Sony HT-ZF9
Sony HT-ZF9
Sony HT-ZF9

Sony HT-ZF9: Powerful soundbar with Vertical Surround Engine

The Sony HT-ZF9 is a three-channel soundbar with a virtual Dolby Atmos circuit, and it is considered virtual because there are no speakers on top of the panel and only three forward-facing speakers are responsible for the sound.

With support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the Sony HT-ZF9 3.1-channel soundbar is designed to completely surround viewers with sound all around. Responsible for the new Dolby Atmos sound is a new virtual technology: Sony’s “Vertical Surround Engine”. Music lovers should be able to enjoy virtual 3D surround sound without the need for additional in-ceiling or upward-facing speakers.

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Vertical Surround Engine, Sony’s latest surround sound technology allows you to enjoy the thrill of the latest cinema audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in one slim package. No matter what room you’re in, the three front-facing speakers play vertically, creating virtual surround sound that seems to radiate from you. Combined with S-Force Pro Front Surround technology, which enhances the front surround sound field, the amplifier in the Sony HT-ZF9 delivers superior sound.

On the top wall of the case there are control keys with which you can turn the soundbar on and off, adjust the volume, select the active input and manage network connections. The keys are touch sensitive, so they practically do not interfere with the ascetic design of the soundbar body. A full range of settings and adjustments is available from the included remote control, with which you can not only select the active input and control the volume, but also switch soundbar sound profiles and DSP modes, as well as adjust the levels of the subwoofer and optional rear speakers if they are present in the system. Depending on whether your TV is hanging on the wall or mounted on a cabinet, you can vary the installation of the soundbar. Sony HT-ZF9 can be hung on the wall under the TV using the included brackets, or placed on a stand in front of the TV.

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The Sony HT-ZF9 soundbar can be integrated into a home computer network either wired via the Ethernet port or wirelessly via Wi-Fi. Moreover, the built-in adapter supports operation in two bands – 2.4 and 5 GHz, which greatly simplifies the connection in an urban environment saturated with radiation. Connecting the device to your home network not only makes it possible to play multimedia files from network storage, but also allows you to use supported network services, such as the Sony Music Center wireless multi-room system or the popular Chromecast technology.

Separately, I would like to talk about Bluetooth. It would seem, what could be simpler? More recently, the presence of a built-in Bluetooth adapter made it possible to use a sound bar as an external speaker system for your smartphone or tablet without the need to limit the freedom of movement of the gadget with a connecting cable. In general, that’s all – this was the end of the list of capabilities provided by the Bluetooth adapter. Today for the Sony HT-ZF9 soundbar this list is much richer. In addition to the capabilities mentioned above, the Bluetooth interface is used to communicate with the included active subwoofer and optional rear speakers Sony SA-Z9R.

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In addition, the soundbar can, if necessary, broadcast a signal to wireless headphones, for example, in the evening, when your loved ones are already resting and you can’t wait to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV series. Moreover, if you have a modern TV that supports Bluetooth, you can get rid of the HDMI cable connecting the TV and soundbar. In this case, you will have a truly wireless AV system, with only component power cables remaining. However, when connecting a TV wirelessly, all external sources, for example, an UltraHD Blu-ray player, will have to be connected directly to the TV, and the sound bar can only work in the TV’s external stereo acoustics mode. Accordingly, you will have to forget about decoding surround sound formats and forming a virtual, but surrounding sound field.

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The lower part of the sound range is assigned to an external active subwoofer, made in a narrow and tall MDF housing. The design emphasis is placed on the large bass reflex port, the bell of which shines with piano varnish on the front panel, covered with acoustically transparent fabric. The long-throw driver with a diameter of 16 cm is located slightly higher and is not noticeable. The subwoofer is equipped with an amplifier that develops 100 watts. Using Bluetooth to connect the soundbar to the subwoofer makes installing a bass module easier – you just need to make sure there is a power outlet nearby. Power management in the subwoofer is automatic depending on the presence of a useful signal from the soundbar.

Specifications Sony HT-ZF9

Decoders: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Dual Mono, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS: X, LPCM (2/5.1/7.1), DSD (2/5.1)
Formats from USB: DSD (.dsf / .diff), Wav, Flac, Alac (.m4a only), AIFF, HE AAC, AAC, mp3, Monkey Audio, WMA, Ogg Vorbis
Built-in Chromecast, DLNA.
Inputs: HDMI™ (ARC), optical audio input, analog input (stereo mini), USB Type A, Ethernet
Soundbar size 1000 x 64 x 99 mm
Soundbar weight 3.1 kg
Subwoofer size 190 x 382 x 386 mm
Subwoofer weight 8.1kg

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