Music on the system was a mixed bag. Listening to a Tidal stream of “Who Am I,” by British trio London Grammar, the vocals were clear though a bit trebly, and the bass line had decent depth and impact. Turning on Vertical Surround also added spaciousness to the already dense mix. Another track I played, Ray Lamontagne’s “Barfly” fared less well. While vocals were mostly smooth, cymbals and snare drum sounded papery and lacked detail. There was also a leanness to the sliding bass guitar, with notes ending their descent with a pinched thud.
The final word on Sony’s HT-Z9F? It delivers impressive surround for a compact soundbar when paired with Sony’s SA-Z9R wireless speakers. Atmos and non-Atmos soundtracks alike were rendered in a high and wide manner, but for $900, I expected better performance with music.