Sony Bravia Theatre Quad review

A new wave of WiFi home-theatre

₹ 2,39,990

(+ Rs. 61,990 for SW5 Subwoofer)

One of the few CE brands well-entrenched in the film-making process, from creation to post-production to distribution and finally, playback, Sony knows a thing or two about films. Granted, their ES series of high-end home-theatre products no longer grace Indian shores. Still, their experience in recreating the cinema experience at home was amply showcased by the last-gen A9 system. A four-speaker wireless HT system that was pretty unique in design and execution, but met with phenomenal success thanks to its innovative signal processing and powerful sound. If there was one chink in its armour, it was the odd shape of the satellite speakers…


Taking that feedback positively and getting to work, three years later, Sony has decided to up the ante with the Bravia Theatre Quad, the successor to the A9 with a fresh form factor. This essentially is the MkII version and it retains the same formula of four wireless speakers that connect to a control box along with an optional wireless subwoofer. Now though, Sony has flattened the satellite speakers to make them exponentially more decor-friendly. Their squarish design, light fabric mesh and a mere 2.1in depth make them perfect for wall-mounting, even passing off as wall decor. For our test though, we used the bundled table stands which too, are elegantly designed to give the speakers a floating silhouette. Better cable management for the power cable should’ve been thought of though. 

The satellite speakers themselves are a completely new, ground-up design with a 3-way front-firing speaker system and a top-firing full-range driver to handle the simulated surround duties. Specially designed woofers with shallow mounting depth and high excursion ensure that even without the subwoofer, you can use it as a full-range system, but we would strongly recommend against it. The SW-5 that Sony sent us along with the Bravia Theatre Quad is the larger of the two models and it’s 7in woofer is more than capable to rock even a 350sq.ft room without breaking a sweat. Without the subwoofer, it’s only like driving a sports car on bicycle tyres. 

Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping has been around for awhile and its implementation on the A9 is what really gave it the edge over other similar systems. On the Bravia Theatre Quad, there have been some enhancements. Most notable is the Bravia Connect app that is a step-by-step guide on getting the system set up and running along with room calibration specific to the acoustics and design of your space. Brilliantly designed and executed, even by non-geek standards, the app handholds you through the entire process and though Sony may claim it takes “seconds”, you’ll need to set aside 20 minutes from start to finish. 

As before, an Apple TV-sized box manages all the physical connections to and from the source and TV, which includes an HDMI in/out, S-Centre and Ethernet. It’s fairly basic and in fact, a bit too basic. The front panel display is just a single line scrolling display that shows visual representation of the remote actions you make but its too tiny to read across the room. Also, no OSD support means you have rely more on the app for visual confirmation of actions if you have the control box out of view, in a cabinet or behind the TV itself. 

Voice Zoom 3 is an evolution of a much loved feature and now uses AI to detect voices in a mix and bring them to the fore, mitigating the need to increase the volume just to decipher that scene where Sylvester Stallone whispers into the man’s ear after pulling his heart out with his bare hands. A special bonus for owners of newer Sony BRAVIA TVs is the S-sync feature that uses a single cable connection with the TV to use the TV speakers as a centre speaker, augmenting the phantom creation of a phantom image. This really helps in anchoring voices and dialogue to the screen and shouldn’t be ignored if you have a Sony TV with this port. Sony has deliberately kept the remote controller small and simple because once you have the system set-up, there isn’t much to be played around with. The app does let you control the level of the rear speakers’ output on the fly while the physical remote has hot keys for bass level, voice, sound field and night mode. The only real gripe here is the lack of backlighting on the remote control, forcing you to reach for the phone and the app until muscle memory kicks in.


One of the tricks the A9 could pull off was compensate for the placement of speakers at different locations and heights around the room via its nifty 360 Spatial Sound Mapping tech. The Bravia Theatre Quad takes this a step further and uses your phone’s microphone in multiple positions to ascertain the primary listening position and tunes the system accordingly. Approximately 12 phantom speakers are created around your room, hoping to immerse you in a bubble of sound far bigger and wider than just four physical speakers ever could. Of course, the biggest advantage this new system has over the A9 is the inclusion of upward-firing drivers on every marked speaker. Depending on your room layout, speaker placement and ceiling height, this can be a very powerful tool and will prove to be the differentiating factor between a good sounding Bravia Theatre Quad and a great-sounding one. 

Starting with the pick of the season, Heeramandi on Netflix, the Sony placed the subtle mix well around the room without calling attention to the rear speakers, which is always a good thing. We used the S-Centre option to use our reference 77in A80K OLED to double up as a centre channel and voice speaker. Besides the obvious sonic gains, having a Sony TV also gives you access to critical controls right from the TV’s quick setting menu so one remote is all you need. Sonically, the biggest difference between the A9 and the Bravia Theatre Quad is the immersion factor that has increased audibly and the overall resolution. It’s more sophisticated driver array and the upward firing drivers definitely proving their worth in this case. 

Soundfield mode is down to personal preference, but in almost every situation, be it 2-channel music via AirPlay or Dolby Atmos movies on OTT, we left it on for a wider soundstage and more presence. For hardcore audiophiles, a feature that is missing on the table stands is an angling hinge, so you’d have to ideally have them set up at the right height (ear level) for proper imaging. The computational power of 360 Spatial Sound Mapping is good, but not good enough to fool you into thinking that the London Philharmonic is playing in your room. There are no tone controls on the app or on the remote control, so high frequency energy could be a bit aggressive if you have a “live” room. Voice Zoom was one of the best features which really boosts the vocals in sitcoms, news, YouTube videos or anything that needs emphasis in the mid band. One anomaly was a slight and constant buzz emanating from the TV speakers when the S-Center EP connector was plugged in. While watching content, it was easily masked by the rest of the speakers, but in an eerily quiet room, it did get noticeable.

The SW5 subwoofer has already proven itself to be a potent tango partner and even with the new satellite speakers, it blends beautifully without calling attention to itself. The default calibration done by the Bravia Connect app set it up on the hotter side, but a couple of notches down and it sings beautifully with the satellites. Sony has even improved the wireless antenna on each speaker for a more stable and robust connection with the control box and it proved effective. In our week long listening test, there were no dropouts and the system just worked flawlessly. Of course, they’re wireless but still need to be plugged into a power outlet, so better think it through before assuming it works via electrical sorcery.

In essence, the Bravia Theatre Quad could easily replace a “traditional” home-theatre system and yet deliver the same calibre of sound. Inherently, it has an advantage over the typical soundbar designs due to its physically separated left and right speakers, affording a much wider soundstage and spread of sound across the room. It’s efficacy in creating an atmosphere around your room is undoubtedly phenomenal. Is it accurate? Not entirely. Although it supports IMAX Enhanced, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, technically the speaker layout requirements for every format vary slightly. Sony treats them all with its own 360 Spatial Mapping that does bring the room to life with sounds emanating from points in space that have no physical speakers and while it successfully creates a sonic bubble, it may not be exactly as per the mixing engineer's intentions. Having said that, movies and music ultimately aim to entertain  and the Sony Bravia Theatre Quad is down for that. Its crisp delivery, high vocal intelligibility, generous power output and a fantastic recreation of atmospheric surround sound means that you will be involved in no matter what you watch. Or play. It’s gaming ready with its HDMI 2.1 eARC port and uses Bravia Sync, along with VRR and ALLM support.


If you had to buy a soundbar or even a traditional 5.1 speaker system, you could spend more or less than this Sony system. So why would you pick this? The Bravia Theatre Quad is for those who want an elegant looking solution without running speaker wires all over their room, with a convincing rendition of modern day surround formats, all controlled via a masterclass of an app. It sounds like a much bigger system than it actually is, with headroom to spare. If you have a Sony TV, the Voice Zoom feature works even better and in unison, is the perfect antidote to poor TV sound.

Stuff Says

A meaningful redesign of a successful model and pushes the game even further with enhanced performance.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Redesigned app and speaker modules look great

  1. Wide spread of sound and even better clarity than before

  1. Subwoofer means business, even in a large room

  1. Control box needs better display, remote needs backlight

  1. Table stands not adjustable for angle

  1. Music doesn’t have the same depth as bookshelf speakers

Power Output: 500W total
Speakers: 3-way satellites w/top-firing driver
Subwoofer: 7in driver w/300W
Connectivity: HDMI in/out, BT, WiFi, Ethernet, S-Centre out
Dimensions (WHD): 289 x 306 x 129mm (w/table stands)
Weight: 2.6kg each w/table stand