This Sony HTST9 soundbar features coaxial left, right and center speakers and comes with a wireless subwoofer, so you can easily add immersive audio to your home theater setup. A Bluetooth interface enables audio streaming from select devices.
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Excellent Product with some integration issues
Posted by: GeekinMD from: on
I bought this soundbar for TV programming/movies as well as music. As I listen to somewhat conservative genres of music such as classical, adult contemporary, jazz, and K-Pop, I wanted a speaker system suited for music with prominent vocals, i.e., with an acceptable ability to reproduce midrange and low midrange sounds. Most all-in-one systems I’ve tried have overpowering bass and treble, with thinnish sounding midrange. The HT-ST9 has decent midrange, especially considering its physical size, and its treble and bass are prominent without being overbearing. Sound is very natural as a result. I tested the system with various vocalists (Sarah Bareilles, Selena, Bigbang, Lee Seonhui) and a classical song (Moonlight Sonata) at low/mid volume, and found the sound pleasing, with just a bit more thinness of midrange than I prefer. All in all, it sounds nice, but the mids do lack the depth and warmth I experienced with larger 6” freestanding speakers hooked to a conventional receiver. However, living in an apartment I need a compact system, and the HT-ST9 is incredibly compact and good sounding for its size. I found the “Standard” sound field gave best results with music. The “Music” mode emphasizes bass too much for my taste, and the “Clear Audio+” sounded a tad artificial to me. The “Music Arena” mode provides a realistic echo which is fun to use. I did my tests using iTunes 256kbps AAC files playing through an Apple TV connected via HDMI to the HT-ST9.
Dialogue of TV shows is incredibly clear, much more so than with the 5.1ch HTIB I replaced with the HT-ST9. The various “Voice” modes do make dialogue even more distinct, helpful for those with hearing difficulties. I particularly like the Night feature, which eliminates most of the deep bass and also compresses the dynamic range, so I can watch shows at night without waking others. The “Clear Audio+” mode and “Movie” mode gave good results.
The user manual fails to clearly distinguish between the “Clear Audio+” and “Standard” sound settings. The remote allows one-button access to the “Clear Audio+” and “Football” sound modes. As I rarely watch football, I’d rather Sony allowed the user to customize the buttons to access the user’s two favorite sound settings (e.g., Clear Audio+ and Movie).
The user interface is very good. In addition to the small digital screen on the soundbar, there’s an on-screen GUI that enables easy selection of inputs and settings. Being able to choose which inputs are “skipped” when cycling through them via the Input button on the remote is a nice touch. It would be nice if they allowed one to customize names of the HDMI inputs to make them more meaningful.
Integration with other AV gear is lacking. When turning on the Soundbar, a Sony BDP-S6500 Blu-Ray player connected to the HDMI-2 input will power up. Unfortunately, when shutting off the Soundbar, the Blu-Ray fails to shut off. Considering both are Sony’s latest and top of the line models, this is unacceptable and will hopefully be fixed via a firmware update. Similarly, when I turn on my Panasonic TC-L47E50 TV (connected to the HT-ST9’s HDMI-1 input), the ST9 turns on as expected. But, when I turn off the TV, the ST9 goes to standby, then after a moment the TV turns back on again, causing the ST9 to also turn on again. This is an issue because the HT-ST9 remote cannot control non Sony TVs. Basic on/off control over HDMI should be compatible with major 3rd party brands of AV equipment, not to mention with Sony branded equipment. Another oddity: The HT-ST9’s remote control’s arrow and play/stop buttons cannot control my Sony Blu-Ray, which was an unexpected deficiency; I’d specifically purchased the Sony brand Blu-Ray player because I assumed I could operate it and the soundbar with a single remote control. I therefore need to use a Panasonic remote to turn on/off the TV, the Sony HT-ST9 remote to control the volume and select inputs, and the Sony BDP-S6500 remote to start/stop the DVD player. I expected better integration from such an expensive flagship soundbar.
Bluetooth works fairly well, although I had to repeatedly re-connect (but not re-pair) my smartphone (iPhone 5S, iOS 8.4) after switching the HT-ST9 back and forth between different inputs while the phone was streaming music to the “BT” input. Playing the same songs back to back through Bluetooth (iPhone) and HDMI (Apple TV), it was clear that the Bluetooth audio quality was inferior. Album art does not display when playing via Bluetooth. Further, non-English characters in song titles (e.g., Korean or Japanese) will not display on the TV screen when streaming. Sadly, the HT-ST9 does not support Apple’s Airplay, so it is not possible to stream video from an iPhone to a TV connected to the soundbar; of course, if one has an AppleTV, video can be streamed to it.
The USB port is incompatible with my iPhone, so I was unable to try it out. It’s limited to reading songs off of USB sticks.
I have not tested the surround sound capabilities of the unit. I do note that it does not have support for external rear speakers, which is a shame considering it can transmit via Bluetooth (to headphones). It’d be nice if they added the ability to pair with two Bluetooth speakers placed behind the listener, enabling transmission of rear channel audio to such speakers for more realistic surround sound.
On the bright side, the materials and build quality are superb - on par with Sony’s ES line. The soundbar has a piano-black metal top panel with an embossed Sony logo, and comes with a removable metal grill that affixes to rubber vibration damping fasteners. Inspection of the grill reveals that its subcomponents are held together with screws, as opposed to plastic snaps. The LED display is attractive and legible and has several brightness levels. The subwoofer features the same level of quality, with a piano-black metal top panel, metal front grill, and closely spaced screws securing a sturdy metal rear panel. The system is truly beautiful to look at. Also, the remote control, despite its faults, is of better quality than most others. The buttons click nicely, giving haptic feedback, and are laid out well.
For those curious how the HT-ST9 compares to the much cheaper HT-CT780: I bought the CT780 and returned because I didn’t like how music sounded with it. The 780 did an excellent job for TV viewing and basic music use. However, vocals lacked richness - it sounded no better than the HTIB I’d had previously. Other differences between the two:
HT-ST9’s speakers are about a half cm larger in diameter. Sound quality is much better.
HT-CT780 has plastic cabinet with fabric grill; it’s not bad looking, though.
HT-ST9 has 7.1 channel surround sound; the HT-CT780 is a 2.1 channel unit.
HT-ST9 remote control is far better - buttons click and there are more media control buttons
HT-ST9 allows optional skipping of certain inputs when cycling through them with the “Input” button
HT-ST9 has on-screen GUI
HT-CT780 has adjustable “bass” and “treble” settings; HT-ST9 lacks these.
HT-ST9’s subwoofer has a passive radiator; the sub’s driver is a bit larger, too
54 out of 62 found this review helpful.
High Quality, Great Sound
Posted by: lubnub from: on
Going to *try* to keep this short and sweet. If you're looking for a top of the end surround sound solution, this is not for you. If you want something that's going to run you half the price of a very good home theater set up, and still deliver the same environment, this is not for you.
IF you are looking for a compact solution, and/or a high quality soundbar, the sound from this is absolutely amazing. It does an excellent job of filling up the room with an immersive sound, with an overall excellent range and sound quality.
The upgraded remote is a nice touch, and provides you a good amount of access to the settings on the fly. One complaint, which should be fixed with time, is the lack of settings available for customization, such as setting the default input for the device (which is available on cheaper and older devices). I expect to see these features added somewhere down the line.
The wireless subwoofer has a good sound, and is aesthetically pleasing, but seems to have a slight issue staying connected at certain times.
As with any soundbar, you will never achieve a true surround environment, but the ST9 comes close. The sound fills up the room nicely without losing any clarity, and even without the use of peripheral speakers found in a true surround sound setup, the unit itself provides a nice touch of depth using the provided 7 speakers and 3 tweeters.
Set aside the HDCP 2.2 and ARC compatibility (which are great features, mind you), or the 3 HDMI inputs, a USB input, and more.. The ST9 is truly an amazing piece of equipment the performs stupendously when listening to music, playing video games, or watching a movie.
Very high quality soundbar, that produces truly awesome sound and depth to any listening environment. Not a surround sound setup, but achieves good depth and positioning utilizing its array of speakers. 4/5 stars only due to limitation of customization settings and a few rare technical issues, which should be fixed in the near future.
26 out of 28 found this review helpful.
Best Multi-Purpose Sound Bar I've Heard
Posted by: DigitalMoses from: on
I recently moved to a new home that was not suitable for my 7.1 surround system nor did I have the energy to do the wiring myself. I'm married with two kids, travel a lot for work and wanted something easy that the family could use while away, without having to call me for remote tech support. I started researching sound bars as an alternative solution and to be honest this was not the first pick on my list but after reading reviews on the web and testing at my local Best Buy store, I took the jump. I could not be happier with my purchase.
Setup: It took me less than an hour to unbox, wire and set up. The system comes with a quick start guide that provides easy installation instructions. The menu is intuitive. My only complaint is that I have a new Sony 4K TV and it should provide better instructions on how to integrate the two. You can do it and the features are nice but I had to fidget around to make it work.
Asthetics: The system looks beautiful but my only complaint is that the Sound Bar is taller than my Sony TV Stand so I had to use a whole shelf below the TV to sit the sound bar. Not a big problem but when I bought it, I thought it would sit right in front of the TV, below the stand. I guess Sony did not factor this into overall design. So now the sound bar sits about 2 feet off the ground, but Sony was smart enough to provide two little stands that fasten to the bottom of the sound bar that tilt it up. Problem solved.
Sound: For a "sound bar" this system pack a punch. My wife is constantly telling me to turn it down. I use it for TV, movies, video games and music. For music, I have used the bluetooth pairing to connect to my Mac Mini, which works perfectly. The sound is clear and not distorted at all. For video games, it has a preset and it sounds great. Audio voices are not muffled out by explosions or crowd cheers. As for the 7.1, I need to spend some more time watching movies before I make a final judgement. It's not a true surround sound system but I can hear distinctive sounds coming from left and right channels.
Overall: I'm happy with my purchase and I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a multi-purpose sound bar. I will note that I also own a Sonos Sound Bar and Sub. I like this product better as it seems to provide more clear sound reproduction, more presets to customize the listening experience, and more inputs. It also passes HD DTS and Dolby HD signals, which the Sonos can't do.
23 out of 24 found this review helpful.
Posted by: denny from: on
It's impossible to give a review, when you purchase this product and have it for one day and return it to Best Buy who immediately sends it to Sony repair who receives it four day later. Then there tech finds it needs a mother board, he waits two weeks for Sony to send it , it never comes. So he's waiting for Sony to make a decision on what to do. They've had it for a month. Now a days we have overnight shipping, everybody owns a phone yet it might take another few weeks to get a answer. I've been patient but this is to long a wait without resolution. Everybody I talked to has been very kind that's including Best Buy Geek Squad and Sony repair people. But Sony The company is at fault, they need to fix it or replace.
15 out of 18 found this review helpful.
Good sound, questionable quality
Posted by: tripletoe from: on
I purchased this soundbar to go along with my new XBR65X900C TV. It looks good and sounds even better. However, the software seems buggy as it seems to want to jump around between inputs sometimes. Also, I had to turn off some of the 'signal processing' features that supposedly improved sound quality before sending it on to the TV because it seemed to cause lag between the audio and the video. The biggest reason I'm rating it down though is that the internal wireless card has gone bad in my unit. Sony said they'll fix it because it is still under warranty but it is up to me to package it up, insure it and send it back and I've got no idea how long I expect be without it while they repair it. I wish I had gotten the Geek Squad plan to cover it since Sony's customer service has gotten as bad as their quality in my opinion.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
HDCP 2.2 4K Not Supported
Posted by: sd1006 from: Denver, CO on
My previous review was deleted by Sony and/or Best Buy. This device does not support 4K as it is advertised to do. It does not pass HDCP 2.2 content (copy-protected 4K content) nor does it support 4K HDR content (its not HDMI 2.0a compliant). Repeated contacts with Sony support about this issue have gone unanswered - they blame whatever device you are trying to hook up to it and won't respond to any questions about possible firmware update fixes. If you are buying this soundbar based on its advertised support of future 4K devices I'd stay away. The sound quality is good, but not superior to lower priced soundbars.
13 out of 18 found this review helpful.
Expensive but clear and powerful
Posted by: ChrisS from: on
Versatile and practical. Excellent sound clarity and powerful output
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.
Great Sound. But issue with Open Box purchase
Posted by: JimRasmussen from: Houston, Tx on
Great sound. But this was an Open Box purchase that was supposed to be in Excellent condition. The unit is missing several pieces. No Remote, No screen for front, No stand parts, No Manuals or warranty paper work. I had to go to sony.com download manuals and order a new remote and a screen for front. That indicates poor work in checking this item and rating it as being in excellent condition. I would rate it good condition and list all parts missing.
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.
Sounds Bad in less than 6 months
Posted by: tommypearl from: on
Purchased the unit in September 2015. The sound quality began to go down 2 months after use. By April 2016 the unit had such a bad reverb on any high frequency sound that it was unbearable to use. Sony paid to have shipped back for repair. I tried to purchase additional insurance in case of damage during shipping but was not allowed. Unit got damaged beyond repair in shipping Sony kept dragging their feet to replace unit. After several frustrating calls with Sony customer service and empty promises they have finally agreed to send new unit after I informed them I would be calling back everyday until the problem was resolved. New unit should be here in 4 days. I will update this review if/when my new unit arrives.
8 out of 11 found this review helpful.
Great for a mid size room
Posted by: prashantrishu from: Damascus, MD on
I've a Samsung 3D TV (2014). I was going to buy a Samsung product. But after reading online reviews and its support for 4k (future ready), more bass, more watts, I decided to buy the Sony product. The installation was breeze. I connected my set top box, Xbox, Roku to it and a single HDM1 goes to my TV. The remote is smaller in size. After setting up, I connected it to my network through a LAN cable (supports WiFi connectivity also). It prompted me to get the latest firmware. After 10 minutes, It was ready. It has enough boom but I do not want to break my windows. I had to set up my Comcast box to send output in Dolby mode if available. Roku sends PCM only. I also configured TV to send the original sound to it. I did not mount it. Switching off TV also switches it off. The clear sound mode is good for listening TV shows. I watched Avengers Ultron in movie mode with full woofer and it was a great movie theater experience. However, the music sounds mostly like stereo, lacks the punch and clarity. Since, I;m not that much into music, so it is ok for me. Only one time the woofer was not able to connect to the main sound-bar, I had to reboot the whole system. I bought it in November for 1500 and during the black Friday week, it was 300 cheaper. I went to the store and they price matched it. Overall, good for a mid sized room.
Pros:-Great sound, fast and easy installation. supports 4k. Bluetooth. ample HDMI options in the back. supports USB. Great android/ios app.
Cons:- Bit expensive. Changing sources (e.g. from xbox to Roku) takes many presses on the input button and it is not fast. Not energy efficient. Lack of on/off button on soundbar.