Let’s say you want to listen to high-quality surround sound without a speaker or headphones. Or maybe you want to annoy someone trying to enjoy a book on the sofa next to you? Maybe you’re looking for one of the more critical gaming setups that involves wired connections from your PlayStation 5 console to the console for an engaging and personal 3D audio experience? Then you have to think about wrapping Sony Bravia Theater U-Shaped Speaker Around your throat. Just try not to get tangled in the cables running from your wishbone to the TV across the room.

To be fair, the $300 U Theater is comfortable with some great audio capabilities. But then again, Any number of high-quality headphones You can show off the same without sharing the audio with other people on the couch with you. Sony’s expensive speaker keeps the sound mostly contained but not well enough that it would disturb people nearby. It is intended for singles, although you can deliver two theaters to us Bravia TV One in time. At that point, after spending over $400 on individual speakers, you could buy a high-end speaker.

If you all need high-quality sound without the cans, Sony’s 2024 U Theater Reproduction will do the job, even if it’s one of the strangest ones I’ve used. There are legitimate reasons why audio hounds may prefer this headphone over a pair of headphones. If plugging in earphones or taping buckets over your lobes causes problems or ear fatigue, U Theater might be worth a look. Unfortunately, its key features, which should work well with other Sony products, also cause basic usability issues.

Bravia U Theater on Bravia TV requires a statue head to be placed

Image for article titled This $300 Sony Speaker Has a Choke Due to Its Own Limitations

picture: Artem Golub/Gizmodo

Theater U uses Bluetooth to deliver audio to all non-PlayStation devices (we’ll get to that later). The controls on the device itself are clear and the fit is relatively comfortable without being too heavy or digging into your collarbones. Ergonomically, this is a win for Sony.

When setting up Theater U for the first time on my brand-new Bravia 7 TV (that review will come later), I had to jump through several hoops and log into my Sony and PlayStation accounts a record four times to bring up a special ear-tracking app. correct; You need to use a special app to tell the Bravia TV where your ears are on your head. Sure, other Sony soundbars may require you to position your sofa in exactly the right place to support the 3D audio effect, but the Theater U needs visuals of my ears for the same service.

With all that said, you get some really impressive 3D audio. The resulting effect is very convincing. Sound quality was excellent, with almost high-end headphone levels with full-range speakers. Then you tilt your head five degrees, and the effect is ruined. You have to keep your neck at a 90-degree angle, like a soldier on a parade ground, to make sure your one ear doesn’t pick up any distortion. Don’t even think about lying on the couch or cracking your neck unless you want to damage your sound quality.

I’ve only encountered this issue using a Bravia TV with Sony’s spatial audio app. On other devices and TVs, the problem is much less. The sound distorts a little when you shift your ears, but it’s not very noticeable.

The U Stage sounds great, but even though it mostly retains its sound, your roommates, spouses, and nearby kids will undoubtedly hear it. You could connect two Theater Us devices to a single Bravia TV at the same time, but at that point, after spending more than $400 on a pair of speakers, you could have bought a high-end soundbar.

U Theater on PS5 requires a long, long USB cable

Image for article titled This $300 Sony Speaker Has a Choke Due to Its Own Limitations

picture: Kyle Barr/Gizmodo

Sony says the best, or perhaps only natural, way to get 3D audio from your PlayStation 5 is to use a wired connection to the DualSense controller, from USB-C to microphone. but this is not all; To get the best sound, Sony wants you to use a wired connection from the console to your PS5. If the goal of the Theater U is to deliver 3D audio from anywhere in the room, I doubt many people own more than a 6-foot USB-C cable or even that.

I’m forced to search for a large enough USB-C cable in my office. The longest found extended only 4 feet. We had to move the couch closer to connect it to the PS5, which wasn’t the optimal viewing arrangement for the Bravia 7. Sony understands the limitations in today’s world that values ​​wireless connections. How can they not? Sony’s product page states that this was intended for “single-player wired gaming.”

I have used it in single and multiplayer games like Resident Evil 4 And Hell Divers 2. I had to turn the volume up to max when playing RE:4, but I can say that the spatial audio experience enhances the tension when I’m running away from the Chainsaw Man in the game’s initial village sequence. The experience is somewhat less compelling in multiplayer, especially when you have a few randos chattering in your ear. The bass was strong enough that explosions and gunshots sounded powerful.

Does the cable connection to the PS5 even matter? I tried it out and didn’t notice any audio lag, though I did experience lags when trying to connect it to a TV using an Xbox Series I’m confused as to why the folks at Sony TV didn’t consider Sony Interactive’s PlayStation Link. This is the same technology that allows low-latency communication with PlayStation Pulse Elite headset and Headphones. In my experience, this connection standard was perfectly acceptable for 3D audio on PS5.

If you use your U Theater with a Sony-branded TV or console, you can only watch your content in the ways U wants you to. It requires you to watch with your back straight against the couch cushion, and your neck perfectly aligned, like the missionary position for watching TV.

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