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Martin Dew

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Nakamichi has announced an upgraded version of its Shockwafe soundbar, the Ultra 9.2 eARC, available now for $1,899. Featuring Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and eARC connectivity, the product includes a new SSE MAX technology, which the company says is a state-of-the-art architecture of hardware and software performance technologies.
The former Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 SSE, with its twin subwoofers and ‘quad modular’ surrounds, garnered some impressive reviews and accolades, but Nakamichi has worked with customers via surveys and beta tests to understand what features they wanted to see in the next model. The ‘SSE’ or spatial surround elevation tech found on earlier models has been supercharged on the new Ultra 9.2 eARC product with SSE MAX. The result is a “convergence of power, processing and performance” to produce a truly immersive audio experience.
NakamichiShockwafeUltra92eARCSoundbar2022-1024x768.jpg

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Chewbabka

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Feb 15, 2020
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Joe
I think someone is going to have to explain to me the thinking behind a 'soundbar' with 6 speakers. It seems we are hitting Doublespeak territory

I won't even get into the $2000 soundbar concept.
I have the smaller Nakamichi system, so-called 7.1 system. It has a wireless subwoofer and 2 surround speakers. Even for this, “soundbar” is not a great descriptor, but it makes sense from a marketing perspective to indicating you get the whole system in a box and don’t need a separate receiver.

I paid $600-700 for mine. It is great for an apartment in which installing a real system is impractical and when you’re at the point in your life where you expect to pack up and move it a few times. I get to enjoy surround sound in a small room without thinking too hard or spending too much.

Now, at $2000, we’ve lost the concept. I wouldn’t use a system like this a real home-theater install. As this is an update of an existing product, there is apparently a market for it, but I haven’t a clue who it is.
 

John_Bilbrey

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Jan 16, 2002
Messages
326
@Chewbabka - you have the 7.1.4 system? How do you like it? I'm leaning towards something like this for our new living room as a traditional HT won't meet WAF (it's relegated to the movie room). My biggest concern/gripe is having to wire the surrounds to the sub - not sure I like that idea. Also, our living room is going to be a pretty big volume of airspace with really high ceilings - you think there's enough output there, especially from the sub?

EDIT: also considering the new Samsung 950.
 

Chewbabka

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Feb 15, 2020
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Real Name
Joe
@Chewbabka - you have the 7.1.4 system? How do you like it? I'm leaning towards something like this for our new living room as a traditional HT won't meet WAF (it's relegated to the movie room). My biggest concern/gripe is having to wire the surrounds to the sub - not sure I like that idea. Also, our living room is going to be a pretty big volume of airspace with really high ceilings - you think there's enough output there, especially from the sub?

EDIT: also considering the new Samsung 950.

I enjoy it a lot. I've never listened to a real Atmos home theater so I can't compare to that, but the virtual Atmos surprisingly does achieve some height effects. It's used in the living room of a 1-bd apt with 9' ceilings. I sit 8' from my TV and the surrounds are right behind the couch, so I can't speak to its performance in a more cavernous space. But I never listen to it near max volume, and I have the surrounds turned down well below max, and the bass only at 6-7/10, so it's got plenty of power to spare for my setup.

It's also good for music in stereo mode over Bluetooth or 3.5mm aux. Got it on sale from BB during Black Friday 2020.

I have the sub by the TV, and the wires are run under an area rug to the surrounds that I have on stands. If you're worried about the wires, you could move the sub to the back of the room assuming you're still in bluetooth range of the soundbar.

I really like that it has multiple HDMI inputs, so I don't have to rely on my TV's flaky ARC implementation. I use dual-HDMI with my UHD player so I can bypass ARC entirely when I'm watching movies. I think most soundbars rely on a single HDMI ARC port.

It does have some quirks. Sometimes if I pause/rewind, sound will cut out and not come back, and I have to restart the thing. Though I'm not sure if it's the soundbar or the DVR box that's responsible for that. I run into the issue FAR less often when I'm watching discs, and the DirecTV box is a POS in other regards too. I've had Nakamichi freeze up too, and had to unplug it. But infrequently and it's always come back on. I've not run into any major issues, and am pleased with it for what I paid.
 

John_Bilbrey

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Messages
326
Thanks for the review. It seems like the biggest "knocks" are having wired surrounds and no app. The wired surrounds are easily overcome by moving the sub/rears or hiding the cables, and not having an app isn't an issue. Once it's set up, you likely will never need to mess with settings again.

It seems like this would fit the bill for me, especially at the price. The Samsung is going to be pushing twice the price of the Nakamichi system if not more. I can't see there being that much difference in performance. Worst case, I step up to the two sub system for slightly more.
 

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