Sony HT A9 impressions?

Soldato
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Associate
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Mine is here but I very inconveniently caught Covid again :mad: and SWMBO decided to paint the walls in my room "to improve your TV contrast" she actually said :cry:

Anyway real reason for this particular post.

June 2022 Home Cinema Choice Review by Steve May - 5/5 and Home Cinema Choice Best Buy Award.

"There’s no question that the HT-A9 creates a more involving soundstage than the majority of Dolby Atmos soundbars, even posh ones with upfiring Dolby Atmos drivers, but remarkably it’s also equal to a good mid-range AV receiver and physical loudspeaker package.

There is, of course, one obvious shortfall: that single HDMI input on the control box is a limitation. The system relies on your screen’s ability to act as the primary switch and source for AV gear and streaming services. You’ll need to take stock of your setup to see just how practical this restriction proves to be. As an alternative to a soundbar and even a full-blown home cinema system in a living room space, though, Sony HT-A9 is hugely impressive with movies, games and music. In fact, I’d say this inaugural implementation of 360 Spatial Sound Mapping with Monopole Synthesis is as much of a game changer as it is a tongue twister. Get an audition – I reckon you’ll be over the moon!"

"WE SAY: This stunning four-speaker system creates convincing immersive audio, with phantom speakers that sound smoother than the real thing. The results are astonishing."
 
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As the OP of this thread just an update from me, have ordered on Curry's!! They seem to be getting intermittent stock as it's been going in and out of stock on there yesterday and today. Very excited to give it a try!! No sub yet and will have to play it quieter than I like for now as still in a flat but will be great to give it a try :)
 
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Interested to hear people's opinions, particularly anyone moving over from one of the top-end Samsung soundbar setups, Q950 etc.
 
Soldato
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I stuck an early one up on another forum.

"So here are my early initial thoughts after having a play around tonight.

High disk quality content - Dolby Atmos True HD / DTS:X sounds absolutely phenomenal. The sound bubble really is that good. The center channel is also just as good as the Sonos was if not even slightly better with the direction.

Sports - Watched Tottenham Vs Arsenal in uhd with Atmos. Again the sound bubble was that good that it felt so immersive seeing how the crowd was noisy tonight.

Streaming content - Find it's just as good as above (Atmos side) except you have to up the volume by about 10-15 to match the disk version. It's probably a little less clear but not that much of a difference. Center channel again is spot on.

Standard 5.1 content on streaming is fine as well, but find again have to up the volume by about another 10 for it to be clear and loud enough. Center channel once again perfectly fine no issues. (tested a Simpsons episode).

Same goes for normal TV (sky q). Tried BBC, ITV and a few others. It's pretty much the same as above.

In terms of vs the Sonos so far, I can confirm the immersiveness is far greater, the center channel does just as good a job if not better. Where I would say the Sonos better performs is at lower levels. The Sony is actually very quiet at anything below 30 and that's where it falls flat. Sounds more just like your TV speaker, where as Sonos was still very clear at the lower levels. However, where I find the Sony really outshines the Sonos is the actual content level all flows perfectly. With my Sonos I always found that the loud scenes and music would sometimes just ramp up too much and you ended up having to turn it down or up during a movie to combat it. The Sony doesn't do this and it just has perfect balance. Setup was far easier as well and no walking round flapping your arms like a chicken anymore for trueplay.

I haven't managed to test music properly yet, but will give that a go tomorrow.

Current settings I am using are as follows:

Standard modes which can be changed on remote:

Sound: Auto or cinema

Voice: On

Immersive AI: On

Modes changed in advanced options:

Audio DRC: Off

Sound effect: Sound mode On

Advanced auto volume: Off

All in all, I am very happy. Haven't had any dropouts or issues yet (touch wood) and don't feel I've lost anything from the Sonos, but have gained from the Sony. It definitely needs the sub, but I'll purchase that once the Sonos is sold."

I'll do a more thorough one once I have the sub, as sold all my Sonos stuff at the weekend, just need to get it ordered and work out where I can place it. Have since found the sound lowness issue can be sorted if you have advanced auto volume on. Is much better for normal content viewing, but switch it off for movies.
 
Soldato
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So I'm sticking with these settings below. After testing various movies, programs, all the different codecs, I'm happy with how it all sounds in my room. Find it makes the center channel the best it can possibly be but still keeps that really good sound bubble.

Remote modes:
Sound: Auto
Voice: On
Immersive AI: On

Modes changed in advanced options:
Audio DRC: Off
Sound effect: Sound mode On
Advanced auto volume: On
 
Associate
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So I'm sticking with these settings below. After testing various movies, programs, all the different codecs, I'm happy with how it all sounds in my room. Find it makes the center channel the best it can possibly be but still keeps that really good sound bubble.

Remote modes:
Sound: Auto
Voice: On
Immersive AI: On

Modes changed in advanced options:
Audio DRC: Off
Sound effect: Sound mode On
Advanced auto volume: On
Same except voice off and advanced auto volume off.

Do you mess around with the levels of the rears? Do you max it or keep it at 6 or 8?
 
Soldato
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Same except voice off and advanced auto volume off.

Do you mess around with the levels of the rears? Do you max it or keep it at 6 or 8?

I've got the rears on 10. Personal preference again, but that's where Sonos lacked. I might try manually tune it at the weekend with a sound meter and get them all at same volume and see how that is.

I find with voice and auto off the center channel is too weak. Also find anything below volume 30 is weak as well.
 
Soldato
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I know you guys don't have subs yet. But, have you tried it for music yet? I know Simmz said he was going to try music out when he had time.

Have you found the one HDMI input to be a limitation yet?
 
Associate
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I have the Sw-5 Sub. Not tried for Music yet.

I have an A90J Tv so 4 hdmi inc the EARC to the A9.

I use PS5, Zappiti Reference, and Panny UB820 4k player to the tv.

I use A9 hdmi for occasional use of my nvidia shield pro.

I have a friend who plugged a Phillips Hue Sync box into his A9 hdmi to get extra hdmis.
 
Soldato
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I've just been using Chromecast off of my phone at the moment with Tidal. Can't get Atmos or master, but then hifi still sounds very good. 360 works and that seems to be where it's at. I'm not a massive music listener and didn't buy the system for that anyway, so it's good enough for me.
 
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I've just been using Chromecast off of my phone at the moment with Tidal. Can't get Atmos or master, but then hifi still sounds very good. 360 works and that seems to be where it's at. I'm not a massive music listener and didn't buy the system for that anyway, so it's good enough for me.
I am Qobuz on Chromecast (I mainly use Qobuz) and the 360 sound mapping with Immersive AE on the music is excellent even though it's on 2 channel high Res music

I've got the rears on 10. Personal preference again, but that's where Sonos lacked. I might try manually tune it at the weekend with a sound meter and get them all at same volume and see how that is.

I find with voice and auto off the center channel is too weak. Also find anything below volume 30 is weak as well.

Fair enough. I feel with voice it is a bit overpowering a little. Rears on default 8 or max for me and I keep flip flopping. At 8 ATM.

Anyway first proper source I've used to test, a go to personal favourite of mine. Saving private ryans opening beach scene in 4k blu ray Atmos is phenomenal!
 
Associate
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So I've got mine from Curry's and had a play! I'm still in a flat so can't push it particularly loud (the calibration runs VERY loud!) and don't have the sub but do plan to get the SW5.
My first experience wasn't the best but it turned out I had the wrong settings on my tv and it was running only the front speakers.....doh! Once that was sorted it was waaaaay better and watching 4k Blu rays, streaming and games were all fantastic!! Obviously 4k Blu rays were best and honestly I think I can tell the audio upgrade with disk even more than visual, and that was never the case before.
Watched Dune, some of blade runner 2049 and the opening to Saving Private Ryan on disk and all we're excellent, the amount of noises happening around you in Saving Private Ryan is incredible and I cant wait to drive this thing louder and with the sub!!
The phantom centre channel is fantastic, some real wizardry going on there.
Gaming on ps5 with Horizon forbidden west was also really immersive and almost a different experience entirely.
The only thing I find is due to my setup with the back speakers very close behind me on the sofa, I can usually tell that the sounds are happening there and not the 'phantom' speakers around the room. The sofa and TV is in the corner of the flat so not sure if I can do anything about that but open to suggestions! I've tried setting the manual calibration to set the sofa to be closer to the back speakers but that hasn't seemed to have done much. Will keep testing! Overall though incredible and can't wait to get the sub and try it at higher volumes!
Oh also I haven't had a single drop out even with my control box in a shelf in my TV stand.
 
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