Sony HT-Z9F Voice Enhancement Soundbar & Wireless Subwoofer

Last updated date: October 25, 2021

DWYM Score

8.1

Sony HT-Z9F Voice Enhancement Soundbar & Wireless Subwoofer

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We looked at the top Soundbars and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Soundbar you should buy.

Update as October 28, 2021:
Checkout The Best Soundbar for a detailed review of all the top soundbars.

Overall Take


In our analysis of 65 expert reviews, the Sony Voice Enhancement Soundbar & Wireless Subwoofer placed 12th when we looked at the top 22 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Feel the thrill of your favorite shows and movies. The Z9F 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Sound bar's new Vertical Surround Engine places you in the middle of the action. Five different sound modes optimize audio to what you’re hearing. Wireless and network-capable, the Z9F can also connect to select rear speakers for a full-room solution that provides a cinematic experience.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.0
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.2
40 user reviews

What experts liked

The Z9F may not look like much of a powerhouse, but it’s loaded with just about every feature you could ask for in a 3.1 soundbar, including some impressive digital sound processing. Like other virtual surround soundbars, this is not a substitute for a fully discrete Dolby Atmos system. The Z9F will reward you with intuitive design and good performance, all in a sleek (and dare we say sexy?) little package.
- Digital Trends
July 8, 2018 | Full review
Integration is excellent, and there’s no disconnect between the subwoofer and soundbar. Despite all the processing jiggery pokery, dialogue is precise and unmuddied. The Sony HT-ZF9 confounds expectations, delivering an expansive soundfield from an easy-to-accommodate design. It can be confusing to use, but rewards with a compelling Atmos-lite performance.
- Trusted Reviews
June 7, 2018 | Full review
Design-wise, the Z9F is neat and simple. The bar is around a meter wide and features a removable grille, which conceals a trio of drivers. Rear connectivity includes two HDMI inputs (which are 4K HDCP and Dolby Vision compatible) plus an HDMI out with ARC. There’s also USB, an analogue stereo 3.5 mm minijack input, and optical digital audio input. The Bluetooth implementation is compatible with Sony’s LDAC extension, and while there's no NFC, Bluetooth headphones can be paired for private listening. Chromecast is built-in, and there’s interaction with Google Assistant.
- Tech Radar
November 7, 2018 | Full review
This soundbar also comes with a wireless subwoofer, offers HDMI video pass-through (with 4K HDR support), and can decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks and simulate the 3D audio effects through its Vertical Surround Engine technology.
- New York Times Wirecutter

What experts didn't like

Surround performance varies based on installation and vertical Surround feature adds sibilance to midrange.
- Digital Trends
July 8, 2018 | Full review
This soundbar is more confusing than an Ikea flatpack plan
- Trusted Reviews
June 7, 2018 | Full review
It is operationally confusing and disappointing overhead sound.
- Tech Radar
November 7, 2018 | Full review
The Sony can’t quite compete with our top pick in all-around performance, and it’s more complicated to set up and use due to its receiver-like design, but it will work for you if you need an HDMI connection and 4K support.
- New York Times Wirecutter

An Overview On Soundbars

Now that you can order a film at the press of a button, movie night has moved from the cineplex to living rooms. For that reason, it’s likely no surprise that consumers report they’d rather watch a movie at home than leave the house. But getting the same experience at home as you do in a theater can be challenging.

Even if you take advantage of the low prices on high-quality big-screen TVs, duplicating true movie theater surround sound can get expensive. In recent years, soundbars have advanced to the point where they now can simulate surround sound for a fraction of the cost of a speaker set. But one soundbar can differ dramatically from another, so it’s important to do your research before you buy.

Soundbars can range in price, but you’re sure to find one that fits within your budget. When shopping for soundbars, pay close attention to the range of tones you’ll get. Some soundbars can’t handle bass as well as others, even when they’re promising the best sound quality.

Once you get your soundbar home, you’ll generally be on your own to make it work with your existing systems. One of the best things you can do is take note of the equipment you already have and make sure the soundbar you choose is compatible. Many of today’s speakers use Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to eliminate unsightly wires. So if you have an older TV or receiver, you may find the soundbar you’ve bought won’t connect.

Finally, stop to think about where you’ll set up your new soundbar, as well as any speakers you plan to add on to it. There are soundbars you can mount on the wall, while there are many others that can be set on your furniture in front of your TV. Whichever option you choose, note the dimensions of your soundbar in advance to ensure you know how much room it will take up.

The Soundbar Buying Guide

  • If your soundbar doesn’t sound good, there’s no point in even having one. If you’re going for the best sound, consider the Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar & Universal Remote Control. It has great sound and great ranges. The Bose Solo also performs better in the deeper ranges, with bass you can feel in your chest.
  • For those interested in building a true home theater, adding on extra speakers is the key to success. Some models allow you to easily buy extra speakers to connect to your soundbar.
  • Setup can be intimidating if you don’t consider yourself a tech guru. Some models can be tricky to set up, especially when it comes to pairing with other equipment.
  • One of the biggest concerns when shopping for any speaker is where it will be. Some models are designed to hang on a wall, but they can also rest in front of your TV. Others can be mounted, but they look great in front of your TV. If you’re limited on space, you may want to avoid any soundbar that comes with a separate subwoofer that you’ll need to place.
  • If you’re looking for the smallest soundbar, the SAMSUNG HW-T450 Dolby Audio Soundbar is the shortest, at only 2.1 inches tall.
  • One size benefit to smaller models is that they can be easily mounted horizontally or vertically, with the sensor automatically adjusting the sound depending on how you’ve oriented it.
  • If you have an Amazon product that uses Alexa, look for a unit that you can connect to your device, so that you can play music on command.
  • With some soundbars, you’ll have access to an app that you can then use to control your speakers. However, they may not come with a remote control, which means you’ll need a universal remote if you can’t connect it to an existing smart remote. Some soundbars come with a remote, but they’re still a bit bulky. You’ll also need to have two AAA batteries on hand for the models that use batteries.
  • Look for a soundbar that is built to last with durable ABS plastic beneath the soft cloth cover. Be aware that some models can scratch easily.
  • When it comes to price, you’re going to pay much more for some soundbars than other speakers. Be sure to consider whether you’ll also need to pay for separate speakers. In some instances, the price may also include a subwoofer, so keep that in mind.