Sony beefs up Bravia TV soundscapes with new Bravia soundbars

Mike Wheatley

Alongside the new Sony Bravia TV models that were introduced at a special media event earlier this week, the Japanese company unveiled a couple of new, high-end soundbars, including the Bravia Theatre Bar 9 and the Bravia Theatre Bar 8.


They’re the new top-tier soundbars in the company’s broader lineup of TV audio devices, which also includes many more affordable but less-powerful options. The Theatre Bar 9 is said to be the company’s new “flagship” model, while Theatre Bar 8 is being called the “premium” model.

The new soundbars are the successors to the popular Sony HT-A7000 and Sony HT-A5000 models that launched last year, and like Sony’s new TVs, they’re being launched with a newer, simpler naming convention. The Sony HT-A7000 and HT-A5000 were both rated among the best soundbars money could buy in 2023, so naturally big things are expected of their replacements.

Judging by the specifications, they should certainly sound the part. The Bravia Theatre Bar 9 is said to offer 13 speakers in total, with four X-balanced woofers located across the front, four passive radiators on the surface (providing great bass performance when paired with woofers, the company says), a pair of beam tweeters, a “side-mounted” X-balanced speaker on each end of the soundbar, and two up-firing X-balanced speakers on the top.

On top of that, Sony says the Bravia Theatre Bar 9 is 36% more compact than the HT-A7000 soundbar it replaces, sporting a more minimalist look that should ensure easier visual integration with any TV and sound setup.


As for the premium Bravia Theatre Bar 8, this comprises a total of 11 speakers, with four X-balanced woofers, side speakers and up-firing drivers, and woofers across the front. The design should be enough to ensure an impressively immersive audio experience, and the soundbar is noticeably not quite as wide or deep as previous models, being 30% more compact than last year’s HT-A5000, Sony said.

According to Sony, the new soundbars both support 360-degree spatial sound mapping and can be twinned with external rear surround speakers such as the Sony SA-R5S and Sony SA-R3S, as well as subwoofers like the Sony SA-SW5 and Sony SA-SW3. Doing this will create the impression of additional “phantom speakers”, Sony said. Those external speakers are all existing models, and it seems Sony doesn’t intend to refresh them just yet.


Other features include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, the latter of which might be interesting for Disney Plus subscribers, and support for IMAX Enhanced, which will come later in the year. Sony has also updated the Acoustic Center Sync technology on its 2024 TVs, ensuring “improved integration” with the new soundbars. According to Sony, the improved integration enables superior synchronization, resulting in more accurate sound location.

Besides the new soundbars, Sony also announced the Sony Theatre U, which is a new version of the SRS-NS7 Wireless Neckband Speaker. This is a somewhat odd device that’s designed to deliver localized sound without the use of headphones, though mixed reviews last year suggest that the experience is somewhat lacking. With any luck, Sony has made improvements that should ensure it works better.


Sony said the new audio devices can all be controlled via the Bravia Connect smartphone app, which enables access to advanced settings and playback options, such as Sound Field Optimization, allowing users to fine-tune the audio performance to their liking.

The Sony Theatre Bar 9 is available to pre-order in the U.K. now, priced at £1,400, while the Theatre Bar 8 will cost £1,000.