Panasonic announces soundbars, SC-HTB900, SC-HTB700, SC-HTB510 for 2019

Colsey85

Novice Member
Hi,
Does anyone knows if they are any review of the SC-HTB900 yet or soon to be published? I can't find any on the web. My room configuration makes soundbars with top and side speakers useless, so this one could be a good solution.
Not found any yet sadly, it is a very poor product release, not sure how they expect to sell any when we dont even know the spec. The spec list says upfiring speakers which would rule it out for your room and yet none of the expanded diagrams show them, I looked at again today closely I could not see any only what looked like a small fan.

Until we know more info I would look at the sony zf9 soundbar for your room setup it only has front firing drivers and creates a fantastic virtual atmos experience.
 
Last edited:

gazza7474

Member
Not found any yet sadly, it is a very poor product release, not sure how they expect to sell any when we dont even know the spec. The spec list says upfiring speakers which would rule it out for your room and yet none of the expanded diagrams show them, I looked at again today closely I could not see any only what looked like a small fan.

Until we know more info I would look at the sony zf9 soundbar for your room setup it only has front firing drivers and creates a fantastic virtual atmos experience.
I went to John Lewis the other day and put my ear along the top of the soundbar and all of the sound was coming from the front so no idea what panasonic mean by upfiring!
 

Boeingtone

Novice Member
I don't think there are any up firing speakers. Looking at the diagram or reading press releases in German and French they never mention them (but six 6.5cm mid range speakers and two tweeters).
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Not found any yet sadly, it is a very poor product release, not sure how they expect to sell any when we dont even know the spec. The spec list says upfiring speakers which would rule it out for your room and yet none of the expanded diagrams show them, I looked at again today closely I could not see any only what looked like a small fan.

Until we know more info I would look at the sony zf9 soundbar for your room setup it only has front firing drivers and creates a fantastic virtual atmos experience.
I would agree with this as I compared the Sony directly with the Panasonic. The Sony is excellent and it seems to me that both products attempt a pseudo vertical effect.
I think if I was a true audiophile I would hang on until more is known but for me, the Panasonic sounded superb and should work well with the gz950 tv I’m getting.
 

Aryn86

Well-known Member
People still trying to figure out if these have upfiring speakers, they don't. It's classed as a 3.1 soundbar not 3.1.2

If anyone is interested in getting any sort height based performance I'd avoid these soundbars at their current prices, I got to test a Sony Ht-zt9 which has no upfiring speakers but supposedly does Atmos and there's nothing height based about it, just another soundbar doing DSP this was compared to my Samsung K850 (which does have upfiring speakers) the difference was night and day.

If you can spend £500-£700 on a soundbar focus on performance over features like atmos.
 

gazza7474

Member
Reading the uk press release it states upfiring drivers not speakers. I guess this means an effect from the speakers rather than physical upfiring speakers.
 

gazza7474

Member
By using upward-firing drivers which complement the traditional forward-firing drivers the HTB900 and HTB700 are able to bounce sound off the ceiling so that the listener can hear individual effects coming from all directions.
Thanks to a slant of approximately 7° sound is directed to the ears at the best possible angle for an expansive, room filling effect.
 

gazza7474

Member
People still trying to figure out if these have upfiring speakers, they don't. It's classed as a 3.1 soundbar not 3.1.2

If anyone is interested in getting any sort height based performance I'd avoid these soundbars at their current prices, I got to test a Sony Ht-zt9 which has no upfiring speakers but supposedly does Atmos and there's nothing height based about it, just another soundbar doing DSP this was compared to my Samsung K850 (which does have upfiring speakers) the difference was night and day.

If you can spend £500-£700 on a soundbar focus on performance over features like atmos.
@Aryn86 is there any you would recommend in that bracket without atmos? ysp 2700?
 

gazza7474

Member
I
Depends what you want from it, do you want something focused on movies? music? regular tv? it breaks down differently but the YSP2700 is a very solid option.
I've gone from a plasma to and OLED and the sound on the plasma was ok for normal tv but the oled can be poor on some programmes. I use an old surround system for movies so my plan was to get something for both movies and normal tv if possible. Not bothered about music as I would use other kit for that.
 

Aryn86

Well-known Member
I've gone from a plasma to and OLED and the sound on the plasma was ok for normal tv but the oled can be poor on some programmes. I use an old surround system for movies so my plan was to get something for both movies and normal tv if possible. Not bothered about music as I would use other kit for that.
The JBL Bar 5.1 is a good option if you want something that will do surround as it has actual battery powered rear wireless speakers.

Sonos beam if you lack the space for a sub and want something smaller.

If you do want a taste of Atmos then I'd suggest the N850 soundbar from Samsung, it's a 2018 model so you need to move quick before it's replaced by the more expensive Q80 soundbar but it's a 5.1.2 setup (has 3 front facing speakers and 2 side firing speakers and 2 actual upfiring speakers) so you can get much better performance. It's a relative bargain at £660ish at the moment (google it) only thing is it's quite hefty in it's size so check out the dimensions to see if you can fit it in your setup but if you can it's a no brainer at the going price.

Ok just drop me a PM if you want to know anything else, will let the conversation get back to the Panasonic bars as it's already gone off topic.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
First user review for the 900 I've seen - on the John Lewis site - 2 out of 5 stars. Interesting comments.
I’m getting one tomorrow. I’m surprised by the review comments as that wasn’t my experience in the showroom, but if it really doesn’t work at home it will be going back...
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
The 900 is definitely a keeper for me. Couldn’t be happier with the sound for films, Spotify etc. Rich, full, clear... no complaints at all
 

Colsey85

Novice Member
The 900 is definitely a keeper for me. Couldn’t be happier with the sound for films, Spotify etc. Rich, full, clear... no complaints at all
Thanks for that, how was the atmos effect?

I just came to say there is a review at John Lewis but you beat me to it. It didnt match my experience in the showroom either, I thought for normal content it sounded excellent.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Thanks for that, how was the atmos effect?

I just came to say there is a review at John Lewis but you beat me to it. It didnt match my experience in the showroom either, I thought for normal content it sounded excellent.
I haven’t tried much atmos yet but for me it’s about the same as the Sony ht-zf9, in that it is simulated only with no up firing speakers, but for this type I think it gives a good impression of some immersion. It’s ideal for me as I don’t really want that effect too much in our house. For full atmos I think people need to look elsewhere, but for this type of bar it sounds absolutely amazing to me.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
@thedoswells did I see a review that you wrote on the John Lewis site?
Hi. No I haven't but I do intend to, and it will be getting 5 stars.
I agree with what the other 5 star reviewer said although have very slightly different settings. For documentaries, films and music I think it sounds amazing for the price.
Couldn't be happier, esp now I have fiddled with all the settings to my liking.
I'm not sure what one of the reviewers has done, saying its too quiet as I watched Mission impossible fallout yesterday on 1/3 volume and it was almost shaking the room. The Atmos sounded superb but certainly not like a system with true vertical speakers or rears.
Cheers
 

Kev12

Well-known Member
No such thing as a dumb question, only dumb answers. In my setup I have last year's panny oled, it only has 2 hdmi sockets capable of hdr10+. One of which is the arc which this soundbar will be plugged into. So by this not having hdr10+ pass through I am left with only 1 hdr10+ socket as opposed to the 3 I could have if it had pass through.

Currently 1 is enough for my hdr10+ disc player but who knows what the future may bring with next gen games consoles.

Edit note: after thinking about it there's actually a much bigger issue, my TV won't pass through atmos, the only way I can get Atmos is by going: disc spinner>soundbar>tv. This means the hdr10+ won't be passed through to my TV so in my setup with this soundbar I can either have Atmos or hdr10+ but not both! What a mess.
You've probably sorted this by now, but doesn't your blu ray player have two hdmi outputs, one for sound only and the other for video/audio(configurable) ?
If so you could have one cable for audio only to the bar (Atmos) and the other to hdmi 1 on the tv for Hdr10 +.
 

Colsey85

Novice Member
You've probably sorted this by now, but doesn't your blu ray player have two hdmi outputs, one for sound only and the other for video/audio(configurable) ?
If so you could have one cable for audio only to the bar (Atmos) and the other to hdmi 1 on the tv for Hdr10 +.
Yes thank you that thought came to me on Friday, yes that's exactly how to do it hopefully!
 

scrowe

Well-known Member
Copied from a reply to another post:-

I picked this up yesterday for bedroom, where my old soundbase didn’t support the HD digital formats. I would have been happy with the 700 at £499, but the 900 has been reduced to £599 in some places, and the local Panny store had stock and price-matched. There isn’t much info on these as so new, there is a German review but not very technical or detailed albeit positive. You get more power/output and Technics tuning on the 900, otherwise the 700 seems identical.

The first issue when buying is to accept that whist it is marketed as an Atmos soundbar, it really only means it can decode and pass the format, it doesn’t have additional upcoming speakers for bouncing the overhead sound on the ceiling. What it does have is some clever directional aspect to the normal speakers, such that sound comes out of the top and front grilles. It is only a 3.1 channel soundbar, but it does have a separate wireless subwoofer, but no ability to add wireless rears. It therefore relies on clever software combined with the speaker engineering to create room-filling surround effects.

So knowing all this, why did I buy it, particularly as it is a higher price than Yamaha and Sony equivalents are currently, mainly because it’s new versus established older models.

1. Matching and compatibility with my 55EZ952 OLED
2. Obvious build-quality and sturdiness
3. It is slightly more compact than certain other Atmos models, 1050mm versus 1100-1200mm, and less height. I am restricted by a 800mm TV cabinet, but because it has very slight stabiliser feet, the centre and middle feet are stable on the cabinet, no wobble or anything on the overhang, as it’s pretty hefty. The sub is relatively compact too, given I have limited space to seat next to the Cabinet.
4. It’s clearly being positioned as a premium offering, and Panasonic stuff recently has been good to me.
5. It ticks most of the sound format boxes, and is well thought out, with the extra HDMI input and the option of the rear IR blaster, which I thought I might need, but didn’t ultimately.

Now I haven’t really put it through any paces yet, but it sounds very clear and crisp, and does not muffle or distort on higher volumes. For me, the issue with all the soundbars/bases I have owned or experienced is that muffling of speech, sound effects, background music into one sound projection. The major thing I notice on everyday TV shows watching is crystal clear and distinct dialog, and sound effects. I played some music via Bluetooth from my Amazon echo, and it was also very crisp. With music I cranked it up, but found it didn’t go really loud, but it lost no clarity either. It might be a Bluetooth/stereo thing because with other inputs it does go really loud, volume is 1-100 and I haven’t been listening to broadcast TV or YouTube higher than 35. I watched a bit of Dark Crystal on Netflix and I was definitely getting a bubble-surround effect in as much as I was on the bed hard against one wall, with TV/soundbar on the opposite, so directionally it was obviously coming from the TV area but was also filling the room as it travelled towards me. I haven’t watched a UHD Atmos disc yet.

Inputs are Sky-Mini/TV via optical, and AppleTV4K and UB900 UHD via HDMI.

I will say that given the price, I was disappointed there is no on-screen display/menu onto the TV, it just relies on an LED on the front of soundbar, behind the grill, and there is very limited configuration, albeit it still has a few multi-channel sound options to try. It does however integrate with the Panasonic TV, auto on/off, volume, etc, via the TV rather than a separate control for basic functions. Any music streaming stuff is only possible by using an Android chromecast app, so quite limited, and thus app is the only way to connect it to wireless to get firmware updates, etc.
 

Colsey85

Novice Member
Thank you for that very detailed review, echos what I thought listening in-store. Will you give us an update when you put a disk with Atmos through it.

I nearly bit the bullet on it last week when I spotted hughes selling it for £579 I see they are back up to £669 now.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Copied from a reply to another post:-

I picked this up yesterday for bedroom, where my old soundbase didn’t support the HD digital formats. I would have been happy with the 700 at £499, but the 900 has been reduced to £599 in some places, and the local Panny store had stock and price-matched. There isn’t much info on these as so new, there is a German review but not very technical or detailed albeit positive. You get more power/output and Technics tuning on the 900, otherwise the 700 seems identical.

The first issue when buying is to accept that whist it is marketed as an Atmos soundbar, it really only means it can decode and pass the format, it doesn’t have additional upcoming speakers for bouncing the overhead sound on the ceiling. What it does have is some clever directional aspect to the normal speakers, such that sound comes out of the top and front grilles. It is only a 3.1 channel soundbar, but it does have a separate wireless subwoofer, but no ability to add wireless rears. It therefore relies on clever software combined with the speaker engineering to create room-filling surround effects.

So knowing all this, why did I buy it, particularly as it is a higher price than Yamaha and Sony equivalents are currently, mainly because it’s new versus established older models.

1. Matching and compatibility with my 55EZ952 OLED
2. Obvious build-quality and sturdiness
3. It is slightly more compact than certain other Atmos models, 1050mm versus 1100-1200mm, and less height. I am restricted by a 800mm TV cabinet, but because it has very slight stabiliser feet, the centre and middle feet are stable on the cabinet, no wobble or anything on the overhang, as it’s pretty hefty. The sub is relatively compact too, given I have limited space to seat next to the Cabinet.
4. It’s clearly being positioned as a premium offering, and Panasonic stuff recently has been good to me.
5. It ticks most of the sound format boxes, and is well thought out, with the extra HDMI input and the option of the rear IR blaster, which I thought I might need, but didn’t ultimately.

Now I haven’t really put it through any paces yet, but it sounds very clear and crisp, and does not muffle or distort on higher volumes. For me, the issue with all the soundbars/bases I have owned or experienced is that muffling of speech, sound effects, background music into one sound projection. The major thing I notice on everyday TV shows watching is crystal clear and distinct dialog, and sound effects. I played some music via Bluetooth from my Amazon echo, and it was also very crisp. With music I cranked it up, but found it didn’t go really loud, but it lost no clarity either. It might be a Bluetooth/stereo thing because with other inputs it does go really loud, volume is 1-100 and I haven’t been listening to broadcast TV or YouTube higher than 35. I watched a bit of Dark Crystal on Netflix and I was definitely getting a bubble-surround effect in as much as I was on the bed hard against one wall, with TV/soundbar on the opposite, so directionally it was obviously coming from the TV area but was also filling the room as it travelled towards me. I haven’t watched a UHD Atmos disc yet.

Inputs are Sky-Mini/TV via optical, and AppleTV4K and UB900 UHD via HDMI.

I will say that given the price, I was disappointed there is no on-screen display/menu onto the TV, it just relies on an LED on the front of soundbar, behind the grill, and there is very limited configuration, albeit it still has a few multi-channel sound options to try. It does however integrate with the Panasonic TV, auto on/off, volume, etc, via the TV rather than a separate control for basic functions. Any music streaming stuff is only possible by using an Android chromecast app, so quite limited, and thus app is the only way to connect it to wireless to get firmware updates, etc.
I’d have to say I have found basically the same as you, thanks for taking the time to write this review.
The interesting thing for me is where you say the music didn’t go very loud from your amazon echo.
I tend to cast music from Spotify from either my android phone or iPad.
Either way I can rarely set the volume much above 1/2 or it will be deafening, so it’s either the difference between Bluetooth and casting over wifi, or that I can’t tolerate anything too loud.
Either way it is very clear and stable at higher volumes and works so reliably with my Panasonic tv.
Thanks again :smashin:
 

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