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Old 20-05-2018, 01:32 PM   #1
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Dolby Atmos and DTS-X soundbars

Thought I'd start a thread on Atmos and DTS-X soundbars since these are the headline features of newer 2018 & 2017 soundbars.

Just got the 2018 Sony Z9F 3.1 soundbar + Z9R wireless pair.
- In reality, it's a 5.1 setup but the vertical sound engine enables upmixing to virtual 7.1.2 Atmos and DTS-X.
- Supports loseless and HiRes codecs (DTS Master Audio HD, DD+ etc).
- HDCP 2.2 and supports HDR10, Dolby Vision pass through, etc.
- Pressing Display button on the remote enables a pop-up on your TV showing the virtualizatuon mode (Atmos, DTS-X, Neural:X, etc) and format (DTS-HD MA, DD+, Dolby Audio, etc) of the audio stream playing

Below are some initial thoughts -

Just bought it yesterday from Sony days promo. Called several retailers like harvey norman, courts, best denki and gain city.

At present, only Sony stores carry the rear speaker pairs (Z9R).

Couple of key points to consider -
- I asked authorized dealers for "best price", believe most of them can drop as low as $899 vs. $1'199 list price and $999 Sony days promo price (i.e. Sony days $200 off until 1 July).
- Island-wide, only Sony stores carry the rear speakers at the moment. List price is $459 for the pair but $409 during Sony days promo.
- However, at Sony stores, there is a purchase-with-purchase offer available during Sony days promo, which allows you to get 30% off the Z9R rears (i.e. $321 vs. $459 list price!) when you buy it together with the Z9F.
- In a nutshell, you'd pay $1'320 for the Z9F with ZR9 rears if you manage to secure a set from a Sony store (I managed to negotiate for a marginally better price than the above).

- If you want more prounced height effects, then you MUST get the rear speakers (you'll get more pronouced overhead rear L/R effects)
- If you wish to only get a sound bar without rears, I'd still suggest getting the ST5000 (think it's around $1'999 at present after promo) given that it has many more speakers in front and sound effects appear more "weighty" due to the larger, front-heavy speaker setup. The Z9F relies more on the subwoofer to deliver the low frequency effects.
- However, if you want true surround, then the ST5000 can't beat the Z9F + ZR9 combo (true surround + virtual 7.1.2 Atmos & DTS-X) due to having real rear speakers.

Does virtual Atmos work without upfiring speakers? The answer is yes as the Sony DSP is able to virtualize overhead sound and cleverly trick your ears into hearing thinking that sound is coming from above. Obviously, sound separation wise, it won't beat a real in-ceiling speaker setup but I think the Z9F worth it for such a compact set.

In order to truly appreciate the vertical height effects of the Z9F + Z9R, you should try the DTS-X speaker call-out demo below -
https://www.demolandia.net/downloads.php?id=87980801
Note in particular the Overhead front L/R and overhead rear L/R to experience the Sony virtualization prowess.

Will post some pics when I have the time.
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Last edited by ac3knight; 21-05-2018 at 12:40 AM..
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Old 20-05-2018, 11:40 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing . Just wondering whether you have compared this with Bose Soundtouch 300, Samsung K950 or JBL 5.1? All also come
With rear speakers.
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Old 21-05-2018, 12:35 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing . Just wondering whether you have compared this with Bose Soundtouch 300, Samsung K950 or JBL 5.1? All also come
With rear speakers.
I don't have the above but out of the three, K950 (I think brand new clearance price might be around 1.4k) is the only one with Atmos support and a 5.1.4 configuration (both front and rear speakers have real upward firing speakers). Tried the in-store demo but hard to hear the effectiveness due to the in-store layout. For the K950, layout of your living room also impactd the effectiveness of the Atmos effect as it depends on ceiling height, how far you sit from the tv and whether there's space behind your sofa to for the rear speakers.

I'd wait for the 2018 Samsung N950 to be released if you want DTS:X and other fixes (there were quite a number of technical complaints about K950 although the audio performance is great).

I've heard good things about the Bose Sound touch 300 if you don't need height effects.

For the JBL 5.1, I've used the Philips B5 before, which is also comparable as you can detach the side speakers to use as rears to get true surround. However, the rears are all powered by battery and I'm not sure how long the charges tend to last (I heard 10hrs for JBL though not sure how true in reality).

I've also tried the LG SK10Y (LG's 2018 flagship) in-store and it sounds good but early reviews have mentioned that the voices sound muddy when playing Atmos content.
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Old 21-05-2018, 06:46 AM   #4
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Thanks for sharing . Just wondering whether you have compared this with Bose Soundtouch 300, Samsung K950 or JBL 5.1? All also come
With rear speakers.
Just my two cents, if want real 5.1 experience.
Can get Atmos AVR with 5.1 speaker package like:

Onkyo HTS 7800
https://audiohouse.com.sg/product.ph...ONK%2FHT-S7800

Around $1.6k.
Power and sound will beat soundbar.
Not to mention AVR Atmos is not virtual and upmixing but
native Atmos.

But AVR issue is the cabling so soundbar is much straight forward
and neater.

That is simple Atmos package, if want better Atmos package
usually will cost more $2.5k.
Take note also you need Atmos/DTS-X content like 4K UHD disc/blu ray
for playback.

If you don't have such content than no point getting one.
Those soundbar you mention I have no comment.
I only use Sony soundbar so more or less I am familiar with them.
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Old 21-05-2018, 07:22 AM   #5
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What source of playback are you using?

Thought I'd start a thread on Atmos and DTS-X soundbars since these are the headline features of newer 2018 & 2017 soundbars.

Just got the 2018 Sony Z9F 3.1 soundbar + Z9R wireless pair.
- In reality, it's a 5.1 setup but the vertical sound engine enables upmixing to virtual 7.1.2 Atmos and DTS-X.
- Supports loseless and HiRes codecs (DTS Master Audio HD, DD+ etc).
- HDCP 2.2 and supports HDR10, Dolby Vision pass through, etc.
- Pressing Display button on the remote enables a pop-up on your TV showing the virtualizatuon mode (Atmos, DTS-X, Neural:X, etc) and format (DTS-HD MA, DD+, Dolby Audio, etc) of the audio stream playing

Below are some initial thoughts -

Just bought it yesterday from Sony days promo. Called several retailers like harvey norman, courts, best denki and gain city.

At present, only Sony stores carry the rear speaker pairs (Z9R).

Couple of key points to consider -
- I asked authorized dealers for "best price", believe most of them can drop as low as $899 vs. $1'199 list price and $999 Sony days promo price (i.e. Sony days $200 off until 1 July).
- Island-wide, only Sony stores carry the rear speakers at the moment. List price is $459 for the pair but $409 during Sony days promo.
- However, at Sony stores, there is a purchase-with-purchase offer available during Sony days promo, which allows you to get 30% off the Z9R rears (i.e. $321 vs. $459 list price!) when you buy it together with the Z9F.
- In a nutshell, you'd pay $1'320 for the Z9F with ZR9 rears if you manage to secure a set from a Sony store (I managed to negotiate for a marginally better price than the above).

- If you want more prounced height effects, then you MUST get the rear speakers (you'll get more pronouced overhead rear L/R effects)
- If you wish to only get a sound bar without rears, I'd still suggest getting the ST5000 (think it's around $1'999 at present after promo) given that it has many more speakers in front and sound effects appear more "weighty" due to the larger, front-heavy speaker setup. The Z9F relies more on the subwoofer to deliver the low frequency effects.
- However, if you want true surround, then the ST5000 can't beat the Z9F + ZR9 combo (true surround + virtual 7.1.2 Atmos & DTS-X) due to having real rear speakers.

Does virtual Atmos work without upfiring speakers? The answer is yes as the Sony DSP is able to virtualize overhead sound and cleverly trick your ears into hearing thinking that sound is coming from above. Obviously, sound separation wise, it won't beat a real in-ceiling speaker setup but I think the Z9F worth it for such a compact set.

In order to truly appreciate the vertical height effects of the Z9F + Z9R, you should try the DTS-X speaker call-out demo below -
https://www.demolandia.net/downloads.php?id=87980801
Note in particular the Overhead front L/R and overhead rear L/R to experience the Sony virtualization prowess.

Will post some pics when I have the time.
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Old 21-05-2018, 08:22 AM   #6
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I've heard the YSP 5600 atmos soundbar and it's by far one of the most convincing atmos soundbar I've heard.

My brother in law has it as well as a friend.

Tried with the last jedi and force awakens....the surround effects are rather convincing
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Old 21-05-2018, 08:26 AM   #7
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But no HDR bypass for YSP5600
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Old 21-05-2018, 08:33 AM   #8
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But no HDR bypass for YSP5600
宜家唔少4k播放機都有兩個HDMI輸出。一個家淨供音響駁接,另一個就影音輸出。。。
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Old 21-05-2018, 09:58 AM   #9
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宜家唔少4k播放機都有兩個HDMI輸出。一個家淨供音響駁接,另一個就影音輸出。。。
can use optical cable?
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Old 21-05-2018, 10:10 AM   #10
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can use optical cable?
Optical can Atmos?
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Old 21-05-2018, 10:26 AM   #11
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Old 21-05-2018, 10:36 AM   #12
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Thank you very much for the information! I am still deliberating if I should buy Z9F or ST5000...
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Old 21-05-2018, 11:10 AM   #13
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What source of playback are you using?
Sources are 1080p to 4k videos from Kodi. Typically 15gb-60gb per vid.
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Old 21-05-2018, 11:37 AM   #14
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Shld test using 4K UHD bluray or Remux rips to test.

Been using Nvidia Shield with ST5000, effects are good though a bit lacking w/o rear speakers.
Sources are 1080p to 4k videos from Kodi. Typically 15gb-60gb per vid.
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Old 21-05-2018, 12:09 PM   #15
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Sources are 1080p to 4k videos from Kodi. Typically 15gb-60gb per vid.
Should invest in a 4K HDR UHD player than rent 4K UHD.
The picture and sound will definitely be better than downloaded movies.
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