Today, we review the Sony HT-A9. This is a new soundbar released in 2021 from electronics giant Sony.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is not a soundbar, but it is classified as one in spite of the fact that it comes in five main parts, a control box and four smaller satellite speakers. This helps to provide a really impressive soundstage and 360 degree audio.

Setup

The setup of the soundbar is really simple. The HT-A9 transmitter connects via HDMI, so you can plug it into your gaming system or Blu-Ray player with ease. The rest of the satellite speakers then connect automatically.

The HT-A9 allows you to optimize the speaker based on the acoustics of the room, using Sound Field Optimization and calibration to get the most out of your system setup.

Sony’s system is bulkier than some of the competing models on the list, and the satellite speakers are quite tall, so they won’t be ideal to sit in front of your screen. Instead, most people scatter them around the room to optimize the sound, and use calibration to get the most out of Dolby Atmos and other immersive formats.

Sound Enhancement

The soundbar has many ways in which you can enhance the sound. The first, and most influential, is the addition of a subwoofer or “bass module.” This can be bought separately from the Sony brand, and helps to make up a small shortfall in the one real weakness of the HT-A9 soundbar; bass. The low end is fine for most purposes, but if you want a real rumble when you’re watching a movie, a sub is almost essential.

The Sony soundbar also has a number of ways you can change the audio experience. EQ presets such as ‘surround’ and ‘cinema’ settings as well as ‘music’ if you are listening to your favorite albums.

You can also choose to switch the upward firing drivers on and off. Dolby Atmos content will need the up-firing, but for some listening purposes you might choose not to utilize it.

Sound

We’ve already mentioned the fact that the bass frequencies aren’t quite as well covered as some options, especially if you choose not to bolt on the subwoofer. However, in the mids and highs, you get an incredible level of detail and clarity. The upfiring speakers help to provide an incredible immersive experience.

Sony has turned to technology to help with room correction and optimizing the sound to your own space is simple. The HT-A9 quickly provides a professional sound with a stunning soundstage.

Is the Sony HT-A9 Worth The Price?

It’s on the upper-middle range of the high-end soundbar market. If you’re looking to get a budget product, the Sony HT-A9 might not be your best option, but if you are looking for crystal clear audio in the highs and mids, and a super simple setup then this could be the soundbar for you. Remember that it is one of the bulkier options out there, so make sure you have the space for it before taking the plunge. If you do, exceptional clarity and Atmos 3D has never been easier

About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his site, Subreel.
IAA Sonic Brand & Dolby Atmos Channel Test
Our cutting edge sound collage and downloadable channel test for Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround sound.