What’s the Panasonic SC-HTB900 soundbar?
The SC-HTB900 is Panasonic’s flagship Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbar. Tuned by the golden-eared bods at Technics, it guarantees hi-fi efficiency – or, no less than, higher-fi than run-of-the-mill soundbars. Plus, with Chromecast assist and Bluetooth it isn’t above the day-to-day mundanities of streaming audio.
Excited? You could be, however the SC-HTB9000 isn’t fairly the product it’s possible you’ll intially suppose it’s…
Associated: Greatest soundbar 2019
Panasonic SC-HTB900 soundbar design and construct – Nothing out of the peculiar by way of design
It’s troublesome to make a soundbar look something aside from useful, however Panasonic makes an honest effort. The bar has a neat rolled grille, and there’s a refined accent working full-width, which additionally options a variety of contact controls: energy, quantity management and enter choice.
A “Tuned by Technics” badge stresses musical credibility, backed up inside by the supply of a Technics derived JENO Engine, used to scale back jitter from related HDMI sources.
The soundbar is equipped with a easy mounting bracket, for positioning it underneath a wall-mounted TV. Measuring 1050mm vast, the SC-HTB900 is appropriate for screens which can be 55in and bigger.
Connections sit in a recess down underneath. There are two HDMI inputs, plus an HDMI ARC output. Whereas 4K enabled, these convey solely common HDR10. They don’t assist HDR10+ or Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough.
There’s additionally an optical digital audio enter and IR blaster enter. Ethernet is obtainable as a substitute for built-in Wi-Fi (the soundbar isn’t twin band, it solely works with 2.4GHz). Bluetooth v4.2 gives a wi-fi cherry on prime.
The soundbar utilises an eight-speaker LCR array. There’s a pair of 6.5cm woofers and 1.6cm dome tweeter left and proper, separated by matching twin woofers that deal with centre duties. The tweeters are high-res succesful. There aren’t any devoted Dolby up-firing drivers on board.
The partnering wi-fi subwoofer is a light-weight, comparatively compact field, armed with a downward-firing 16cm driver that takes goal at a moulded plastic base.
The system comes with a primary credit score card-style distant management, which gives quantity enter and Bluetooth pairing buttons.
Panasonic SC-HTB900 soundbar options and value – No calibration settings required
This technique doesn’t include any calibration utilities; it’s a plug-and-play job. The wi-fi subwoofer pairs routinely.
Usability is considerably rudimentary. There’s no on-screen show; as an alternative, the bar proffers a brilliant LED show, readable by the grille itself.
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Panasonic SC-HTB900 soundbar efficiency – An pleasurable three.1 channel efficiency, but it surely’s a disappointing Atmos/DTS:X soundbar
When you’re coming to the SC-HTB900 in quest of 3D audio, or perhaps a unfastened interpretation of it, you’ll be upset. That is unapologetically a three.1 system. Whereas the SC-HTB900 understands Dolby Atmos, and for that matter DTS:X, it actually doesn’t do a lot with the codec.
Each rear encompass and high-channel info is deployed by the entrance left/proper association. A 3D encompass impact “pushes” sound upwards, but it surely’s removed from convincing. It doesn’t exhibit any of the psycho-acoustic cleverness of the Sony HT-ZF9, which additionally delivers Atmos by a three-channel, forward-facing array.
A run-through of ordinary Dolby Atmos check clips, designed to engulf you with positioned results, is locked fully to the entrance soundstage.
Associated: What’s Dolby Atmos?
The system gives variety of sound modes: Commonplace, Stadium, Music, Cinema, Information and Straight. The latter maintains a two-channel supply for stereo content material, transferring to three.1 for multi-channel sources.
Immersive caveats apart, the three.1 efficiency of this bar is persistently pleasurable. Vocals and dialogue are clear and effectively rounded, singer songwriters mellifluous.
The presentation is vast, too. Like all the most effective bars, the soundstage seems to develop past the bodily dimensions of the cupboard.
The opening heist in Child Driver (Sky Cinema UHD, Dolby Atmos) hits a excessive word, with thumping beats and dynamic motion. It will get the adrenaline pumping, even when there’s little sense of sonic journey.
A run-through of Kingsman: the Secret Service (Blu-ray DTS:X) is equally entertaining. When the glass breaks after the spy recruits the primary underwater check, there’s an enormous sonic ripple that washes ahead. 3D sound mode engaged, it’s an enormous thumping, listening expertise.
Whereas the subwoofer could also be light-weight, it sounds seismic. Earlier Panasonic soundbars have acquired criticism for his or her lack of bass, and it appears these wizards from Technics have gone out of their method to redress the steadiness by actually ramping up the increase. The system is bone-rattling at occasions, however in a great way.
The subwoofer comes into play at 31.5Hz, however doesn’t actually disgorge any vitality till 50Hz. The crossover with the primary soundbar is about at 100Hz. When you hold the sub shut by, the crossover is comparatively seamless.
Complete energy output is rated at 505W. This breaks down to three x 85w throughout the entrance, and 250W going to the sub. Whereas it’s in all probability greatest to take that quantity with a pinch of selling salt, the system demonstrably has sufficient grunt to fill the typical listening room. Word that it doesn’t respect being pushed too arduous, although, because the soundstage begins to get slightly ragged.
Ought to I purchase the SC-HTB900?
When you worth sonic readability and gutty slam, the SC-HTB900 is a winner. Nonetheless, don’t come to this three.1 package deal anticipating immersive 3D audio – it merely doesn’t ship. The dearth of assist for dynamic HDR metadata requirements additionally makes it a poor match when you’ve got an upmarket 4K display.
Finally, the SC-HTB900 sits between stools. It’s costly and unconvincing when in comparison with rival Dolby Atmos soundbars, but it surely does sound fairly darn nice by itself phrases. Make of that what you’ll.