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  • Cheryl Tan

Sony HT-A9 Review: Dolby Atmos Speakers That Can Be Placed ANYWHERE

The Sony HT-A9 speakers are really, super interesting. For a lot of us, the idea of having to drill holes in the wall to mount speakers might seem daunting and troublesome, but with these four speakers, you can get surround sound anywhere. Well, as long as you have enough power outlets.

We have the Sony HT-A9 speakers and SA-SW5 subwoofer with us today, and if you’re looking for a surround sound speaker system that’s super easy to set up and can be moved as you like, these definitely fit the bill.

So, let’s talk about how these work first. The subwoofer and the speakers come separately, so let’s talk about the speakers. These come in a set of four, and they’re all individually labelled with their position, so one for the front left, one for the front right, one for the rear left and one for the rear right. They’re not interchangeable so make sure you get the speakers in the correct order when you’re setting up.

The speakers are wireless, and Sony touts a big selling point of these is that you don’t need cable wires connecting each unit running all over your living room, and while that’s very true, each speaker requires a connection to power. So you are limited in where you can place these speakers by whether you have a power outlet nearby to power them or not. In our studio, it’s a pretty janky setup, as you’ll see in the video, but don’t worry, because these speakers have the ability to be calibrated to compensate for uneven height placements and such.

In the box, you also get the control box, which allows for eARC passthrough if needed. So all in all, you’ll need at least five power outlets for the control box and the four speakers. If you’re planning on buying the subwoofer, make sure you factor in another power outlet, for a total of six. Now you see what I mean when I said you can get surround sound anywhere as long as you have enough outlets.

There’s also a remote included in the box, and this is necessary for setting up the speakers and ensuring you can do the Easy Setup calibration. This calibration plays a series of noises from each speaker to calculate the distance between each unit, the height differences, the position of the speakers and such, then the speakers will auto-calibrate and Sony claims, will generate 12 phantom speakers from these four units.

The speakers are not only Dolby Atmos-certified, they’re also compatible with Sony’s 360 reality audio, and while it’s still quite hit and miss with the 360 Reality Audio tracks, the tracks that are properly mastered really sound quite fantastic on these speakers. I would recommend Zara Larsson’s I Would Like as a good example of what 360 Reality Audio can sound like. There’s incredible spaciousness, and it’s a really interesting showcase of spatialisation tech and how it can make music listening even more immersive.

As for Dolby Atmos, well, you don’t need me to tell you how precisely located explosions, gunfire and planes flying overhead help you really enjoy a movie more.

Throwing the subwoofer in, you get even more impact in the lows and it’s definitely a great option if you have extra cash, S$999 to be exact. That being said, the subwoofer is also wireless, so you can put it anywhere, as long as you have a power outlet.

At S$2,699, it’s not cheap if you look at the speakers alone. But when you compare it to other surround sound home audio systems, it’s actually more value for money in my opinion. Especially since it’s wireless and you can really place it anywhere you want. What these speakers offer is flexibility, and that’s a really important thing when homes are getting smaller and smaller.

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