Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 which is a better soundbar?

Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 which is a better soundbar?

I have to say that this Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 is one of the stranger vs articles that I have done in quite some time. I have been on a real mission lately to put the Sonos Arc up against as many different soundbars as I can, but today it is going against something a little different in the Sony HT-A9. We have a Dolby Atmos soundbar going up against a strange little box that has four speakers, but it also offers Dolby Atmos as well. I think this could be one of the more interesting articles of this type that we have done!


The Price:  

Wow is there one hell of a price difference to start this Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 article with today. I usually tell people to try and not just look at the numbers. However, when the difference is as massive as it is here, it is pretty much impossible not to.


Sonos Arc: The fact that the Sonos Arc has managed to keep its price at a consistent $799.99 tells you how good and popular this soundbar is. It is the flagship soundbar that Sonos offers and when it comes to higher end soundbars I hand on heart do not think there is a better value for money or bang for your buck than what you get with the Sonos Arc. For a while, supplies on this were running low and sellers on eBay and Amazon were scalping it for over a grand, and people were actually paying it! I know that 800 bucks is a lot of money, but I really do think that it is money well spent.


Sony HT-A9: The asking price of the Sony HT-A9 is over double of what the Sonos Arc is going for. This is priced at $2,071.50 on Walmart right now, but this is actually pretty hard to find. I had a look on eBay and it seems to go for even more on there. This is a huge difference and while this does give you four speakers to give you a more surround sound kind of effect, there is no ignoring how massive a price difference there is with this. I am not even sure if Sony still has this thing in production, to be honest with you.


The Verdict: There is no way that the Sonos Arc does not win this one. Even if you were to add the awesome Sonos Sub Gen 3 to the Sonos Arc, it still works out cheaper than the price of the Sony HT-A9. I really do not see any universe where Sony takes this round if I am being brutally honest with you guys.


The Design:

I think the fact that these are so different in their design makes this a very interesting category. I have to be honest as soon as I started this Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 article I knew where this round was going to go. However, I must admit that this was actually a little bit closer than I thought it would be.


Sonos Arc:

Sonos Arc Soundbar - White | Harvey Norman Singapore

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No matter if it is the black or the white version of the Sonos Arc, how can you not love the design of this amazing soundbar? This is the most awesome looking soundbar from Sonos right now. It is pretty damn big too as it comes in at a very impressive 45” x 3.4” x 4.5”. I have only had the pleasure of getting my grubby hands on the white version of this soundbar, but even though I usually prefer black home theatre equipment, this still impressed the hell out of me. It just feels like a real premium kind of product and I like how Sonos have gone for a plastic grill instead of the fabric one they used on their Sonos Beam. Most soundbars tend to have a more angular kind of design to them, but with the Arc, Sonos has made it all curvy and sexy which makes it something that really does draw your attention to it. I can honestly say that I would happily have this soundbar out on display in my own home theater (well the black one) as the style really is very cool.

It is not just the front of the soundbar that has a real elegant and contemporary style to it. I will admit that I do like it when a company gives you a ton of options when it comes to connectivity. However, with the Sonos Arc, Sonos has gone for a simple is better approach. There is just an HDMI port on the back of here, but they do give you an HDMI to optical cable with it. However, it is important to note that if you want to use the Dolby Atmos features of the soundbar, you need to use HDMI. There is no remote control included here, you need to download and use the Sonos App. The app is fine, but I would have much preferred a dedicated remote control to be included.


Sony HT-A9:

Sony HT-A9 7.1.4ch High Performance Home Theater Speaker System Multi-Dimensional Surround Sound Experience with 360 Reality Audio, works with Alexa and Google Assistant

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Before I give you my thoughts on the Sony HT-A9, I highly recommend that you have a look at this SONY HT-A9 360 HOME THEATRE SYSTEM UNBOXING AND A80J CENTER CHANNEL DEMO video to get a better idea of how it may look in your home theatre or living room. We have a lot to talk about so let’s get to it. The main unit of this is a little control box that will sit under your TV or projector screen. This is a light grey color and has a rounded style to it, it looks like a little box and it takes up very little space no matter where you put it. The two speakers that go at the front are the Dolby Atmos speakers, these are awesome looking speakers made mainly of plastic, but they have a solid metal grill that wraps around the front which I love. Sony makes sure you know what are the front and the rear speakers by having this indicated on the bottom of each speaker. The size of both the front and the rear satellite speakers is 6.3” x 12.2” x 5.8” and they are actually larger than you would think.

These are very high-quality speakers and they have that Sony look and feel I get some will love the white design, but man these would look so much cooler in a more traditional Sony black. On the back of our little control box, you have an HDMI in and out, a USB port, a LAN port, and your power port as well. It is a very elegant kind of system and one that I think most people will not have a problem with at all. It does also have a standard port if you wanted to add in some kind of center speaker as well. In all as far as a surround sound style system goes, I think the four speakers here really are quite spectacular. I also have to give Sony major props for including an awesome remote (which is the same as the one they use with some of their soundbars) with this set.


The Verdict:  I have to be honest and say that picking a winner here is near impossible as they are two completely different products. However, I think I might have to give this one to the Sony HT-A9, but I am not 100 percent on that. The little box seems pretty cool and does not grab your attention, but those four speakers that make up this set truly are amazing. Man, I really do not know which way to go on this one! I think I am going to wimp out and call it a tie!


The Sound:

Welcome to the main event of our Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 very special “wildcard” kind of match that we have going on today. I am pretty excited to talk to you guys about the sound capabilities of both of these products.


Sonos Arc: I have talked so much about the sound capabilities of the Sonos Arc I am not really sure how much more I can talk giddily about it! The thing is the Sonos Arc really is one of the best soundbars on the market right now. This would 100 percent appear in a top three (maybe even top two) Dolby Atmos soundbars list for me. It truly is like being in the movie theatre I have tested this in both my living room and home theatre and I have never been disappointed. The wife and I had the house to ourselves so we did a double feature of Happy Death Day and its sequel Happy Death Day 2U. Without any kids in the house, we cranked that sound up and have a truly epic movie night. I think when you have the Arc loud, even without a dedicated subwoofer, it has a tremendous amount of power and really does manage to fill the room up with sound.

Staying with the horror/comedy stick, we also watched Freaky which is a very overlooked recent comedy horror with Vince Vaughn. What a movie like this does is show off just how good the Sonos Arc is at balancing sound. While you can play around with the app and get the sound just the way you like. I would say that even out of the box without doing anything to it, it is going to impress you with the way it handles dialogue and loud noises and music at the same time. There is no missing what anyone says here because a gun went off or a car was screeching by in a scene! If you want that movie theatre Dolby Atmos experience and a sound that is very well balanced, the Sonos Arc really is tough to beat.


Sony HT-A9: I must admit that until I knew the Sony HT-A9 was being sent my way and I looked into them more, I had no idea that these were Dolby Atmos, capable speakers. I actually recommend that you watch this short Sony HT A9 Dolby Atmos Sound Test Demo – First Impressions video which goes into detail about the Dolby Atmos capabilities of this set. I decided to set this up without a dedicated center channel. The first movie that I watched with this was Mad Max: Fury Road and the Dolby Atmos track blew me away. It honestly felt like I had about eight speakers in the room. It was hitting me from every angle and the Dolby Atmos effect was very well done. I do not think that it had the same power as the Sonos Arc, but I must admit, I thought it would be lacking, but I was very happy to be proven wrong. Another movie that has a great Dolby Atmos track is Logan.

This brings me to another thing I liked about the Sony HT-A9 and that is the way it balances the overall sound. A movie like Logan has a lot of soft speaking and that does shine through in a crystal clear manner with these speakers. However, when Logan is kicking ass, yelling and there is a lot of action going on, you never miss anything that is being said. The Martian is another great movie to watch if you want to really see what this can do. The atmospheric effects when they are in space during the final act had me looking all around the room as it felt like I was in the middle of space with Matt Damon.


The Verdict: I must admit that while I thought the Sony HT-A9 was going to be good, it was actually far better than I thought it would be. The Dolby Atmos effect provided by those speakers really was great. However, I do have to say that after some serious time spent with both of these, I do feel that the Sonos Arc offers the better Dolby Atmos experience. Actually, I think that it has a better overall sound in every regard to be honest with you guys.


What Is The Better Soundbar?

I am sure it is no surprise that the winner of our Sonos Arc vs Sony HT-A9 contest is the Sonos Arc. Even if the Sony HT-A9 was priced at the exact same price point, I would still have picked the Arc as I feel it has a much richer and overall better sound. However, I must admit that this was a bit closer than I thought it would be. Still, there is no way I could ever recommend that someone buy the HT-A9 over the Arc, first of all, the price increase is way too massive to ignore, even if you were rich, but at the end of the day, movies, shows, games and more just sound that bit better with the Sonos Arc.

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