Sony Z9F soundbar hands-on review: Raising the bar for virtual surround sound

Dolby Atmos is the ultimate in surround sound right now – but unless you’ve got some serious space for all the speakers, you’re only able to experience it at your local multiplex.

That won’t be true for much longer, as Sony has managed to squeeze the Atmos effects into a single soundbar.

The Z9F might only have three small speakers aimed straight at your face, but some clever virtualisation is supposed to add the impression of extra height to your movie nights.

We listened in to one at CES in Las Vegas, to see if virtual Atmos is all its cracked up to be, or if Sony is just living in some kind of virtual insanity.


After giving us a non-Atmos reference point with a barely-disguised Bose SoundTouch 300, Sony plonked down directly in front of the Z9F and slapped on a scene from the 4K remaster of Blade Runner.

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