Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Dec 10, 2019 at 10:08 am
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
7.8
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.9
Music
7.5
Movies
Channels
9.2.4

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch is quite a unique soundbar system. It has a 9.2.4 speaker configuration with two wireless subwoofers and four dedicated surround rear speakers. It offers an immersive listening experience, especially with Atmos content. This soundbar can get very loud, although some compression artifacts can be heard in the bass range at max volume. Unfortunately, it has a dark sound profile with stereo content and sounds quite excited with surround content. On the upside, it has plenty of HDMI ports and can be used as a hub for your different devices and it has many different settings to help you make it sound the way you prefer.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. This soundbar has a warm sound profile with overemphasized bass and lacks a bit of detail, which isn't ideal for most music genres and dialogue. However, when watching Atmos content, like movies, it offers an immersive listening thanks to its unique 9.2.4 speaker setup.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
  • Unique 9.2.4 setup configuration.
  • Can get very loud.
  • Immersive experience with Atmos and surround content.
Cons
  • Warm sound profile with stereo content.
  • Compression at max volume.
7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows

Decent for dialogue. This soundbar setup has a warm sound profile, which might not be ideal for dialogue but on the upside, it has a dialogue enhancement feature and a night mode. This makes voices clearer and easier to understand, even at a lower volume.

6.9 Music

Just okay for music. The stereo frequency response of this soundbar is rather warm, which might not be ideal for every music genre. It has overemphasized bass which is great for bass-heavy music, and it can get quite loud, although some compression is audible at max volume.

7.5 Movies

Decent for movies. This soundbar has a rather warm sound profile, but supports Atmos content for a more immersive and exciting experience. It has a unique configuration with four rear speakers, resulting in an excellent surround experience. There's also a ton of features to customize your sound to your liking.

  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.9 Music
  • 7.5 Movies
  1. Updated Mar 18, 2021: Updated latency measurements with new methodology.
  2. Updated Feb 09, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  3. Updated Dec 10, 2019: Review published.
  4. Updated Dec 05, 2019: Early access published.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch is the highest-end soundbar from Nakamichi. This model is unique thanks to its dual sub setup with four surround speakers. It provides a more realistic listening experience than the Shockwafe Elite 7.2, which only has two surround speakers. The Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 doesn't have similar competing setups due to the unique configuration, but it's often compared to a full Bose Soundbar 700 setup, a full Sonos Beam setup, or even the Samsung HW-Q90R.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2 soundbar has a pretty unique style. It's entirely black, with very small silver accents and comes in an unusual shape for a soundbar. There's a metal grille covering the front and the side speakers, while the rest of the bar is covered in plastic.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The two subwoofers are mostly made out of wood, and the speaker is hidden on the underside. They have a very minimalistic but sleek design.

Design
Style - Satellites

The four rear speakers have a grille covering the speakers with a plastic body frame. You can either position them sideways like pictured, or standing up.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 49.0" (124.5 cm)
Height 3.6" (9.1 cm)
Depth 2.8" (7.2 cm)

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 bar is pretty large, which means you probably won't be able to fit it between the legs of a TV stand. Also, its body is quite high, meaning it might cover the bottom part of your TV, especially if it sits flush to the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 12.4" (31.6 cm)
Height 20.3" (51.6 cm)
Depth 13.6" (34.5 cm)

The two wireless subwoofers are quite bigger when compared to typical soundbar subs. Be sure to have enough room for both of them.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width 8.0" (20.4 cm)
Height 5.6" (14.3 cm)
Depth 4.8" (12.1 cm)

The satellite speakers aren't too big when compared to other models, but consider the fact that you have four of them to place around. Also, you can interchange the height and width data depending on whether you position them sideways or standing up.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the bar is pretty standard. It has a matte finish and a few holes for your different inputs and power supply.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The sub's port is on the back side, and you have the two connectors for the satellite speakers.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Universal (holes on back)

The satellite speakers' back is pretty plain. You have universal mounting holes and the wires to connect to the wireless subwoofers.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Nakamichi Schockwafe Ultra 9.2's build quality is great. It's quite similar to the Samsung HW-Q90R, as there's a solid metal grille covering the bar's front and side speakers. The subwoofers are also made out of wood and the speakers are hidden on their underside, which is less prone to damage like some subs that have a side fabric panel covering the speaker. Even the satellites are well-built and feel high-end.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Remote
  • Batteries
  • Rear speaker cables
  • HDMI cable
  • AUX cable
  • Optical cable
  • Wall-mounting accessories
  • Manuals

Sound
6.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
DSP Off
Slope
0.07
Std. Err.
3.62 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
48.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
7.1 kHz

The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2's stereo frequency response is just okay. Its low-frequency extension is quite higher than some other soundbars, which is disappointing. On the upside, the bass seems evened out throughout the room thanks to the two subs. It also lacks a bit of detail in the treble, resulting in a darker sound profile with stereo content.

Note: The Nakamichi speakers were tested with the Hybrid Elevation 1 configuration . All stereo/center channel content was tested without any effects enabled or levels adjusted.

6.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
DSP Off
Suggested Bass Setting
5
Suggested Treble Setting
5
Slope
0.07
Std. Err.
3.62 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
48.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
7.1 kHz
7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
1.65 dB

The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2's stereo soundstage is good. Just like the Samsung HW-Q90R, it's about the size of the bar, but sounds very focused. Objects in the soundstage seem to be coming from an accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area, which is great.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
101.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.61 dB

The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2's stereo dynamics performance is good. It's one of the loudest soundbars we've tested so far, but unfortunately, there's some noticeable distortion at max volume, especially in the bass range. However, there shouldn't be any issues at a normal listening volume.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.56
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.76

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2's THD performance is good. At a normal listening volume, the audio reproduction is clean and pure. The THD does get a bit elevated at max volume, which might make frequencies a bit harsh and impure, but most people won't notice it with daily content.

8.4
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-1.06
Std. Err.
3.84 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
101.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.41
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.66

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4's center channel is great. Thanks to its speaker configuration, this soundbar has a dedicated center channel, which results in a clearer and more accurate dialogue reproduction.

8.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.61
Std. Err.
4.24 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
102.3 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.14
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.90
7.1 Rears
Yes

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2's surrounds performance is excellent. Thanks to its 9.2.4 setup configuration, you have dedicated surround speakers, which provide very accurate localization of objects in the soundstage around you. However, the sound profile of these speakers is quite excited, with more bass and treble, which can be entertaining for movies, but not everyone will prefer this.

Note: To be able to play surround and Atmos content, we needed to use Dolby Surround On, with no DSP mode, and set the Spatial Surround Elevation setting to level 3. This was the only way to get all four speakers to work properly. All surround content was tested in Native mode.

6.6
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar & Satellites)
Slope
-0.89
Std. Err.
5.04 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
100.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
2.18
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.95

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2's Atmos performance is decent. Its quite immersive when watching movies, although since the up-firing speakers are on the bar and rear speakers, it won't be as focused as down-firing speakers with a dedicated home theater setup. The sound profile is also quite excited, with overemphasized bass and treble.

Note: To be able to play surround and Atmos content, we needed to use Dolby Surround On, with no DSP mode, and set the Spatial Surround Elevation setting to level 3. This was the only way to get all four speakers to work properly.

6.9
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2's sound enhancement features are decent. It has a 'Room' button that changes the sound depending on your room size, which isn't quite like a room correction as there's no microphone being used to analyze your room. The 'Bass' button on the remote controls the sub volume rather than the amount of bass being produced by the whole setup. This soundbar system offers a lot of sound customization options and special features to help you make it sound the way you prefer.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
3
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 has plenty of physical inputs. It has three HDMI In ports, making it easier for you to use your soundbar as a hub for all your devices. You can also plug in an AUX cord, which is great at parties where people want to play their music without going through the Bluetooth pairing process.

8.4
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 supports Dolby Digital Plus, which serves as a carrier for Dolby Atmos, on top of supporting the more common Dolby Digital and DTS. If you have DD+ content, the bar will be able to decode it and deliver a more immersive listening experience via the ARC port. Unfortunately, it doesn't support eARC.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
Yes

This soundbar has outstanding support via the HDMI In ports. You can easily get surround or object-based sound formats to play, which results in an immersive and great experience when watching content on Blu-rays, streaming platforms, or even when gaming.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

Like most soundbars, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 supports Dolby Digital and DTS over optical, which can usually be found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms like Netflix

8.1
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
69 ms
Optical
70 ms
Full HDMI In
-28 ms

Update 03/18/2021: There was a mistake in our methodology where we measured the latency using every second frame (eg. 120fps). We now re-evaluated the footage using every frame at 240fps for more accurate results.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

Unfortunately, this premium setup only supports wireless playback via Bluetooth, which some may find disappointing. It doesn't support Wi-Fi playback, unlike some similar high-end models like the Samsung HW-Q90R.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

When connecting your devices to the soundbar, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 has no issues passing through the highest quality signals. It also supports 4:4:4, meaning that when using your PC, the text will be clear and easy to read on a TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The wireless subwoofers only need power and don't need to be wired to the soundbar. However, you need to wire the rear speakers to the subs.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Partial, wired to wireless sub

While the rear satellite speakers aren't connected to the soundbar, you need to wire them to the wireless subwoofers, which might be constraining for some.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2 soundbar's interface is pretty standard. You have a screen hidden behind the grille that shows the different inputs, settings, and menus.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The bar controls are pretty straightforward. You have a volume up and down, a button to switch inputs, and the power button. The 'Demo' button plays the Nakamichi test tones for every channel.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Nakamichi Ultra 9.2's remote is pretty big. It offers a lot of control over the soundbar system but unfortunately doesn't act as a universal remote.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

There's no dedicated app for this soundbar.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

When put in 'Eco Mode', the soundbar goes into standby after 20 minutes of inactivity. It also supports HDMI CEC, meaning you'll be able to power on/off or adjust the soundbar's volume with your TV remote.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is a very unique soundbar that has two dedicated subwoofers and four rear speakers, which is quite uncommon. However, it doesn't necessarily result in better overall performance, as it has a disappointing stereo frequency response. On the upside, it offers an immersive listening experience with surround and Atmos content. See our recommendations for the best soundbars and the best Dolby Atmos soundbars. If you don't need such a high-end setup, check out the best budget soundbars.

Samsung HW-Q950A

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch or the Samsung HW-Q950A. The Samsung is a more versatile 11.1.4 setup that offers more sound enhancement features, including room correction and a graphic EQ. Its default sound profile reproduces a more extended low-bass, and it also has built-in support for Alexa voice assistant. That said, the 9.2.4 Nakamichi has a unique design with two subwoofers. It's better-built, and it gets louder, albeit with more compression at max volume.

Sonos Arc

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Arc or the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch. The Nakamichi is slightly better for movies as it has a better surrounds performance. It also comes with EQ presets, unlike the Sonos, as well as two subwoofers and four satellites. However, the Sonos is a standalone bar that has a better soundstage. It also has room correction, and voice assistant support built into the bar. You can also upgrade it as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers for a better performance.

Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

The Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers is a better soundbar than the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch.  The Sonos is better-built, and it has a more neutral, balanced sound profile. Also, it has a better soundstage performance and more sound enhancement features. However, the Nakamichi is Bluetooth-compatible, unlike the Sonos, and it offers more connectivity options, so it also supports 4k passthrough.

Vizio Elevate

The Vizio Elevate is better than the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch for most uses. The Vizio is a 5.1.4 setup with a better soundstage and more wireless playback options. That said, the Nakamichi has better surround and Atmos performances. It also comes with two subwoofers and four satellites, which help create a more immersive sound.

Samsung HW-Q950T

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch and the Samsung HW-Q950T are two differently set up soundbars. The Nakamichi is a 9.2.4 setup that comes with two subwoofers and two satellites. It has a more premium build quality, and it has a better surround and height performance. It also has three Full HDMI In ports as well as an AUX port, and a USB slot. In contrast, the Samsung is a 9.1.4 setup that has a more neutral sound profile and a graphic EQ. It can get a little bit louder than the Nakamichi with slightly fewer compression artifacts, and it has full audio format support via its ARC port.

JBL Bar 9.1

The JBL Bar 9.1 is a better soundbar than the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch. The JBL offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some listeners may prefer. It has a better soundstage and more wireless connectivity options. Also, it comes with a room correction feature. However, some listeners may prefer that the Nakamichi comes with two subs and four satellites, and it has a better surrounds performance.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch and the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 are often compared. However, since we only tested the Bose with the bar alone, results between a 9.2.4 setup and a 3.0 soundbar aren't very comparable. That said, the Nakamichi can get louder and it offers an amazing surround experience, thanks to the additional speakers. However, the Bose has a wider soundstage due to its side-firing speakers.

Samsung HW-Q90R

The Samsung HW-Q90R is a better soundbar system than the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch. Although the Nakamichi has more speakers, its sound profile isn't as neutral as the Samsung. The performance at max volume of the Samsung is also better. On the other hand, the Nakamichi shines when it comes to surround performance thanks to the four dedicated rear speakers.

Sonos Beam

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch is a better setup than the Sonos Beam soundbar by itself. Since we only tested the Sonos with the bar alone, it's somewhat hard to compare a 9.2 system with a 3.0 system. Nevertheless, the Nakamichi gets louder with stereo content, although its soundstage isn't as wide as the Sonos'. The Sonos soundbar also features a room correction feature that uses a microphone to make adjustments to the audio reproduction.

Vizio SB36512-F6

The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a better soundbar system than the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch for most people, especially for the price. It has great overall performance, with a very good, neutral sound profile. On the other hand, its surround sound listening experience isn't as immersive as the Nakamichi soundbar with its four dedicated surround speakers.

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