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Immersive audio without the wires. A love letter.Posted
I consider myself a videophile and never much of an audiophile, although this could be due to a minor hearing impairment that I have in my right ear. Thus, is this going to be a very down-to-earth and humble review. I came to this sound bar from a 10+ year old Logitech (computer) 5.1 speaker system - the Logitech Z906. Although it was optical audio only, I primarily used it because I have my gaming PC hooked up to it, which happens to be in the same room as my gaming TV and consoles - so I just hooked up my other devices to it via optical as well. It worked just fine and I was happy with it, considering my impairment. It did what I needed it to do. But, technology has changed and I figured it was finally time to move on. Enter this sound bar, the Sony HT-Z9F. Long story short, this has to be the best audio system I have every owned. I'm going to tell you now - if you are in the market for a sound bar, spend the extra little and get this one; while future-proofing yourself a little in the meantime. BUT...if you do buy this, you MUST buy the "optional" rear speakers (model SA-Z9R). I tested this sound bar by itself for a few days at first, then I added on the rear wireless speakers and tested together for a few days longer. The sound bar impressed me, but once I added the rear speaker, the "WOW" factor went up 10-fold. I will review the wireless rear speakers in their own review. For now, lets focus on just this sound bar (model HT-Z9F). Also, this is going to be a review from a GAMER standpoint. I'm to video games as others are to movies and cinema. So, you gamers out there, there is for you. ;-) Packaging: This is the standard fare L-shaped sound bar packaging. Nothing to see here, move along. However, I was super impressed with how well it was packaged. There is no way anything in this box is going to budge. I received the box in pristine condition and everything inside was packaged tightly and neat/tidy. Unboxing and setup: Wow, I will say, I seriously did not expect this sound bar to be as massive as it is. When I unboxed it, my first impression was "yeah, this is going to be fun to setup". Reviews like this make me wish that I could add more than just two pictures; not sure why there is this limitation. Anywho, inside the box lies the sound bar, the subwoofer (which was also bigger than I expected for a sound bar), the front magnetic speaker grill (optional), the remote control and obligatory batteries, an HDMI cable (which I didn't use), wall-mount kit, a Dolby Atmos demo disc and all the normal and necessary manuals, pamphlets, etc, etc. I do want to say this about the speaker grill. It works as "protection" only. The sound bar looks AWESOME without it, but I use it just to keep it clean. The manual does say that if you are using high-def audio, such as Dolby X or Atmos, they suggest not using the grill for the best audio experience. Setup on this is super straight-forward and simple. HDMI input panel on the back of the sound bar being awkwardly angled, instead of flush to the back of the sound bar. Seriously, if I could muster a single complaint, this would be it. The angle of the ports is such a pain and makes for a tight fit of the cables. Configuration: O.K., from here forward is the "meat" of the review. The initial setup was a breeze. In the main menu, you have 3 tabs up top: "Watch", which has a TV, HDMI1 and HDMI2 options; "Listen", which has Bluetooth Audio, USB, Analog and Chromecast options; "Setup", which has "Easy Setup" (which I believe is the first-time setup the sound bar does when you first power it on) and "Advanced Settings". The "Advanced Settings" option is where you want to make your way to first thing. Here's why: The "HDMI Settings" > "HDMI Signal Format". Once there, Change it to "Enhanced format". Even though you may already have it set up on your TV (the name varies from one TV to another, but my LG TV calls it "HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color"), this option allows HDR and all the other high def stuff to work properly. So, if you are using a device that has HDR, this setting MUST be turned on both via the sound bar and the TV for their respective inputs. The next thing you want to do is check it for a Software Update, if this did not happen during the initial setup - there was no upgrade available as of the time of writing this review. Afterwards, you will want to go into "Speaker Settings" > "Manual Speaker Settings" and adjust your Distance of the sound bar and subwoofer (along with rears, if you get them) from your sitting area. Then adjust your Decibel Level. The Level is defaulted to 0, but I changed the Front to 3, the Sub to 4 and the Rears to 3 each. The maximum is 6. There is also a Test Tone option here, which I suggest using to make sure both the sound bar and subwoofer and each rear emits audio. Outside of these specific settings, I've pretty much left everything else at the default. As for options on the remote, I immediately selected "Game" to put it in Game Studio mode (which, by the way, is the first sound bar I've ever seen personally that has a dedicated Game mode!). After this, I pressed "Vertical S." to make sure the Vertical Surround option was on. The remote has the option to adjust the volume level of the Sub and Rear speakers, although I was unable to locate anything that would allow me to adjust the Treble and other equalizers independently... but I'm guessing the Decibel levels I went through above does a similar job. On a side-note, the remote does not have any sort of backlight. Also, the Sub and Rear volume levels were defaulted to 8, with a max of 10. The only problem I encountered was using my PC on the sound bar via optical audio. I was stumped. I plugged it into the optical port on the back, just like my old 5.1 system and expected it to work. Oddly, the "optical input" option did not exist on the remote. Referring to the manual, I finally found out that it was the "TV" input. So, I pressed that, played a test music video on YouTube...no audio. I'm baffled. It's simple. Nothing complicated. It's a cable and a port, it should work. After about 20 minutes of fiddling and having a mild panic attack, thinking I now won't be able to use my PC with it...I called Sony. After picking the agents brain for a while and trying to explain what I was trying to do (again, basic), he suggested I turn the TV off and just leave the sound bar on, then try it. It worked!!! **So, if you are using the optical audio port, please note that this sound bar "prioritizes" inputs. If there is a device using HDMI, they MUST be turned off to use the optical audio, or HDMI will take priority. You can't just have both on and switch the input. To use the optical port, ONLY the soundbar must be on and the "TV" input has to be selected from the remote.** Sound Quality: One word. AMAZING. I could just leave it at that and be done here, but I love this sound bar so much, it deserves more praise. As far as games go, there are very few that support Dolby Atmos and currently, only on the Xbox One X. The PS4 does not currently support Atmos, but that can be easily fixed in a future PS4 firmware update...but it would also require the games to be patched by the developers as well. The list of games can be found here: https://www.dolby.com/us/en/categories/games.html Yes, a paltry 8. Whopping. Games. I only had my PS4 hooked up in my game room, so the first game I launched to test the Vertical Surround Engine and the "simulated" Atmos support was God of War. Oh, man. The voices stood out and were at the perfect pitch. Weapon swings and other combat audio was phenomenal. However, it was the environmental sounds that dropped my jaw more than anything. The creaks of the wooden planks as you walk over them. The sound of rock as you climb cliffs. All of those ambient noises, just...unbelievable. Remember at the beginning of my review, I had mentioned that I had some hearing impairment? I'm going to say it right now...this sound bar has increased my enjoyment of gaming to another level. It's just something about the "tone" of the audio. I can hear things I've never heard in games before. Oh, and the volume level? Yeah, super loud. The volume goes up to 50 as the max. 18-20 is my "comfort" zone. Meaning, once I get it to 20-25, I'm essentially rocking out and my wife has to say "honey, can you turn that down just a little?". See, this makes me happy. I temporarily moved the Xbox One X into my game room to test out the demo disc and Gears of War 4 in Atmos. The demo disk was amazing, as you could hear everything as intended, WHERE it was intended. Gears of War 4 was equally amazing and immersive. I seriously could not believe what I was hearing. Sony has really outdone themselves with this setup. Also, I experienced ZERO sound issues with the wireless subwoofer and no audio lag/stuttering. BUT...as I stated above...to get the full immersive experience of this setup, you need the rear speakers. I will review them in their own review. Conclusion: 5 stars all the way. I would give it more if I could. Outside of my LG C7 OLED TV, this is my next best investment and I couldn't be happier. If I could afford it, I would seriously buy another one of these and the matching rear speakers for the 65" Sony TV in the front room that we use for our movies and streaming. But for me, the size of my room and my personal situation, this setup is perfect. I've never said this in a review, but....THANK YOU, SONY. You've allowed me to enjoy immersive audio for the first time in my life and without the bulk of wires!
I would recommend this to a friend
Incredible sound from a small setup.Posted
I have to first say, I’ve always been very skeptical of soundbar systems. They never seemed like they could fit the bill or even possibly compete with a dedicated 5.1/7.1 surround system. I will say though, that most even super cheap one’s are generally going to be better than most anything built-in to most TV’s. This system shattered my expectations. Granted this is the first such system I’ve ever owned, it really did impress. The sound it’s able to deliver is quite excellent. There’s lots of features with the system as well. You get 2 HDMI in and 1 out. There’s also an Optical input, a single USB port, an Analog input and an Ethernet Port. The Passthrough for the HDMI works flawlessly. Setting up the soundbar was a breeze and only took a few minutes after initially unboxing and placing the speakers. Connecting to WiFi was very fast and easy to do. I also have the optional Rear Wireless speakers. I’ll touch on those in this review as well as reviewing them separately. With setting up the soundbar there’s not a lot to. I have a Blu-Ray player and a TIVO currently connected to it but will be trading out the BluRay soon for possible a 4k streaming device. The sound from these sources is great. I was genuinely impressed with the performance of them. This small system definitely packs a punch. One of the features this has is Dolby Atmos. Despite not having speakers that aim up, somehow, someway, Sony figured out how to replicate the effect. Having never had the privilege to experience Dolby Atmos outside of a theater, it definitely makes a very big difference. It adds a lot of height to nearly any source. The optional Rear Wireless speakers only further enhance this. I have a Digital Copy of “The Fifth Element” that I used to test out the Atmos as it’s a DTS-HD/Dolby Tru-HD/Dolby Atmos version. The sound bar on it’s own, without the Rear Wireless still sounds excellent even without the Vertical Surround feature. The soundbar definitely delivers great positional sound. You can hear different things from different directions. Add in the Vertical Sound, and it just adds a ton of height and depth to the soundstage that truly immerses you in the action. Adding in the Rear Wireless speakers enhances this even more so as the vertical surround will also add some more height and depth. It definitely gives you the feeling that you are listening to the movie on a 7.1 system with Dolby Atmos. I was even pleasantly surprised with the Subwoofer in this system as well. It’s very responsive and tight when it needs to be. It never sounded muddled either. I actually even had to turn it down because of how loud it gets in some movies and shows. There are some forthcoming features to the unit that have yet to be released. One of them is Google Assistant, which will be nice to have. I have Sony’s Google Home device already in my home, but if this can replace it, then I will likely use it instead. The soundbar does feature Chromecast built-in. It is only capable of receiving from a Smartphone however. I tested this using Spotify and it worked very well for the most part. It did lose connecting a few times but restarting the Casting fixed it. The sound quality though was very very good. It did seem to get a bit bogged down when I had some company over and everyone had their smartphones out. It also could have just been my device though. The Music Center app which you can get from your applicable Appstore works as a second remote which is very nice. You can adjust nearly everything from within the app. This is quite helpful if you don’t want to interrupt your on-screen experience by going into menu’s. There wasn’t really anything I could place as being an outright con aside maybe from the price. I think that this could better around $500 price point. I do wish that there might have been 1 more HDMI input, though I suppose you could just use a 4k capable switcher to overcome this, or if your TV supports its, Dolby Digital/DTS passthrough. Really outside of this, the only thing I did notice was that in some broadcasted TV shows I watched I wouldn’t get much from the rear speakers or occasionally any enhancement from the Vertical Surround, this even despite the broadcast being in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Changing the output type from PCM to Dolby Digital made no change. It didn’t affect all shows though, so it might have just been that the shows I was watching didn’t bother adding much to the surround channels. Some shows I did watch that sounded incredible on this were The Expanse and Marvel’s Agent’s of SHIELD. Those shows sounded great, though shows like NCIS, there was nothing from the rear channels at all, aside from the occasional music. I will say though, this was not something I experienced from a dedicated 5.1 system I have that was connected via Digital Optical to the unit from the TV so your mileage may vary. Would I recommend this system though despite these slight grievances, absolutely if you got the money to spend and want something that just doesn’t take up all that much room. If however you got room, and money, than a dedicated System with Dolby Atmos speakers may be something more your fitting.
I would recommend this to a friend
As Good As It Gets... but needs Rear Speakers InclPosted
The HT-Z9F is one Sony's latest high-end theater sound systems which only uses a single sound bar and subwoofer to emulate a 7.1.2 surround sound experience. The package comes with the sound bar, subwoofer, remote control (batteries included), mounting hardware, Demo DVD, 4K HDMI cable, & paperwork. Rather than go over ALL the specs which you can already find on this Bestbuy.com page, I'll try to give more observations of those specs instead. PROS: ----------- * Great-looking Sound bar and subwoofer. I like the removable front grill of the sound bar. The subwoofer is basic simple construction with a single front port on the bottom/front and the driver hidden behind the mesh on top. * There is an option to remove the magnetic grill on the front of the sound bar. Looks great either way. * Good frequency range. Different sounds - instruments, rain, explosions, screeches, speaking - it all really sounds quite good. * The "vertical" sound of this bar does work to a degree and does enhance the listening experience. This feature can be turned on or off via the remote. * The remote control is light, simplistic in design, and the buttons are satisfactory in response to the system. * The sound bar has every connection possible to connect to... see attached picture for rear available ports including bluetooth 4.2. * DTS and Dolby Atmos content were both outstanding (Avatar, The Matrix Reloaded, and some 4K online content). You can really tell the vertical sound engine is working well... to an extent. * Subwoofer (wood casing) connects to sound bar with no issues. CONS: ----------- * For this $899 system, you are paying for the Sony name, the new technology used, and a great look. What you are lacking is more power and bass (though it does have plenty). The system is 400W which isn't bad. Granted, I have a bigger basement theater room, so this sub does not thump/hit like other higher end sub components that typically connect to separate receivers. However, for apartments, smaller rooms, or enclosed areas, this system will be an excellent choice if you want to fork over the $$. * The main focus of this sound bar is to emulate a 7.1.2 surround sound experience. It does do that to a degree, but I strongly recommend getting the optional rear speakers (Sony SA-Z9R) to enhance the rear definition of sound that the sound bar (by itself) can lack. * The rear speaker set (SA-Z9R) should be included with the $899 price point. Adding the 2 very small rear speakers only adds extra-defining surround sound - not much power. If you do not opt for the rear speakers, your surround sound will suffer a bit. The sound bar can still only do so much by itself, even with the vertical engine software. OTHER OBSERVATIONS: ----------- * There is no real use for the LAN connection on the back of the sound bar currently. There are more future functions coming with upcoming firmware updates according to the Sony website (Network Function: Chromecast built-in, Works with Google Assistant, Spotify Connect, DLNA.) * Sound bar is mountable and package includes hardware. * Will use the Sony Music Center app to play music on different Sony speakers around the home. I was unable to get this app to connect - this is a future firmware update based on what the Sony rep told me on the phone. (The app works with my other wireless Sony BT speakers) * If you opt to add the rear speakers, the only cord used for them is an AC power cord so make sure you have power available for each speaker. CONCLUSION: ===================== This is definitely a formidable theater sound system. The only applications that may need to be avoided are bigger theater rooms that may be open on the back side (where sound is not fully encompassed). It is highly recommended to get the rear surround speakers to get a "full" front/rear sound experience. It does not compare to a real 7.1.2 system but it's a viable option if you don't have room for a ton of components or want to "keep it simple". This is as good a sound bar system as anything out there. The vertical engine definitely helps, and for movies, it's quite good. On a separate note, music that has a lot of bass (bass you feel), you'll want to use a dedicated sub/receiver system. Great job, Sony!
I would recommend this to a friend
You cannot go wrong with the Sony Z9F Soundbar!!!Posted
Let’s be honest, a slim soundbar with tiny speakers in it?!, I have to admit that it wasn’t my vision of a Home Theater with Dolby Atmos sound. My question was, how? So, I was wrong. Sony has developed a technology with this piece of art that truly delivers excellent quality sound, as well as you can feel the experience that Dolby Atmos offers with this unit. Now, it will be a long tale if I try to explain in full detail how Dolby Atmos works, the best I can recap in this explanation is by saying that Dolby Atmos concept is based in objects. Yes, the way you see the main objects in your screen 4k TV is the same experience the sound will follow that action to that specific object, left, right, up or down. So, many Dolby Atmos technologies are based not only on horizontal surrounding sound, but vertical too. The way to achieve this is by locating another set of 2 speakers on the ceiling, or on the floor facing up. You have no space for cabling, you don’t have a dedicated “Sound Room” in your home, and your wife doesn’t want to see 7 speakers and cabling all around in the living room, and on top of that, your budget is very limited, but you still want to have Quality Sound, as well as being on top of the technology. Well, the Sony HT-Z9F accomplishes all of that, and more. It performs Dolby Atmos amazingly well, it has 3 front channels speakers, 2 side channels, and a low-frequency channel. So the sound goes not only directly forward, but also upwards and outwards. That is how a directional effect helps provide the closest emulation of surround sound and with this unit you can achieve without actually having five separate speakers around you. But if you add the rear speakers, you will get not only more power of Sound, but a truly 5.1 decoding effect. I love to play music, specially Classical music, and I feel pleased with the performance of this unit. For movies you can feel the Vertical and horizontal involving sound really well. Another new addition is the “vertical S” button. When you press it, the HT-Z9F will up-mix your digital signal processing to 7.1 channel sound. And if you are listening Stereo Music it will turn your music in a surround sound environment with excellent results. Not to mention that the Bass is Powerful, I dont need more bass than a level of ten on the remote for either playing music or Movies. If you want to check how Dolby Atmos works, the best way to try it, is by using the 2 different demo modes that comes with this unit. For Music, you can try the demo “3 Dimensional Surround Experience” by pressing and holding for 3 seconds the input button. For video Dolby Atmos experience, this unit comes with a DVD where you can really see and hear, how this soundbar performs Dolby Atmos Videos. I strongly recommend to get the 2 rear speakers, model ZR9, with this set of optional background speakers, the Z9F exceeds the surrounding sound effects. And for the first time I was really getting a true 5.1 performance. I was watching a documentary that has music in the background while the narrator was talking, and I was able to hear clear and crystal music trough the rear speakers while only the voice was coming out of the bar. It was amazing! And even if this is not a truly 7.1, but a 5.1, watching and hearing movies on 7.1 format will not disappoint you at all, it performs great! For Concerts, with the optional background speakers hooked up, and the volume cranked up, I got theatre quality surrounding sound! Something that I have really loved from Sony Soundbars since I have got my first one (CT660), was that you were able to customized the sound. You were able to control the tones, bass and treble, as well as the intensity (db). The Z9F allows you to customized the level of the sound and even to increase the vertical or horizontal sound effects by setting in the setup the distance where the speakers are located, for all the speakers separately, as well as the power of sound. But something really cool I found out was that he Remote has separate volume controls for the woofer and optional rear speakers. From the remote, you can toggle between the five essential audio modes that the HT-Z9F has been designed around. That includes cinema mode, music mode, game studio mode, news mode, and sports mode. Cinema mode is focused on providing an immersive sound experience similar to a theatre, while music mode focused on enhancing the richness of the sound. The gaming mode is also focused on immersion, but with an emphasis on heightening the feeling of motion and distance for the player. The news mode is for people who have hearing problems. It’s designed to take voices and make them stand out against background music, noise, and audio effects. The sports mode is designed to emphasize crowd noise to help you feel like you’re watching from the sidelines, but does so without sacrificing the clarity of the commentators. Setup is extremely easy, it is fool proof. Sony changed the old connectors distribution and the jacks on this unit are set at a 45 degree angle in a rectangular cutout in the back of the sound bar. There are two HDMI inputs on the sound bar and the mandatory ARC. I have a Sony 4K TV model XBR55X850 and a Sony Blu-ray UBP-X800, so everything is Sony, and the 3 of them work together flawlessly. The design in avant guard. It looks really great, slim and elegant, and I think it is a clever idea that the grill is connected with magnets and can be easily removed. The rear speakers are wireless and Sub and rear speakers pair very easily. There is built-in Wi-Fi as well as a Ethernet connection for Internet access, which is really useful for Chromecast and to keep the firmware up to date. There is built-in Bluetooth that allows you to connect your cell phone, TV or other devices to the sound bar wirelessly and play music. The sound bar I had before was the ST9, and even if I love it’s performance, as well as the power that produces, I decide to keep in my living room the Z9F instead because of the 5.1 and Atmos capability. The difference is very noticeable. To recap, the Sony HT-Z9F Sound Bar system is a nice piece of work, great quality sound, and a good investment. If you think of the cost of a complete set of a Dolby Atmos system, with the Z9F you can have an outstanding quality for a fraction of the cost, as well as space saver convenience and good looking Sound bar. It is a smart choice for anyone that doesn’t want to deal with wires everywhere for speakers and enjoy the top of the technology as well.
I would recommend this to a friend
Surpassed my expectations - but not perfectPosted
This Sony 3.1 soundbar with its compact design, wireless subwoofer, optional wireless speaker(s) (turning into 5.1) and onscreen setup display makes it worth a very serious look. My review includes the optional wireless SA-Z9R rear speakers. In the HT-Z9F soundbar box; Soundbar Soundbar grill (attaches with magnets) Wireless subwoofer Remote control HDMI cable Wall mount template and hardware Assorted instruction/guides and ATMOS experience DVD In the optional SA-Z9Rwireless speakers box; 2 wireless speakers Assorted instruction/guides Pros; Lets get this out of the way first – I think the sound is awesome. I am not an audiophile so I cant really speak in technical terms but I would describe the sound as very spatial. With 3.1 processing (5.1 since I have optional rear speakers installed) it seems to fill the room and makes your movies/games/music come alive. This is one of the first soundbars to process Dolby ATMOS and luckily enough I have a 4K Blu-ray player which can process ATMOS. So I was able to listen to the provided ATMOS experience DVD - and it was short but pretty impressive. I also happened to have the “Commuter” blu-ray which also has Dolby ATMOS – and I was really impressed with its sound as well. I also listened to Dolby digital movies/shows and they sounded great too. Power output was more than enough for me but it doesn’t have rattle the windows, wake up the neighbors output. I also happen to have a Sony ES 7.2 receiver which is a few years old and as such cant process ATMOS, but I did a comparison with its overall sound to this soundbar. Since I have the space I would still pick my ES receiver as it is more powerful and I can pick its speakers. Having said that - IF you lack the space or inclination to mess with running speaker wires, buying additional speakers, etc. - then this soundbar is a VERY good option. Its nicely designed with flat black metal band around the back half and high gloss glass band around front section. It looks good with or without the black mesh grill (easily attaches/detaches using magnets). Its size should make it easy to use on a TV’s pedestal or to mount on the wall. Also just in case it blocks your TV’s IR it has 2 built in IR repeaters on the back. It didn’t block mine so cant speak to how they actually work. Has easy to understand inputs/output attachments on the back of the sound bar. There are 2 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI ARC output. There is also a fiber optical in, aux in (3.5 mm) for analog input, hard wired Ethernet port, USB (for playing music). Has built in Wi-fi but I used hard wired ethernet connection. I had it all connected and ready to roll within 15 minutes – including synching the subwoofer (was synched before I could get to it after plugging it in). Same thing with the rear wireless speakers – connected before I could even check. A green light appears on each to show they are synched. Adding it to Google Home app on my phone was pretty straight forward too. There is a front panel LED display to indicate inputs, messages, etc. – it can be turned down or off completely if desired. I think the biggest plus, for me, is that all of the remote functions show on screen so you don’t have to decode a series of lights or try to guess what audio codec is being used, etc. All controlled thru the provided remote that fits easily in your hand and has a myriad of options available. It has cinema/music/game/news/sports/standard audio presets, a night feature that cuts back ambient sounds and focuses on voice. You can turn up/down the rear or subwoofer speakers volume independent of overall sound level. There is a HOME main menu where you can drill down to set speakers response, run sound test for each speaker, set whether soundbar comes on when attached equipment is turned on, set it as passthru (I really like this option as you don’t have to have the soundbar on to and can use the TV speakers), etc. Suffice to say you should be able to pretty much fine tune this system exactly how you want it to sound/function. There are also controls built into the top of the sound bar as well. Chromecast audio is built in and was easy to use once synched with my Google home. Bluetooth is also built in. The GREAT twist is you can use it as a receiver (play your connected devices thru it as is usually the case) OR use it as a transmitter. This is great as using transmitter mode allows you to synch blue-tooth wireless headphones and use them without disturbing those around you. Just make sure when synching that anything the headphones may already be synched with is off or out of range and then drill down into soundbar settings to make sure Bluetooth is set to transmit. It does have a USB 2.0 input but its for audio only and with its connection being in the back it doesnt make it easy to get to. I guess you could get an extension but with built in Chromecast and Bluetooth I wonder when someone might actually use this? The sub-woofer wont win any design awards but has a pleasing functional shape. It weighs around 17 lbs. so I am sure that speaks to the size of its magnet. It has a nice unobtrusive light on the front of it that glows red when not on, green when on and connected. Around back is a synch button in case of issues as well as an on/off button. As mentioned this can be turned up/down from remote with more tuning options using Home menu. Rear speakers are somewhat small as most back speakers are - but have good heft to them as well. No indicator on the front for these but around back is power indicator (same light info as sub-woofer), power button, a link button, a wall mounting hole and another hole if attaching to a speaker stand. As mentioned these can be turned up/down from remote with more tuning options thru Home menu. I would definitely suggest purchasing these if you want to truly hear all this system can do. I did not try mounting anything to a wall. Cons – at least for me With great power comes great responsibility. You have a lot of options to set this exactly how you want it – BUT some settings interact with others. I.E – I made a small change to a sound setting and it wound up turning off all of the sound modes. Took me awhile to figure what the issue was. So be careful and document what you change – just in case. It only comes with an HDMI cable – no fiber optic or auxiliary cable included. Remote is not illuminated and makes it hard to find or use in dark room. Only 2 HDMI input connections. Also the HDMI connection area is inset and slanted to allow for flat connection to wall but you better have small hands to get into the space. The connections are pretty close together too so may have issue if using wide HDMI connector. While it has Chromecast built in its only for audio – you cant stream videos from your phone or Google Home thru to TV. Seems a tad odd to me since it is connected to TV? Maybe future firmware upgrade – hopefully…. While the soundbar, subwoofer or rear speakers do not have a power “brick” to contend with, none of them have removable power cords. So if running cord thru a wall you will need to have enough space for the plug to pass thru/clear. No option on the provided remote to run/learn other devices. As such every time I use the provided remote to turn on/off the soundbar – it also turns on/off my Sony ES receiver. I assume that if you have other Sony components within this remotes IR range – you may have the same issue. I was able to setup my Cox Cable remote using its auxiliary option to at least turn on/off and raise/lower volume of soundbar – with purpose of trying to reduce number of remotes I have to use. Overall a very nice unit that is one of the first soundbars to be able to provide ATMOS decoding but do consider purchasing the wireless rear speakers for full sound experience.
I would recommend this to a friend