Sony offers cheaper, pseudo-Atmos sound bars at CES 2018

Sony has announced two new sound bars, the Z9F and the X9000F, which will offer simulated Atmos effects at a fraction of the cost of the previous model.

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Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
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Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 sound bar that simulates Dolby Atmos effects.


When it comes to "affordable" Atmos sound bars , there is currently a sample size of none, but prices do continue to come down. Sony's latest Atmos models shave hundreds off the cost of its first, so that's a good thing, right?

The $899 HT-Z9F and the $599 HT-X9000F offer Atmos (and DTS:X) playback in a compact, less costly package. While neither offers height speakers, the speakers do offer Sony's Vertical Surround Engine to simulate height effects.

Design-wise, both bars appear similar to their HT-ST5000 predecessor (which did have upfiring speakers) and come with a wireless subwoofer. The HT-X9000F sound bar is designed to match Sony's X900F 4K HDR TV series and it comes with tapered ends that enable it to snuggle inside the TV's base.

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Both of the new models offer Bluetooth playback plus up to two HDMI inputs and one output with 4K HDR throughput. Stepping up to the Z9F brings Wi-Fi connectivity as well as Chromecast built-in and Google Assistant compatibility.

Atmos and DTS:X without dedicated speakers? Color us very skeptical, though based on the company's offerings from the past few years, these models should at least sound good with everyday content.

The HT-Z9F and the HT-X9000F will be available in spring 2018, though UK and Australia pricing and availability are not yet known. Expect £900 and £600, or AU$1,600 and AU$1,200, respectively.

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