Entertainment Nakamichi’s new Dolby Atmos soundbar is a Sonos Arc on steroids
Nakamichi’s new Dolby Atmos soundbar is a Sonos Arc on steroids
Soundbar maker Nakamichi has announced a pair of systems that go heavy on the bass – really heavy. The ShockWafe Elite 7.2 eARC soundbar system ($1299, available end of September) is notable for its dual 8-inch subwoofer configuration, while the ShockWafe Elite 7.1 eARC ($899, available now (opens in new tab)) features a similar feature set but comes with a single, yet sizeable sub with a 10-inch woofer.
Bass extension is a specified 25Hz for the Elite 7.2 eARC and 30Hz for the Elite 7.1 eARC.
Each system comes with a soundbar that features six front-facing coaxial “extended range” drivers comprising the left, center, and right channels, plus a pair of side-mounted “surround effects” tweeters. These combine with a set of two-way wired surround speakers that can be positioned in a “Full Elevation” configuration optimized for Dolby Atmos playback.
While there are no upward-firing drivers on the soundbar, Nakamichi’s proprietary SSE Max processing features a Spatial Audio option that works with the surround speakers to create a “360 Degree” presentation, with support for both Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. Dolby Surround and DTS:X upmixing for stereo sources is another processing option both systems offer.
Connections on the new Nakamichi systems are wide-ranging, with 3 HDMI inputs plus an HDMI output with eARC support. There are also both coaxial and optical digital inputs and wireless streaming via Bluetooth Apt-X HD, a higher-res step-up option from the regular Bluetooth wireless that’s bundled with most soundbars.
Each system also comes with a full-scale backlit remote control with dedicated buttons to switch inputs, select sound processing modes, and modify individual speaker channel levels during playback.
Two subwoofers can be better than one – especially for soundbars
Nakamichi’s ShockWafe Elite 7.2 eARC soundbar system may lack the upfiring drivers found on high-end competitors like the Sonos Arc, but it does provide one important feature that the Arc lacks: not just one subwoofer, but a pair of them.
Using multiple subwoofers in an audio system allows for more even, and evenly distributed, bass than a single sub can provide. And using two – or more, in the case of Sennheiser’s not-yet-announced but leaked new Ambeo model – of them with a soundbar is a particularly good idea because the subs that come with most soundbar systems tend to get positioned in places where they won’t deliver the best performance (there is an art and a science to subwoofer setup).
Of course, you can add Sonos’ own Sub to any of its soundbars, including the Arc, but that will add a whopping $750 to its $799 / £799 / AU$1,399 price. (You can also apparently add two subs to a Sonos ‘bar, but at even greater cost.) That’s why many Sonos soundbar owners are waiting it out for the company to release its less pricey Sonos Sub Mini – though that product release has been pushed by the company from late 2022 to 2023.
In the meantime, anyone looking for a powerful and feature-packed soundbar system should be investigating these promising new offerings from Nakamichi, which on sheer specs alone could easily rank among the best soundbars.