Sony HT-Z9F Owners and Discussion Thread

chenks

Active Member
indeed, i just couldn't imagine adding pseudo-surround to music that is meant to be stereo.
the only exception being music that is designed for surround, but those will be SACD or DVD/Bluray.
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
Not just those. I own over 50 DTS CDs (American) from the 1990s. I play them either on the BD player or CD transport which then uses the DTS capable converter on the soundbar through the optical connection.
 

chenks

Active Member
yes that was the point i was making, those are specifically recorded for DTS audio, but cinema mode would be more relevant for those rather then music IMO.

normal music would never play as anything other than stereo.
 

Fedozzi

Novice Member
Connected via earc, I’m playing a video with dolby atmos, but the soundbar’s display says dolby truehd, if I play a video with dts:x, then the display says dts:x. this is normal?
 

Morden

Active Member
the point i'm making is that regardless of the function being on or off, the on-screen display always says "vertical surround engine".

so the only way to know if it's on or off is by pressing the button to see what it changes to.

also, maybe i'm just not testing if with suitable content, but i've not really experience any "bubble" effect with it apparently on or off. whenever i've had it play Atmos TrueHD content i've been left "meh" and felt it was no different to normal 5.1.

the layout of my room (which isn't big), the front is 1.7m away, sub is 1.8m, rears are 1.7m
couch is essentially in the middle between the TV/soundar and rears.
my levels are still set at the default of 0db, because i really don't understand how to configure these and what "base" level to use whilst testing.

rears are set to 8 and sub is set to 9.
main volume really depends on what is being watched. Live TV can be lower (and some channels are louder than others), shield pro (used for plex, youtube, netflix) again can vary depending on the content. can be 14-15 or 22-23 (but even 22-23 isn't wall shaking).

the "auto sound" also doesn't appear to be very clever at auto detecting. i play some music thru it (via plex) and it didn't auto change to the what i would deem as the appropriate setting for music (ie simple stereo), it put it to a setting that tried to simulate surround, which definetely isn't appropriate for music! pressing the "music" button on the remote correctly set it to stereo.

@Morden your thoughts would be appreciated.
On my SB, the display says vertical surround off or on after I press the button for it.

I don't use auto sound and use button on remote to switch between cinema, game and music.
 

chenks

Active Member
On my SB, the display says vertical surround off or on after I press the button for it.
that's not what i meant.

yes that prompt does appear, but pressing "display" it always says "vertical surround engine", therefore that suggests it is on, but pressing the "vertical surround" then says "on" suggesting that it was actually already off.

pressing the vertical surround button seems have no affect on what the display button shows - ie it always says vertical surround in the on-screen info when pressing "display".
 

Morden

Active Member
the point i'm making is that regardless of the function being on or off, the on-screen display always says "vertical surround engine".

so the only way to know if it's on or off is by pressing the button to see what it changes to.

also, maybe i'm just not testing if with suitable content, but i've not really experience any "bubble" effect with it apparently on or off. whenever i've had it play Atmos TrueHD content i've been left "meh" and felt it was no different to normal 5.1.

the layout of my room (which isn't big), the front is 1.7m away, sub is 1.8m, rears are 1.7m
couch is essentially in the middle between the TV/soundar and rears.
my levels are still set at the default of 0db, because i really don't understand how to configure these and what "base" level to use whilst testing.

rears are set to 8 and sub is set to 9.
main volume really depends on what is being watched. Live TV can be lower (and some channels are louder than others), shield pro (used for plex, youtube, netflix) again can vary depending on the content. can be 14-15 or 22-23 (but even 22-23 isn't wall shaking).

the "auto sound" also doesn't appear to be very clever at auto detecting. i play some music thru it (via plex) and it didn't auto change to the what i would deem as the appropriate setting for music (ie simple stereo), it put it to a setting that tried to simulate surround, which definetely isn't appropriate for music! pressing the "music" button on the remote correctly set it to stereo.

@Morden your thoughts would be appreciated.

What db levels are you at, as I cant play above 20 when I have a 4k disk on.

My sound levels are set for 55 db at 18 volume with rears and sub adjusted for this level at 6 on their volume. Sub is set slightly lower at 50db on sound meter. (Using the white noise sound to set up)

With non 4k disk yes you can have it louder as bass is more muted and no where near as loud, especially Netflix/ amazon apps.

I tested again on Friday as thought I had an issue with bass, using the dark knight 4k disk and yes complaints from front of house over volume and thats in a room behind a double glazed door which offers a level of soundproofing.

The system is very bass heavy.
 
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Morden

Active Member
that's not what i meant.

yes that prompt does appear, but pressing "display" it always says "vertical surround engine", therefore that suggests it is on, but pressing the "vertical surround" then says "on" suggesting that it was actually already off.

pressing the vertical surround button seems have no affect on what the display button shows - ie it always says vertical surround in the on-screen info when pressing "display".

Yes the display always says it's on, which appears to be a flaw in the display and what it says.

The button indicates off or on and when I put mines off and on i notice a difference in sound, when off a 5.1 track sounds similar to my 5.1 system in other room. When on it creates the bubble effect to the sound where it envelopes you.

Just tested dark knight 4k disc again at 24 can hear outside bass felt in front room and in the room I'm in sounds like I'm in an imax with bass level. I would also say I can feel the bass and it can be heard outside of the house.
And on sound meter, I'm at 70 to 80db peak on the dark knight disk in opening scene with bank raid.

Whilst avengers on disney plus app, which is 5.1, sound is substantially quiter still a fair bit bass, but very subdued compared to the 4k disk. And on pressing vertical surround off and on, I notice difference in sound field, I would say rears are more noticeable with vertical surround on.

On a native atmos feed it will make no difference as atmos using the button as always on when a true atmos soundtrack.
 
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Mayandi2

Active Member
I just played the 4K disc of Black Hawk Down with the audio set to Atmos, subwoofer at 8 and rear speakers at 5. At a volume setting of 22, I got terrific sound and was worried (still am after the movie is over) that the guy downstairs might complain.

I think that the HT ZF9 + Rear speakers is excellent for playback of BD and 4K discs; but for TV programs, you may have to set it differently depending on how it was shot.
 
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Morden

Active Member
I just played the 4K disc of Black Hawk Down with the audio set to Atmos, subwoofer at 8 and rear speakers at 5. At a volume setting of 22, I got terrific sound and was (still am after the movie is over) that the guy downstairs might complain.

I think that the HT ZF9 + Rear speakers is excellent for playback of BD and 4K discs; but for TV programs, you may have to set it differently depending on how it was shot.
And the apps are different as well, I find disney plus slightly louder than Netflix. Though as you say depending on program e.g. on Netflix it is different on different content.
 

chenks

Active Member
What db levels are you at, as I cant play above 20 when I have a 4k disk on.

My sound levels are set for 55 db at 18 volume with rears and sub adjusted for this level at 6 on their volume. Sub is set slightly lower at 50db on sound meter. (Using the white noise sound to set up)

With non 4k disk yes you can have it louder as bass is more muted and no where near as loud, especially Netflix/ amazon apps.

I tested again on Friday as thought I had an issue with bass, using the dark knight 4k disk and yes complaints from front of house over volume and thats in a room behind a double glazed door which offers a level of soundproofing.

The system is very bass heavy.
i will sit down tomorrow and go thru all the settings again and get back to you with what they are.
 

Obscure1

Standard Member
I have the same depening on 4k, regular bluray, or different apps. Atleast I dont need to touch distances, but increased the rear DB's in the settings to the point where I can alter the rears on the fly and not max them out. Not using the sound stabalizer may help, but I like it so I will live with it.
 

Palexr

Active Member
yes it is virtual vertical, but at no point do you know if it is actually turned on or not (there is a phyiscal button to turn it on and off).

the on-screen, no matter what, always says "vertical surround engine".

it should only create virtual vertical effect when there IS an atmos signal, otherwise it shouldn't as it's not appropriate to do so.
Will need to check later on mine, but I thought it definitely tells you when it is on or off. By the way, it has nothing to do with Atmos. Or rather, it only works to put out "fake" Atmos when there is no Atmos. So, if it is switched on then there will always be some kind of "vertical" sound, be it real Atmos or fake.
 

chenks

Active Member
so essentially if you want to hear the "true" audio track from anything, the virtual vertical should be left turned off? as when the soudbar receives an atmos audio track it'll do the vertical part regardless?
 

sneakyweeone

Active Member
I have managed to get a price match with John Lewis against Sevenoaks for the HT-ZF9 plus the two rear speakers. This comes in at £697. Sevenoaks were doing the deal with the £100 off the speakers if you do the combo buy the bar and the speakers together.
So now I am waiting to hear the reviews of the SONOS Arc to decide whether to get either of these. My main concern on the Sony is you seem to have be having a load of chat over settings and really once I set this up I want it to just do the work. Is this a straightforward soundbar that I can plug and play or am I always going to be mucking about with settings?
 

SLS72

Active Member
Vertical surround is the setting people debate with the ZF9 but in my experience the ZF9 isn't even remotely capable of producing height effects regardless of whether that setting is on or off and whether you play Atmos content or not. It doesn't have proper up firing drivers and the virtual surround engine seems to be a bit of a con. I still like the ZF9 as a solid 5.1 system with the rears but I wouldn't bother if you want Atmos and DTS X. I realise other owners will be more convinced of the height effects but personally its just a 5.1 system for me.
 

Morden

Active Member
so essentially if you want to hear the "true" audio track from anything, the virtual vertical should be left turned off? as when the soudbar receives an atmos audio track it'll do the vertical part regardless?
Yes when a native atmos soundtrack from film is played the vertical surround button makes no difference.

When a 5.1 sound track is played, vertical surround will use processing to give it an atmos effect by "upscaling" it to a simulated atmos sound. If vertical surround is switched off it plays native 5.1. ( if you have the rear speakers).

So you have the choice to get an atmos effect or not if you prefer not to have it.
 
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Morden

Active Member
Vertical surround is the setting people debate with the ZF9 but in my experience the ZF9 isn't even remotely capable of producing height effects regardless of whether that setting is on or off and whether you play Atmos content or not. It doesn't have proper up firing drivers and the virtual surround engine seems to be a bit of a con. I still like the ZF9 as a solid 5.1 system with the rears but I wouldn't bother if you want Atmos and DTS X. I realise other owners will be more convinced of the height effects but personally its just a 5.1 system for me.
No system apart from roof mounted atmos, will give true overhead.

What the zf9 does is a simulation of atmos and will do front to back and left to right. When vertical surround or a 4k disk with Atmos soundtrack is played it will encapsulate you in a bubble of sound.


You need the system properly setup with distances to each speaker and use a db meter to set the sound levels balanced across all of the speakers and set it up at a volume that is suitable
And on non disk based source, the effect is not so pronounced.

A good demo for this is the matrix gun fight scene at elevator, john wick 1 in the nightclub shootout scene (bit of a keanu Reeves theme going on) and Appocalyse now helicopter attack when ride of the valkyrie plays.
 
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Morden

Active Member
I have managed to get a price match with John Lewis against Sevenoaks for the HT-ZF9 plus the two rear speakers. This comes in at £697. Sevenoaks were doing the deal with the £100 off the speakers if you do the combo buy the bar and the speakers together.
So now I am waiting to hear the reviews of the SONOS Arc to decide whether to get either of these. My main concern on the Sony is you seem to have be having a load of chat over settings and really once I set this up I want it to just do the work. Is this a straightforward soundbar that I can plug and play or am I always going to be mucking about with settings?

You will need to change mode between cinema , standard or game if you need to. But you can leave it on cinema. And the presets are on the remote.

Apart from that maybe adjust Sub rear and main volume dependant upon source material you should not have to change settings. But the controls are on the remote for this. And I think any system would require that.

If you set it up as I previously described, you should not have to continually adjust settings apart from volume.
 

chenks

Active Member
yeah there is definetely a bug in the display setting showing that "vertical surround" ie enabled when it isn't.

i press the VS button and it says "OFF" i press display and it says "Dolby 5.1 blah blah + Vertical Surround Engine".

i press the VS button and it says "ON" i press display and it says "Dolby 5.1 blah blah + Vertical Surround Engine".

so no matter what state the VS is in (according to the VS button), the Display still says it's active.
this doesn't seem to happen ALL the time though. sometimes (might depend on the source) the vertical surround engine isn't mentioned when pressing display when VS is OFF.
 

chenks

Active Member
on the occasion where "vertical surround" is OFF and doesn't show up in display, this is what display shows

LPCM 2.0Ch 48KHz + S-Force Pro Front Surround Neural:X
 

Morden

Active Member
on the occasion where "vertical surround" is OFF and doesn't show up in display, this is what display shows

LPCM 2.0Ch 48KHz + S-Force Pro Front Surround Neural:X
Lpcm means your getting 2.1 stereo, and neural x isnt atmos it's the competitor.

Have you changed settings for sound effect under audio settings>>sound effect?
 

chenks

Active Member
It's set to "sound mode on"
It would have been on that out the box
i wasn't watching any atmos content though, just content that had a normal stereo track.

i'm now watching a tv show (from plex) that has an AC3 5.1 audio track and the display shows "dolby audio - dolby digital plus 5.1 47KHz _ vertical surround engine Dolby Surround", and that's with VS turned OFF!
 
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Morden

Active Member
It's set to "sound mode on"
It would have been on that out the box
i wasn't watching any atmos content though, just content that had a normal stereo track.

i'm now watching a tv show (from plex) that has an AC3 5.1 audio track and the display shows "dolby audio - dolby digital plus 5.1 47KHz _ vertical surround engine Dolby Surround", and that's with VS turned OFF!
It may have been the source material, if sound effect is on it will switch on and off with the button on remote.

Dolby digital plus 5.1 sounds right as that's what I get from a 5.1 track.

As I said previously, the display text doesnt reflect actual vertical sound settings.
If vertical surround when says off or on when you press its button on remote that's a true reflection of its actual state.
 

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