Great small package with diverse capabilities
June 12, 2018
I am music and sound affectionate and I have been fortunate to have decent systems through my life.
Lately I was looking to a sound bar to replace my old Sony HT CT260 and at the same time get an upgrade with the budget stablished at 1K.
After researching several sound bars in that price range and reading reviews and manuals, yes someone read manuals even not owning the product, I decided to do sound test with my top choices: Denon Home cinema Heos HS 2 and Sony HT-Z9F.
On paper Sony had all the features I am looking for; Wi-Fi connectivity, all Dolby protocols including Dolby Atmos, High resolution music capabilities and a center channel.
Listing closely they were a similar for my ears. I choose Sony because I have a TV Sony and the fact that it has Dolby Atmos, a dedicated amplified center channel and High resolution music upscaling software.
It also helps knowing that I will be able to acquire the wireless rear speakers in the future moving to a real 5.1 setup.
The sound produced by this sound bar is incredible on definition, texture and different frequencies and it is as loud as the total 400 watts.
The sub-woofer has not only strong sonic abilities with its deep bass but has the tightness and definition expected on upscale systems. It also integrates it sound seamlessly to the bar giving a much unified experience regardless you are watching movies or listening to music.
In relation to the music, they are some important points in order to adjust the experience to your sound signature preferences:
a) In order to use the High Resolution upscaling capability (DSEE HX) you have to use the advanced set up correctly and it will work only when Music or Auto Sound is selected. Actually, for some low quality (kpbs) MP3 files the sound will be somehow harsh and on this case you must turn this off. First of all it is very strange for me, that someone buys a High resolution capable system and use the lowest quality MP3s to play in this system. For more details refer to page 52 on the manual.
b) The tone adjustment; old fashion bass and treble, it is in this system called “Level”, and contradicts some reviews where it is claimed impossible to adjust highs and lows in the system. You need to access advanced settings, then speaker and select level. You will be able to increase or decrease the output by 6dB in 0.5 increments like any other equalizer. The front speaker adjustment will change the treble response and the subwoofer the bass response.
c) In order to get the best musical performances you have to turn DRC off. It compress the dynamic range making the music sound flat.
Overall after adjusting this system I was able to experience a sound quality that I did not expected from such small speaker’s drivers in such elegant design. I strongly recommend this sound bar!