Sony HTZ9F Review: Great Sound for a 3.1 Channel Soundbar

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Check out this quick Sony HTZ9F review if you’re in the market for top-notch performance in a compact package. Sony advertises the HTZ9F as an example of the manufacturer’s signal processing chops.

This review seeks to find out if the soundbar comes as advertised.

Sony HTZ9F review: Unboxing and first looks

The Sony HTZ9F is a glossy, black device that’s 40 inches long. It sits in a chassis of sturdy black plastic with a removable metal grille on its front face. Its companion subwoofer is a wooden cabinet with a mesh cloth cover at the front and a bass port at the back.

Sony HTZ9F review

Along with the soundbar and subwoofer ship a five-foot HDMI cable, two power cables, a remote, and a pair of batteries. Also included are a few user manuals, mounting brackets, and screws.

Inputs and connectivity

For starters, Sony included a pair of HDMI-In ports that allow the HTZ9F to accommodate all sorts of audio formats. The soundbar also comes with the following ports:

  • HDMI Out/ARC port
  • Digital optical output
  • 3.5mm aux port
  • USB port
  • Ethernet jack

This selection of ports allows the soundbar to act as a hub for multiple devices in your entertainment center. Bluetooth and WiFi provide the connectivity you need for wireless playback and other smart functions. Lastly, there’s an IR repeater at the back, just in case the soundbar blocks the TV’s own IR receiver.

Sony HTZ9F review: Soundstage

Not all soundbars render audio that includes overhead sound. The Sony HTZ9F does, though. Despite lacking height channels, the soundbar uses a signal processing module (which goes by the name Vertical Surround Engine) to simulate overhead sound. The resulting audio is convincing and you will resist the urge to duck during that aerial assault in your favorite war movie.

As for surround sound, Sony uses a second signal processing module to simulate an immersive sound stage. The soundbar succeeds in making you believe that sound is coming from beside and behind you, which is impressive.

[Read what others are saying about this sound bar]

Frequency range

The Sony HTZ9F has a sound palette that ranges from 49Hz to 6.2kHz. This seems narrow when you compare the HTZ9F to its competition. Yet the soundbar does a great job with what it has. The sound coming out of this audio rig is accurate and crisp, with a good level of detail.

Features

Being a smart soundbar, the Sony HTZ9F allows for wireless streaming via Chromecast. It is compatible with any smart speaker that runs Google Assistant, so you can control the soundbar with voice commands. Chromecast also allows you to include the soundbar in a multi-room setup of audio devices within the home network.

Pros

  • The soundbar does a good job of simulating surround sound and height
  • Accurate bass reproduction delivers bass that is deep and clear, with a good level of detail
  • Excellent dialog enhancement thanks to a dedicated center channel
  • A good selection of ports, including a pair of HDMI-In ports that allow support for all sound formats
  • Useful digital display
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Wireless playback over Bluetooth or WiFi

Cons

  • This is one of the more expensive soundbars in the market
  • Lack of satellite speakers limits the ability of the HTZ9F to produce surround sound
  • The soundbar lacks upward-firing speakers which limits the delivery of true Dolby Atmos sound
  • No equalizer control, only treble and bass adjustment

Sony HTZ9F review: Great performance, at a price

This Sony HTZ9F concludes that the soundbar makes maximum use of its hardware. It does a good job of simulating height and surround sound. However, the keyword here is ‘simulate’. This begs the question: Can you find an actual surround sound system at a similar price point? The answer is yes and yes.

However, you will be trading a compact sound system for a larger one. You will also need to do a little legwork to find a soundbar that has the smart features of the Sony HTZ9F. Click here to learn more about this sound bar.

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