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6 Compelling Reasons to Steer Clear of the Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 Soundbar

Are you in the market for a high-end soundbar to take your home theater setup to the next level? You may have come across the imposing Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 in your research. With a whopping 21 channels of audio delivered via 11 speakers, 4 subwoofers, and 6 upfiring drivers, plus support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, it certainly seems to tick all the boxes on paper for the ultimate surround sound experience.

However, as an audio expert and home theater enthusiast who has evaluated hundreds of soundbars at all price points, I strongly believe the Dragon 11.4.6 simply doesn‘t make sense for the vast majority of consumers, despite its impressive specs. Before you consider dropping the substantial sum it commands, read on for my top 6 reasons to avoid the Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 soundbar.

1. The Astronomical Price Tag

First and foremost, it‘s impossible to ignore the Dragon 11.4.6‘s exorbitant price – an eye-watering $3,899. Yes, you read that correctly, nearly four thousand dollars for a soundbar. Here‘s some perspective on just how much money that is in the world of home audio:

Soundbar Price Channels
Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 $3,899 21 (11.4.6)
Samsung HW-Q950A $1,599 16 (11.1.4)
Sonos Arc $899 5.0.2
Vizio Elevate $799 10 (5.1.4)
Yamaha YAS-209 $349 2.1

As you can see, the Dragon 11.4.6 is in a price bracket all its own, costing more than double the next most expensive competitor in this lineup, and nearly 5 times more than the perfectly capable Sonos Arc or Vizio Elevate. In fact, for the price of a single Dragon 11.4.6, you could purchase a high-end 65" OLED TV, a Sonos Arc and Sub, and still have enough cash leftover for a nice weekend getaway.

While there‘s certainly a market for ultra-premium audio gear aimed at well-heeled enthusiasts, a nearly $4,000 soundbar is extraordinarily difficult to justify for all but the most dedicated audiophiles with expansive budgets. The reality is, the vast majority of people can achieve an incredible home theater experience for a fraction of the cost.

2. Unwieldy, Impractical Size

One look at the Dragon 11.4.6 and it‘s clear this is no ordinary soundbar. The main speaker unit itself is a whopping 58 inches wide (nearly 5 feet!). That‘s wider than many 55" TVs. Unless you have an absolutely massive television and an equally gargantuan entertainment center, accommodating the Dragon 11.4.6 is going to be a real challenge.

And we haven‘t even mentioned the four (yes, four) individual subwoofers that are part of the system. Good luck finding discrete places to tuck those away in the typical living room. Oh, and each one needs to be plugged into power and connected to the main unit, so I hope you‘re comfortable with a maze of wires and cables snaking around your space.

In short, the Dragon 11.4.6 is a behemoth that demands an inordinate amount of real estate. It‘s simply not practical for the average home theater setup. Most people will be far better served by a more compact soundbar solution that doesn‘t dominate the room or require a degree in cable management to install.

3. Audio Overkill for Most Humans

On paper, the Dragon 11.4.6‘s 11 channels of ear-bending surround sound, delivered by a grand total of twenty-one individual speakers, is undeniably impressive:

  • 9 x 2.5" full range drivers (L/C/R channels)
  • 6 x 1" tweeters (width/surround channels)
  • 4 x 3" full range drivers (rear surrounds)
  • 2 x 8" subwoofers

Combined with the four 8" subwoofers, this array promises to pummel you with up to 850W of earth-shaking audio power. Simply put, it‘s an absolute monster of a system. But here‘s the thing – even the most ardent audiophiles would be hard-pressed to meaningfully distinguish 21 discrete channels of sound in anything but the most cavernous, purpose-built listening environments.

In a typical living room, the gains of going beyond a 7.1 or perhaps 9.1 system are seriously diminishing for normal human hearing. There‘s only so much sonic information our brains can process and pinpoint directionality on, especially from a single bar. While all those numbers sure look sexy on a spec sheet, the real-world experience just doesn‘t live up to the hype (or the price tag).

Don‘t just take my word for it. In a review of the Dragon 11.4.6, CNET‘s Ty Pendlebury concluded, "The sound was very good overall, but I was expecting greatness from the most channels of any soundbar ever…while there was a bit more space to the sound, it wasn‘t what I expected from four extra channels."

Unless you have bat-like hearing and a dedicated home theater that rivals your local multiplex, the supposed benefits of the Dragon‘s over-the-top driver count just don‘t translate. You‘ll be equally, if not more, impressed by the immersive audio from one of the many excellent 5.1 or 7.1 soundbar systems on the market at a fraction of the price.

4. Frustrating, Fiddly Setup

One of the biggest draws of a soundbar for many folks is simplicity. The ability to drastically improve your TV‘s audio with a single speaker you can plug in and have working in minutes. If that plug-and-play ease of use is what you‘re after, run far away from the Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6.

With six distinct components (soundbar, 4 subwoofers, and wireless rear speakers) to place and power, plus a multitude of wired connections to make, physically setting up the Dragon 11.4.6 is an involved process that will easily eat up an afternoon, if not longer.

And that‘s before you even get into the auto calibration process, which involves placing a special microphone in multiple positions around your room to tune the system‘s EQ and levels based on your acoustics. It‘s the kind of thing hardcore home theater geeks revel in, but likely a frustrating chore for the average user.

To be fair, some initial setup and configuration is to be expected with any high-end audio gear. But the Dragon 11.4.6 takes it to the extreme, sacrificing user-friendliness for the sake of squeezing in more bells and whistles. The juice just isn‘t worth the squeeze for most people when there are plenty of great sounding soundbars that are dead simple to set up and use.

5. Subpar Warranty Inspires Little Confidence

If you‘re going to ask customers to shell out nearly $4,000 on a soundbar, the least you could do is stand behind that product with an equally premium warranty. Unfortunately, Nakamichi has chosen to include a shockingly short 1 year limited warranty with the Dragon 11.4.6.

To put that in context, here‘s how it stacks up against some of the competition:

Soundbar Warranty
Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 1 year
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 5 years
Sennheiser AMBEO 3 years
Samsung HW-Q950A 1 year
Sonos Arc 1 year

For the price, and the complexity of the Dragon 11.4.6 system, a one year warranty is simply unacceptable. High-end brands like Bowers & Wilkins and Sennheiser stand behind their pricey soundbars with robust multi-year warranties that instill confidence in the product‘s long-term durability and performance. Even the far more affordable Sonos Arc includes the same one year coverage.

When you consider the Dragon 11.4.6 packs in more individual speakers, drivers, amps, and other potential points of failure than any other soundbar, the lack of a longer warranty is extremely concerning. If Nakamichi isn‘t willing to guarantee their $3,900 product will work properly for more than 12 months, how much faith can you really put in its quality and reliability?

6. Divisive Design Screams "Look at Me!"

While obviously a matter of personal taste, the Dragon 11.4.6‘s substantial size isn‘t the only potential issue when it comes to aesthetics. Nakamichi has opted for an aggressive, industrial look that practically shouts "I‘m an expensive piece of audio gear!"

Visible drivers, sharp angles, and silver flourishes certainly evoke performance, but also draw lots of attention. This stands in stark contrast to the sleek, understated black slabs most soundbars opt for, aiming to blend into your existing home theater setup.

If you love the Dragon 11.4.6‘s bold design language, then more power to you. But if you prefer your audio equipment to be heard and not seen, you may find its "Look at me!" visuals a little too loud. Considering this thing is going to be front and center in your living room, looks shouldn‘t be overlooked. A svelte, low-profile solution like the Sonos Arc or Samsung HW-Q950A will be a lot easier on the eyes for most people.

The Bottom Line

Look, there‘s no denying Nakamichi has accomplished a pretty remarkable engineering feat with the Dragon 11.4.6. Cramming this much audio hardware into a soundbar (plus accessories) is nothing short of a technical flex. And I‘m sure for a very niche group of hardcore enthusiasts with deep pockets and dedicated home theaters, it will provide a dream surround sound experience.

But for the vast majority of folks looking to upgrade their TV audio, the Dragon 11.4.6 is a whole lot of overkill that simply doesn‘t justify its stratospheric price tag. It‘s too big, too complex, too expensive, and frankly, too over-the-top for any normal living room.

And that‘s before you even consider the insultingly short one year warranty – a major red flag for any pricey consumer electronics purchase. When you can get a fantastic surround sound experience from any number of super capable 5.1, 7.1, or even Atmos enabled soundbars in the $500 to $1,500 range, the Dragon 11.4.6 just doesn‘t make sense.

So while I commend Nakamichi for pushing boundaries and showing off what‘s possible at the bleeding edge of home theater tech, my advice is to leave this particular Dragon alone. Invest your money in a simpler, more practical, and better value soundbar system and I promise your ears (and wallet) will still thank you.