The TCL Alto 9+ is a 3.1 setup that's designed to be compatible with TCL's Roku TVs, so you can use a Roku TV remote to control the bar. It also has TCL's RAY-DANZ technology, with vent-like openings on the side of the bar that the manufacturer claims create a wider, more immersive soundstage. Even though it comes with a dedicated subwoofer, it's lacking a touch of low-bass, and its sound profile is also a bit dark and dull. On the upside, it supports Atmos content, and it has lots of wireless connectivity options.
The TCL Alto 9+ is alright for mixed usage. Its sound profile is a bit dark, and it's also lacking low-bass, which is disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music genres. It supports surrounds and Atmos content, but it has to downmix it into stereo, which isn't very immersive. Fortunately, its dedicated center channel can reproduce voices clearly and accurately, and it has lots of wireless playback options, too.
The TCL Alto 9+ is decent for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel and balanced mid-range, it can reproduce dialogue pretty clearly. However, its dark sound profile can make voices sound a bit muffled, too. You can stream audio wirelessly to the bar via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, and Chromecast built-in. Unfortunately, the bar doesn't get very loud.
The TCL Alto 9+ is okay for music. Its sound profile is a bit dark, and it also lacks the low-bass that adds thump and rumble to music, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Even though it comes with TCL's RAY-DANZ technology, its soundstage is diffused and not very wide. It doesn't get very loud, either, but fortunately, there are a few sound customization options.
The TCL Alto 9+ is mediocre for movies. It supports surrounds and Atmos content, but it has to downmix it into stereo, which doesn't provide the most immersive listening experience. Its sound profile is somewhat dark, and it's lacking the low-bass that provides thump and rumble to action-packed scenes. It also doesn't get very loud, which may be disappointing for some listeners.
The TCL TS9030 is a 3.1 soundbar from TCL's 2020 lineup. It comes with TCL's RAY-DANZ technology that's advertised to create a wide and immersive soundstage. Like the TCL Alto 6+, it's also designed to be compatible with TCL's Roku TVs, so you can use your Roku TV remote to control the bar. Its main competitors are the TCL Alto 7+, the Sony HT-G700, and the TCL Alto 5+.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a sleek soundbar with a unique design. The bar is mostly made of plastic with tight fabric covering the drivers in the middle of the bar. It comes with TCL's RAY-DANZ technology, which uses vent-like openings on the side of the bar to create a wider soundstage. Also, there's a plastic cover that can help hide the connections, which is nice.
The subwoofer is mostly made of MDF and plastic. It's tall, and it sits on four plastic pegs. The driver is located underneath the sub.
The bar is wide and likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. However, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.
The subwoofer is a bit larger than an average desktop PC. Thankfully, it connects wirelessly to the bar, which gives you some flexibility on where to place it in your room.
There aren't any satellites in this setup.
There are two openings on the back of the bar for the power cable and the inputs. There's also a plastic cover that you can remove to access the connections and use to cover them up once the cables are connected. If you want to wall-mount the bar, there are also proprietary holes on the back.
The port is located on the back of the soundbar, and there's also an input for the power cable.
The TCL Alto 9+ has a decent build quality. The bar is mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable, but the tight fabric covering the drivers could potentially rip or get dirty. The sub is mostly made of MDF and plastic.
The TCL Alto 9+ has an adequate stereo frequency response. It has a somewhat balanced sound profile, especially in the mid-range, so dialogue is present but also a bit muffled. It's lacking a bit of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of EDM and hip-hop. Also, the underemphasized treble can make audio sound dark and dull. Fortunately, there are a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound.
The TCL TS9030 has a disappointing stereo soundstage performance, even though it comes with TCL's RAY-DANZ technology, which the manufacturer claims helps to create a wider soundstage. Its soundstage seems a bit wider than the bar itself, but the sound is very diffused and unnatural. Its focus isn't very good, either, so objects like footsteps or voices seem to come from a general area rather than an accurate, pinpoint location. For a 3.1 soundbar with a better soundstage, check out the Samsung HW-A650.
The TCL Alto 9+ has decent stereo dynamics. It may not get loud enough to use in a large room or at a crowded party, but fortunately, there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume.
The TCL Alto 9+ has a satisfactory stereo THD performance. At normal listening volumes, the amount of THD falls within good limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. There's a jump in THD at max volume, but this can be difficult to hear with real-life content.
The TCL Alto 9+ has an impressive center channel performance. Thanks to its 3.1 configuration, it has a dedicated center speaker, which reproduces dialogue in your favorite movies clearly and accurately.
This soundbar has a poor surrounds performance. It downmixes surround sound content into stereo, so, unfortunately, surround objects aren't as clearly or accurately represented as they would be with discrete surround speakers.
This soundbar has a bad Atmos performance. Unlike other 3.1 soundbars like the Klipsch Bar 48, it has height channels, so you can use it to watch Atmos content. However, it downmixes Atmos content into stereo, which doesn't sound as immersive as dedicated height speakers.
The TCL TS9030 has a poor selection of sound enhancement features. It comes with four EQ presets: 'Movie', 'Music', 'TV', and 'Boost'. The 'TV' preset doubles as a dialogue enhancement feature. There's also a vertical surround effect that can make Atmos content sound more immersive. However, there isn't a room correction feature, so audio may sound a bit different depending on your room's acoustics.
The TCL TS9030 has lots of physical inputs. Thanks to its HDMI ports, the bar can be used as a hub between different devices like your TV and your PC. There's also a 3.5mm AUX port, which lets you connect your older devices to the bar over a wired connection.
Update 01/13/2021: We re-evaluated our methodology for ARC support and concluded that DTS and Dolby Digital+ support should be reported the same over an ARC connection as over an HDMI IN and Optical connection, so we updated our results for DTS support from "Yes" to "No". Some TVs, like the one we initially used for testing, may convert this content, but other TV brands may not. Ultimately, your experience may vary depending on your TV.
Via its ARC port, this soundbar supports some of the formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs like Dolby Digital.
The TCL TS9030 supports Dolby Digital content via its Full HDMI In port, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.
The TCL Alto 9+ only supports Dolby Digital over its Optical In port, and it doesn't support DTS content.
The TCL Alto 9+ has outstanding wireless playback options. You can stream audio from your phone or tablet to the bar wirelessly using many different connections.
Update 02/23/2021: Thanks to user feedback, we confirmed that this soundbar does support HDR10 and Dolby Vision. We updated our results for HDR10 Passthrough from "No" to "Yes".
The TCL Alto 9+ can be used as a hub between your TV and your PC, and text sent using this signal looks clear and crisp.
The sub connects wirelessly to the soundbar, and it just needs a power cable. There's also a pairing button on the back of the sub.
The interface is a five-character display that scrolls for longer words. It displays the soundbar status, the current source input, the volume level, the bass/treble level, and the sound modes.
There are controls on the top of the bar, so you can turn the bar on and off, change the input source, adjust the volume, and activate Bluetooth.
The remote lets you control all of the bar's functions, such as the volume, the input, and the bass and treble.
This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.
The TCL Alto 9+ doesn't turn off on its own after a period of inactivity, but you can manually set it to either SLEEP or STANDBY low power modes. The bar supports HDMI CEC, so you can control some of the bar's basic functions with your TV remote. The manufacturer also claims that you can control the bar using a Roku TV remote, but we don't test for this.
The TCL Alto 9+ only comes in one color: 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.
If you come across another variant of this soundbar, let us know in the discussions.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a 3.1 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content. Even though it comes with TCL's RAY-DANZ technology, which the manufacturer claims create a wider soundstage, it has a disappointing soundstage performance. It has lots of physical inputs and wireless connectivity options, and it also supports 4k passthrough. If you're looking for more soundbars, see our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars under $300, and the best soundbars for music.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 8i. The 9+ is a 3.1 setup that comes with a dedicated subwoofer, and its default sound profile is better-balanced. It also has more wireless playback options and a better center channel performance. However, the 2.1 8i has a better soundstage.
The TCL Alto 6+ is a better overall performing soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+. The Alto 6+ is a smaller 2.1 setup, has a better-balanced sound profile, and can get significantly louder with fewer compression artifacts. However, the Alto 9+ has a better performing center, surround, and height channels. It also has a Full HDMI In port, supports Dolby Atmos, and has outstanding wireless connectivity options.
The Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+ for most uses. The Samsung is better-built, with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and more sound enhancement features. It gets louder and also has a better soundstage performance. However, the TCL supports Dolby Atmos content, offers more wireless playback options, and can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals.
The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+. The Yamaha is a 2.1 setup with a better-balanced sound profile and a better stereo soundstage. However, the 3.1 TCL has a dedicated center channel, resulting in better center performance. It also supports Atmos content, unlike the Yamaha.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 7+. The 9+ is a 3.1 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content, and it has more wireless playback options and physical inputs. Thanks to its Full HDMI In port, it supports 4k passthrough, too. However, the 7+ is a 2.1 setup that's better-built, has a better soundstage, and gets louder.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 5+. The 9+ supports Atmos content, unlike the 5+, and it has more physical inputs and wireless playback options. As a result, the 3.1 setup 9+ can be used for 4k passthrough. However, the 2.1 setup 5+ is better-built, has a better soundstage, and gets louder.
The TCL Alto 9+ is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 3. The Alto 9+ comes with a dedicated subwoofer, and it has a better-balanced sound profile. As a 3.1 setup, the Alto 9+ comes with a dedicated center channel, unlike the 2.0 Alto 3, and it supports Atmos content. It also has a Full HDMI In port, and it supports more wireless playback options.
The Klipsch Bar 48 and the TCL Alto 9+ are both 3.1 setups, and depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Klipsch has a better soundstage performance, and it also gets louder. However, the TCL supports Dolby Atmos, and it comes with EQ presets. Thanks to its Full HDMI In port, it can support 4k passthrough, too.