will provide you crystal clear 3d 4k sound. Great for gaming and my dog is mesmerised.

Very easy to set up and will look the part next to your tv. In terms of functionality, i was blown away (literally) by the audio quality from such a compact system.

I have waited a while before writing this review just to be certain that my initial feelings continued. This is a very good soundbar indeed. There are many professional reviews out there that support this view, too. My son is going to be using it once he gets his new tv for christmas (to use the sony soundbar, your tv needs to have either an hdmi arc or an optical out – his current set has neither). The lucky chap will be having this because we recently invested in a sonos surround sound system and so can’t sensibly use it, except in a bedroom which would be overkill. I didn’t think this sony – less half the price of the sonos – would stand a chance in comparison. But it does – it most certainly does. It’s true that it doesn’t feel quite so solidly constructed as the sonos, and – unless you buy them as extras – there are no rear speakers for full 5. 1 surround sound (i do think they would be very worthwhile buying if you can push to them.

Purchased this elsewhere as there was a limited special offer on, however, the amazon price is still very competitive. When i bought my system, i had to wait a couple of days for the two rear speakers to arrive, so i was first able to test just the soundbar and subwoofer. These on their own make a massive difference when watching movies, and you do get a sense of the sound all around you (especially with an atmos or dts-x soundtrack). When the two rear speakers arrived, they made a noticeable difference and you can make out even more faint sounds that were not clear without them. Set up was really easy, just plug it all in, and the system take care of the rest. Even adding the two rear speakers was no more difficult than putting them on the correct side of the room, and to avoid any confusion there’s even a little diagram. Once plugged in, they connected on their own in just a few seconds.

I’ll cut straight to the point here, as far as sound bars go it sounds pretty good, i’ll go as far as to say i’ve never heard a better sound bar tbh. . But i’ve only heard a few. I’ve got mine hooked up to my apple tv and the latest apple tv update comes with dolby atmos sound support. I selected dolby atmos picked a really recent film in netflix and held my breath. Yeah it sounded good, far better than my old yammaha sound bar which in fairness was a sixth of the price so you’d hope it beat it. But could i hear rain drops coming off my ceiling. Could i even hear sound coming from all around me on the horizontal axis, not really. Like most soundbars the sound just tends to sound like its coming from straight in front of you. I’ve even sat in rooms with dedicated speakers all around me and its quite rare that sound ever plays out of the ones behind you, most stuff you watch has 99% of the sound just coming out of the speakers directly in front of you. Dont get me wrong, the sound bar sounds good, the vocals are nice and clear and the base is excellent. But i just doun’t get that surround sound feeling, let alone a vertical sound feeling. I know theres rear speakers you can buy, but the shape of my room doesn’t really support that as my sofa is against the back wall already.

Features of Sony HT-ZF9 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS X Soundbar with High-Resolution Audio, Wi-fi and Subwoofer, Works with Amazon Alexa – Black

  • Make sure this fits
    by entering your model number.
  • Immerse yourself in 3 Dimensional sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X
  • Sony’s unique Vertical Surround Engine delivers all around sound from 3 front speakers only
  • Wireless music listening: Access to over 100 music streaming apps with Chromecast Built-in and Spotify connect, and playback throughout your home with Wireless Multi-room
  • High-Resolution Audio listening. Works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Picture perfect sound thanks to 4K HDR and Dolby Vision pass-through

From the manufacturer

Total immersion, exceptional realism

Sony HT-ZF9.

Hear sound from all directions with max 7.1.2 surround sound

dolby atmos ; dtsX

hi res audio wireless

DOLBY ATMOS

Vertical Surround Engine, our latest surround technology lets you enjoy the thrill of the latest cinema audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in a single slim unit.

DTS:X decoding delivers multi-dimensional surround sound that adapts to your speaker configuration in real time. Sounds can be positioned precisely around and above you thanks to 9 speaker channels (including Phantom Surround speakers) and object-based audio decoding.

High-Resolution audio wireless streaming

LDAC is an audio technology from Sony that transmits approximately three times more data than conventional bluetooth wireless audio, allowing you to enjoy High-Resolution Audio experience.

Vertical Surround Engine

No matter what type of room you’re in, its three front speakers reproduce ‘vertical’, creating virtual surround sound that seems to come from all around you.

S-Force PRO Front Surround

S-Force PRO Front Surround with wavefront technology emulates a natural, three-dimensional sound field, all from a single soundbar and subwoofer.

Everything upscaled close to 7.1.2ch

Now you can enjoy everything you watch in maximum 7.1.2ch sound. Our advanced digital signal processing converts any audio to immersive surround with just the click of a button on the remote.1

Choose the perfect setting: A button for every sound

Cinema mode

Feel and hear the action all around you, as sound travels behind you and immerses you in cinema.

Game Studio mode

Experience gaming action all around you. The feeling of movement and distance of objects is reproduced for a more immersive experience, and dialogue is optimised for clarity.

Music Mode

Hear all the vividness and richness of your favourite music in fine detail.

Sport mode

Enjoy sport as if you were at the stadium. Ambient crowd noise is fine-tuned so you can feel the pitch-side excitement without losing what the commentators have to say.

google home, alexa

Enjoy all your movies in 4K HDR quality

With the latest 4K HDR 18Gbps pass through and HDCP 2.2, the HT-ZF9 is made for the latest home cinema formats.

Bring your equipment together

Connect via HDMI, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth and more to enjoy music and movies from different sources.

Works with Google Home and Alexa

With Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can voice control Sony’s audio products. You can turn up the volume, skip to the next track, or stop the music, all without lifting a finger.

Chromecast built-in

Stream music, online radio and podcasts from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your audio device. Just tap the Cast button.

Make sure this fits
by entering your model number.

I have delayed submitting my review until i could herat my his in action with the optiional rear speakers. Don’t get me wrong, the supplier soundbar with two satellite speakers and subwoofer is a very capable performer in its own right. Sound projection is very good, subclarity is excellent and the effect with a dramatic soundtrack or action scenes is far, far better than you will ever get with even a top end modern tv. The sub-woofer does a great job and of course it can be positioned anywhere, even behind a sofa. Setting up to obtain the best sound impact requires a little effort to input some basic information such as distance to sitting position and, get full functionality, you really need a reasonably up to date tv that has the relevant comma ports and hdmi standard. I will point you in the direction of the sony website or the informative what hi-fi for the technical low down. . My set up summary is that was relatively easy and nowhere as bad as my traditional,sony home cinema set up. 1 sound system, it is therefore well worth consideration, even with the relatively high price. However, if you have the desire and your budget can stretch to it, adding the optional ( and tad expensive) rear speakers adds a whole new dimension giving you a fully fledged bluetooth 5.

To compliment my sony kd sd65 8505 smart tv – as tv speakers are poor for that size tv. Had a problem to start which sony sorted out over the phone. The cat was asleep and shot out of the room when the sub-woofer came in at a film we were watching expensive but definitely the best – especially if you have a sony tv. I did a lot research before we bought.

So, i have been using the ht-zf9 for the last week and i am impressed – like all sony products quality is a given. At around the £700 mark i would say that this is expensive for what it is – for a 3:1 channel system. , anyway i do have a 7:1 system which i have owned for just over a year – the award-winning sony ht-s500, which is in a class of its own (and costs nearly twice as much as the ht-zf9) but if you can afford the extra outlay is the only soundbar to go for – i abandoned my up-market yamaha speakers when i got that beautyback to the ht-zf9 – it is easy to set up and sounds good – although the dolby atmos experience isn’t anywhere near the quality from the ht-s5000, it certainly does a good job of fooling you. I enjoyed watching christopher nolan’s dunkirk again with its foreboding soundtrack filling my living room, as well as watching the wonderful man in the high castle and listening to all of its musical subtleties and fine detail in the production of this outstanding tv series. I have been spoiled by the ht-s5000 but the ht-zf9 is certainly worthy of an audition. Mine will be going into our second reception room for when me and my wife want to watch different things 🙂 make sure you check out what hifi’s review, too. If you have a flat screen tvdon’t put up with the inadeqacies of built in speakers – you are missing out on so much.

3 1 ch dolby atmos/dts x soundbar. Audio sound is awesome movies and music sound brilliant on this soundbar.

This new unit from sony has sublime surround sound, excellent features and a surprisingly authentic reproduction of dolby atmos. Height aspect can seem subtle at first until you realise the sound is far higher than the bar placement and a sudden plane or helicopter whirr on screen seems somehow above you. Then you realise that the atmos reproduction is there. This is a brilliant new audio product from sony that rewards your time spent configuring it. Like all such units they can sound flat initially and need a little time to set-up in the right way. The optional rear speakers add a huge amount and are recommended. This is a sophisticated unit that rewards time spent getting to know the settings. In particular adjusting the speaker levels and distance to fit your requirements adds a lot. Everything connected easily and without any fuss. I turned the rear speaker gain up in the main settings and the extremely powerful subwoofer down to get a more balanced, expansive sound. Do play around with the modes – cinema mode is stunning and sports works perfectly too. For an old programme or film in mono the complex processing itsn’t required, so put it into music or news mode instead. The optional ‘dolby virtualizer’ is great to hear but locks out the various modes and settings.

A very good product but after reading all reviews i got the impression that the unit on its own was adequate and immersive. To be honest, i was indecisive whether to order the surround speakers on top of this as it increases the price substantially but having done so i would say that basically don’t order the unit without them. They make a substantial difference and sony should never have sold the zf9 without them. The other thing to bear in mind is that you need to go into the advanced menu and set your speaker distance manually. This does not happen automatically. You must also enable the enhanced hdmi setting if you have a 4k input source and make sure you order decent quality ethernet hdmi leads that can deal with the high speed connection. A great product but expensive when adding in the necessary surround speakers.

Immerse yourself in 3 Dimensional sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X

Excellent soundbar and subwoofer,fantastic sound quality when watching sports and films. I purchased the rear matching speakers and these took it to another level. A real must have to go with the sound bar and subwoofer. I have no problems with the mid range that has been mentioned on other reviews and the bass is awesome. Quite simple to set up and a really decent theatre sound i couldn’t do without it now, not the cheapest by a long shot but living proof you get what you pay for. Then as an extra bonus the subwoofer is wireless and if you purchase the rear speakers these are to, they all connect instantly and seamlessly this is a great setup.

I can’t really feel the atmos surround sound that was promised so not seeing the benefit of the high price compared to non atmos alternatives. Has 2 hdmi inputs and 1 arc out. Lots of good connectivity features.

The sony ht-zf9 soundbar and sub combo, whether or not twinned with its sa-z9r rear speakers, aims to offer a remarkably compact, simple and relatively inexpensive route to dolby atmos (an increasingly industry supported audio format which extends the 360 degree soundscape offered by various 5. 1 options to include the dimension of height. As well as making the sound appear all around you, atmos adds sound-space above and below you. Spaceships roar overhead and raindrops fall past your face to the ground. It creates a sphere of sound around the viewer rather than a circle. It’s a great effect and genuinely cinematic). Making it work in practice is another matter. The only sure-fire way of making a sound come from a certain direction is to have a speaker to deliver it from that place. Anything else is a trick, which whilst not necessarily being a synonym for ‘con’, does add some serious limitations.

Sony’s ht-zf9 soundbar is one of the higher priced soundbar systems within their 2018 range and you have two packages to choose from: soundbar with subwoofer or both mentioned with the addition of some wireless rear speakers; obviously with the latter you will get the better audio experience, however if you can’t afford to go for the higher package, the good news is, you can buy the rear speakers separately at a later date. At the time of this review, i have just the soundbar and subwoofer package. The ht-zf9 has a fair amount to offer from virtual surround sound, dolby atmos / dtx support, ability to add additional wireless speakers and multiple inputs for audio connectivity. Packaging wise, it comes in a fairly big l-shaped box and everything is well padded keeping the contents secure and safe, however not so over the top that it’s hard to get the contents out. It’s important to note as the product photos don’t give you a good idea of the scale; the soundbar measures across at 100cm, which is pretty long. When it comes to setting the unit up, in theory it’s extremely simple, however it really depends on your current set-up, for example: i have a 55′ tv that’s tightly placed under the stairs in my living room. Getting behind to access the power outlets and mess with the jungle of wires, is why it took me so long, but in reality, it’s done in a few quick steps. 1) connect up to two hdmi devices into the soundbar (no hdmi cables are included). 2) connect your soundbar to your tv via the hdmi out port; if your tv has a arc (audio return channel) hdmi port, then ensure it’s connected to that port on your tv. 3) if your tv doesn’t have a hdmi port with arc, connect your tv and soundbar via optical cable (cable included).

Sony’s unique Vertical Surround Engine delivers all around sound from 3 front speakers only

Wireless music listening: Access to over 100 music streaming apps with Chromecast Built-in and Spotify connect, and playback throughout your home with Wireless Multi-room

High-Resolution Audio listening.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony HT-ZF9 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS X Soundbar with High-Resolution Audio, Wi-fi and Subwoofer, Works with Amazon Alexa - Black
Rating
5.0 of 5 stars, based on 27 reviews

One thought on “Sony HT-ZF9 3 – Good but not sure the atmos badge makes it worth the full price.

  1. This review is from : Sony HT-ZF9 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS X Soundbar with High-Resolution Audio, Wi-fi and Subwoofer, Works with Amazon Alexa – Black

    I’m using this with the (pretty good) sony bravia kd49xe8004 4k tv, and it replaces my (pretty poor) sony ht-ct390 sound bar. It basically can be taken straight out of the box, plug into the mains and into the tv via hdmi (make sure to use the hdmi arc socket). Firstly, the sound quality is way better than the ht-ct390 in terms of clarity and bass (but do note that although the atmos does make a heck of a difference, but i don’t have extra/rear speakers to experience the ‘full’ surround effect). Aside from the sound, the functionality and reliability of this far outshines the ht-ct390. I had no end of connection issues with this and i only kept it because it was way cheaper and actually enhanced my movie watching (as the tv lacks any oomph on it’s own). I’ve finally been able to enjoy bluetooth streaming fully without loss of connection. The alexa function works fine, but i’m not exactly a heavy voice-bot user – other may love this more. I live in a generally small flat, but if you have a larger room, i’d recommend you get into the settings for this sound bar and fine tune to get maximum sound pleasure.
    • I’m using this with the (pretty good) sony bravia kd49xe8004 4k tv, and it replaces my (pretty poor) sony ht-ct390 sound bar. It basically can be taken straight out of the box, plug into the mains and into the tv via hdmi (make sure to use the hdmi arc socket). Firstly, the sound quality is way better than the ht-ct390 in terms of clarity and bass (but do note that although the atmos does make a heck of a difference, but i don’t have extra/rear speakers to experience the ‘full’ surround effect). Aside from the sound, the functionality and reliability of this far outshines the ht-ct390. I had no end of connection issues with this and i only kept it because it was way cheaper and actually enhanced my movie watching (as the tv lacks any oomph on it’s own). I’ve finally been able to enjoy bluetooth streaming fully without loss of connection. The alexa function works fine, but i’m not exactly a heavy voice-bot user – other may love this more. I live in a generally small flat, but if you have a larger room, i’d recommend you get into the settings for this sound bar and fine tune to get maximum sound pleasure.
  2. This review is from : Sony HT-ZF9 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS X Soundbar with High-Resolution Audio, Wi-fi and Subwoofer, Works with Amazon Alexa – Black

    I was so excited to get my hand on this sound bar to go along with my sony tv but all my high expectations were crushed once i tried the unit. First the hdmi/arc out port on the soundbar was in a very funny acute angle that was frustratingly difficult to plug an hdmi cable in. Secondly, we could not get any signal on the tv despite trying at least 3 high-speed hdmi cables. With a lot of frustration, i have tried to connect the sound bar to my tv with no luck for at least 3 hours. I would not recommend this sound bar and if you are into sound bars better look for an alternative.
    • I was so excited to get my hand on this sound bar to go along with my sony tv but all my high expectations were crushed once i tried the unit. First the hdmi/arc out port on the soundbar was in a very funny acute angle that was frustratingly difficult to plug an hdmi cable in. Secondly, we could not get any signal on the tv despite trying at least 3 high-speed hdmi cables. With a lot of frustration, i have tried to connect the sound bar to my tv with no luck for at least 3 hours. I would not recommend this sound bar and if you are into sound bars better look for an alternative.

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