Nakamichi’s new Dolby Atmos soundbar is a Sonos Arc on steroids

Nakamichi ShockWafe Elite 7.2 eARC soundbar system against white background
(Image credit: Nakamichi)

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) 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.

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.