Sony finally replaces its award-winning soundbar with new Bravia Theatre model

Bravia Theatre Bar and Bravia Theatre Quad offer tantalising Dolby Atmos options

Sony Theatre Bravia
(Image credit: Sony)

For a number of years, the Sony A7000 has been one of the top choices when it comes to home cinema soundbars. It was launched in 2021 as a single box Dolby Atmos solution and Sony's flagship soundbar. It's ranks well on our best soundbars list, while also cleaning up at the What Hi-Fi Awards for the past few years.

But that model has just been replaced, as Sony reimagines its soundbar offering. The Bravia brand has been resuscitated for 2024, with Sony's new flagship TV getting the Bravia 9 name, while its soundbars fall under the banner of Bravia Theatre.

There's neat alignment between the positioning of the TVs and the positioning of soundbars, so where you have Bravia 9, Bravia 8 and Bravia 7, you have Bravia Theatre Bar 9 and Bravia Theatre Bar 8, so there's some aligned structure.

The Theatre Bar 9 is the interesting model as this replaces the Sony HT-A7000. The new model features 13 speakers, including side speakers for an expansive sound stage, upfiring speakers for immersive Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced audio, along with the important centre channel and tweeters.

This is joined by the Theatre Bar 8 (replacing the A5000) which has 11 speakers and is now more compact than the version it replaces.

Sony 360 Spatial Sound Mapping

(Image credit: Sony)

There's a great deal of sophistication to these soundbars, including spatial sound mapping and the creation of phantom speakers. Previously if you wanted to create phantom speakers you'd have to buy the soundbar and rear channels, but Sony now says you can do it from just the Theatre Bar 9 and Theatre Bar 8, which is quite the enhancement.

Of course, for the most immersive results, you'll be able to expand the offering with additional speakers, supporting Sony's subwoofer and rear speakers if you want those physical channels.

There's a distinct advantage to using a Sony soundbar with your Sony Bravia TV, however. Thanks to a clever technology called Acoustic Centre Sync, your Sony soundbar and TV will synchronise, using the speakers both in the TV and on the external sound system. This can work to centre the sound field on the screen and make it sound like those on the screen are actually speaking those words.

That's enhanced by Voice Zoom 3, which uses AI to recognise speech and optimise the sound for better vocal delivery, all controlled by the Bravia Connect app.

Sony Bravia Theatre Quad

(Image credit: Sony)

Bravia Theatre Quad gives Dolby Atmos without the soundbar

If you want a sound solution that isn't a soundbar, then Sony has another option. Called Bravia Theatre Quad, this four-speaker system replaces the Sony HT-A9, to give an immersive experience from four separate speakers.

Although there are four physical units, the Bravia Theatre Quad contains 16 speakers, broken down into an upfiring speaker, a woofer, midrange driver and tweeter in each unit. This will allow it to create that sound sphere associated with Dolby Atmos.

Bravia Theatre Quad just needs the wireless control box connecting to your TV's HDMI, then it will go to work - without the need for an amplifier as you'd normally find in a home theatre setup using separate speakers.

All in, it's a comprehensive rethinking of how Sony's soundbars are positioned, now more distinctly aligned to support the Bravia brand. Given the great performance that Sony's soundbars have offered in the past, we're expecting great things from these new models.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.