If, like us, you're of a certain vintage, you will remember Japanese audio specialist Nakamichi for its tape decks and in-car stereo systems. Although the company struggled to compete in the era of CDs and went into administration in 2002, Nakamichi has been back in business for a few years now and, since 2016, has quietly been producing a range of Shockwafe soundbars – no, that isn't a typo.
Quick history lesson: the first model, the Shockwafe Pro 7.1 soundbar, was the first ever soundbar to include seven discrete surround channels. Cut to 2018 and four more models were added to Nakamichi's Shockwafe lineup, incorporating dual subwoofers, quad modular surround speaker technology and DTS:X compatibility – spearheaded by the flagship Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 DTS:X. In 2019, the company updated this range-topping model with the Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 SSE Soundbar System, which was named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree.
Now, Nakamichi is upping its game again with the model we want to tell you about: the new flagship Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC soundbar (2022). It features the company's all-new Spatial Surround Elevation (SSE) Max technology, supercharged speaker drivers and amplifier hardware, eARC connectivity, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Vision and, for the first time ever, Qualcomm aptX HD support.
In an unconventional approach, Nakamichi actually collaborated with its customers through survey and beta tests, analysing over 5000 reviews to understand the upgrades and features that consumers most wanted for the 2022 model.
So you could say that the new Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC soundbar flagship system is a celebration of the relationship between the company and its beloved tribe of Nakamichi fans, but the audio specialist assures us its progeny is also the new reference plug-and-play home theatre soundbar system to beat all others in its category. But then they would say that.
Spatial Surround Elevation (SSE) Max Surround Processing Technology (say that after a few drinks) is billed as a "state of the art architecture consisting of precisely-tuned performance hardware and the exclusive SSE surround processing software technologies featured in previous Shockwafe series". This convergence of power, processing and performance promises the most immersive 360° movie, music and gaming entertainment experience possible.
A quick run through of the components in the system begins with the fully upgraded soundbar, which features custom-designed extended range twin-cone drivers, silk dome surround effects tweeters and high output amplifiers to boast smooth, powerful, crystal-clear sound, ensuring every audience member has the best seat in the house. This supercharged soundbar and surround speakers are encased in a premium, matte black chassis.
Next up, the dual subwoofers. Nakamichi's signature dual 10-inch subwoofers have been elevated with all-new high output amplifiers and upgraded subwoofer drivers.
Lastly, the quad modular surround speakers (2nd Gen) promise to wrap you in "a rich 360° sphere of cinema sound". Said quad two-way modular surround speakers now boast silk dome tweeters and extended range twin-cone drivers too.
And to future-proof connectivity, HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) enables the soundbar to receive higher-resolution audio coupled with 4K HDR and Dolby Vision pass-through to a TV. With 3 HDMI 2.1 inputs, multiple devices can be conveniently connected to the soundbar also.
Finally, Nakamichi says the Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC is the world’s first soundbar with Qualcomm aptX HD, allowing listeners to stream their favourite tunes in better quality from smartphones, tablets or laptops via Bluetooth 5.0.
Pricing? Of course. The Nakamichi Shockwafe 9.2 eARC (2022) flagship soundbar system will be available from select retailers in March, with a MSRP of $1900 (which is around £1450 or AU$2565, although official pricing for these regions is not yet known).
Can Nakamichi challenge the Dolby Atmos soundbar class-leaders? We shall see.
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