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Bose’s new flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar brings AI smarts to the dialogue problem

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar in black.

Bose has launched its latest flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar — the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar — which looks identical to its predecessor, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 (which it replaces), and even carries that same price at $899. However, Bose says that the Ultra model has a new AI-driven dialogue mode that uses machine learning to make spoken words easier to hear. The new speaker is available on starting September 21.

“Ultra” seems to be the new hotness at Bose right now. Earlier this month, the company launched its new earbuds and headphones — the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, with Bose’s immersive audio tech as the headliner update for both products.

As with the 900, the Ultra Soundbar has up-firing drivers to bounce height-channel sound off your ceiling to your listening position — a key ingredient in getting Dolby Atmos and other immersive sound formats to deliver their 3D effects. You can buy the Ultra in black or white and both versions come with an impact-resistant tempered glass top.

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar in white.

While the soundbar has been optimized for Dolby Atmos playback, Bose says its own spatial technologies can give non-Atmos content a more immersive sound too. It’s the same Bose TrueSpace tech that made its debut on the Smart Soundbar 900 and Bose has kept it for the Ultra.

Also making a return is Bose’s Adaptiq room correction feature which uses an external mic to take readings of your room’s acoustics and applies that information to the soundbar’s tuning.

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar in white.

Many of the Ultra’s other features will be familiar to fans of the Bose Smart Soundbar family of speakers, including a single HDMI eARC connection, Wi-Fi with Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa built-in, and the Bose Voice4Video feature which lets you command some of your TV’s functions via Alexa voice commands.

You can pair the Ultra wirelessly with Bose bass modules and surround speakers, and the soundbar can function as part of a multi-room wireless sound system. Bose SimpleSync lets you connect select Bose wireless headphones over Bluetooth for a private listening experience with independent volume controls for the speaker and the headphones.

If the Ultra’s new AI-enhanced dialogue feature isn’t triggering your need to buy, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 will be sold at a generous discount — $749 instead of the usual $899 — until inventory is all gone. Some retailers are selling it for even less — as low as $699.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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