Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 which is a better soundbar?

Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 which is a better soundbar?

I know that at first glance this Yamaha YAS-109  vs Sony HT-X8500 may seem like a strange battle to have. However, these are two very popular soundbars that I have spent a lot of time with the last few weeks and had a great time doing so. Just recently I wrote this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Bose TV Speaker article and had fun doing so, I have also put the 109 against other soundbars and the HT-8500 I have looked at many times too. So, I do think that it is about time that these two stepped in the ring together, but will it be as epic as the showdown in Godzilla vs Kong?

The Price:

We have to start this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 showdown in the same place we always do and that is with the price. I will tell you right away that there is a fair bit of difference between the price of these two and a couple hundred bucks’ difference is nothing to turn your nose up at. However, the question here you have to answer is one if worth that extra money or not?

Yamaha YAS-109:

YAMAHA YAS-109 Sound Bar with Built-In Subwoofers, Bluetooth, and Alexa Voice Control Built-In

If you were to go to Amazon right now (well as I write this) you would be able to get the Yamaha YAS-109 for $199.99 which is a fantastic price for a soundbar of this quality. This is considerably cheaper than the Sony, like 200 bucks cheaper! The thing is there is no dedicated subwoofer included here. If you want that you will have to get the Yamaha YAS-209 which is priced at $299.99 which I also think is a fair price. The price for the 109 on eBay is kind of hard to judge as it is all over the place! I have found this for under 200 bucks, but then I have also seen it as high as 300 on there.

Sony HT-X8500:

Sony HTX8500 2.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar with Built-in subwoofer, Black

I do actually look quite often for the Sony HT-X8500 on Amazon, but they have not had it in stock for a very long time. Walmart is the best place to get this and it is actually cheaper than the last time I looked at this. Currently, they have this priced at $376 which I think for a Dolby Atmos soundbar is a very fair deal. As you would expect there are more than a few of these on eBay, but when I checked recently, there were very few that were actually going to save you money over just buying it from Walmart.

The Verdict: I know that the near 200 bucks price difference is a lot and you may think that the Yamaha YAS-109 wins by default, but I am actually going to give this round to the Sony HT-X8500. Getting a Dolby Atmos soundbar for not that much more than 350 bucks is a great deal and I could see this being many people’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar. Still, there is no denying that the 109 is excellent value for money.  

The Design:

These are two companies that make great looking soundbars so this is probably the category that I was looking most forward to in our Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 contest. It is also the category that is probably the closest as these are two soundbars that I hold in very high regard when it comes to their design.

Yamaha YAS-109:

If you check YouTube, you will find a ton of videos for this, and one that I like is called, World’s Best Cheapest Soundbar? | Yamaha YAS 109 Soundbar with Alexa. The Yamaha YAS-109 soundbar is a nice size as it comes in at 34.9” x 2.0” x 5.3”. It is the kind of soundbar that would look fantastic sitting between the legs of a TV like this All-New Toshiba 55-inch 55C350KU C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV which is a very solid low priced 4K TV by the way. Overall, I think that one of the things that Yamaha does very well with their soundbars is make them look modern and cool. It is going to look great sitting under your TV or even on the wall if you decide that wall mounting is the way that you want to go.

The first thing that I noticed when I saw the Yamaha YAS-109 for the first time was just how curvy the design of the soundbar was. It is a very striking look and when you take it out of the box, you will be surprised at just how solid, heavy, and high-quality this thing feels. The plastic that Yamaha has used is very strong and long lasting and I have zero issues with the overall build quality of the 109. Yamaha are kind of like Sonos in that they like to put fabric on their soundbars. This one is covered by this fabric and it certainly looks very nice. Of course, the downside of this is that it can be easily damaged and it seems to always be covered in dust.

There are some touch controls on the top of the soundbar that I think would be better if they were a little more lowkey if you ask me. On the back of the soundbar, you are going to find your hookups. There is an HDMI and an optical port here for connecting the soundbar to your TV. There is also an ethernet and a USB port located here too. I do also want to mention that there are openings on the side of the soundbar and these are to accommodate the internal subwoofer.

Sony HT-X8500:

I have yet to look at a Sony product and not like the way it looks and this is coming from someone who has been a fan of Sony products since the 80s. This Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar Review: Dolby Atmos & DTS:X for under 300? video does a great job of showing off the soundbar from all angles so you can get a great idea of just how sleek and “Sony” this soundbar looks. The dimensions of the soundbar are 6.75 x 37.25 x 6.25 which does make this a bit larger than the 109. It is made very well and it has a fair bit of weight to it which I like as it gives the soundbar a much higher-quality feel. The black plastic they have used for the majority of the soundbar is very cool, but on the front and around the sides is this black grill that is made from metal and it looks very, very cool.

On the top of the soundbar is this very strange, but seriously cool fake leather covering which gives it some style! However, stuff like this is a real magnet for stuff like fingerprints, dust, and pet hair. Sony has put their logo on the top, but rather than being in the center, it is located to one side which is a little bit off to me. It is not bad or anything like that, but if Sony is going to have their logo on this thing, I wish they put it front and center.

As we head around the back of the Sony HT-X8500 we get to see the different connection options for hooking the soundbar up to your TV. You have both an HDMI and an optical port here. There is also a USB port that is there in case you need to update the firmware. It also has an opening that is there to help with the bass as you would expect.

The Verdict: These are two great looking soundbars and I feel that they are so different in terms of their style that you could make a case for either one of these to be the winner of this round. At the end of the day, this is my opinion and for me, the Sony HT-X8500 is the best looking of the two soundbars. I love the black metal grill and I know that fake leather top is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but I really do like it.  

The Sound:

I have to say that I feel a bit bad as we start the sound category in our Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 fight to the death! The reason that I say this is that one of these has Dolby Atmos and the other does not. You may think “I do not need Dolby Atmos” however, once you have experienced it, I honestly believe there is no going back. Still, we have to be fair, so let us take a closer look at the sound capabilities of each of these soundbars.

Yamaha YAS-109: For around the 200 bucks mark, I think that the Yamaha YAS-109 is one of the best lower-priced soundbars on the market right now. The quality of this compared to something cheap is just night and day. Yamaha did a fantastic job with this soundbar and it sounds way better than its price tag suggests. You have this thing is a regular sized room and it is 100 percent going to fill the room with sound and make you very happy in the process. I love the J.J Abrams Star Trek movies, especially the first one and this sounded great when pumped through this.  This has a dedicated setting called Clear Voice and it is amazing. If you are someone who hates how quiet dialogue is on most modern TV speakers, then this thing is going to be a game changer for you as the vocal clarity is some of the best around when it comes to a soundbar in the 200 bucks’ range.

I really like this Yas 109 soundbar review with Virtual X from Yamaha sound test 2020 video as it has a fantastic sound test that really puts this soundbar through its paces. I have to say that you do not get the same kind of bass that you get from the follow up to this Yamaha YAS-209 as it has its own dedicated subwoofer. However, the bass that the internal subwoofer provides is better than you would think. I know that the Star Wars: Trilogy – Episodes I-III is not everyone’s favorite part of the Star Wars saga, but there is a scene in Episode II where Jango Fett is pursuing Obi-Wan Kenobi in their spaceships and the bass when these bombs go off was truly amazing and blew me away with how good it was here.

I have had a few soundbars (not counting ones I have tested) in my home over the years and one feature that is a must is Bluetooth connectivity. This is because my wife loves to stream music from her phone and the Yamaha YAS-109 offers this. From what I played around with here, music, when streamed through the 109, was very well done and sounded great.

Sony HT-X8500: The big draw that the Sony HT-X8500 has going for it is that it is a Dolby Atmos soundbar. The idea of Dolby Atmos in case you do not know is to fill the room with sound and give you that cinema style sound where it is like the sound is hitting you from all angles. A movie that I truly love is The Nightmare Before Christmas which for some reason still does not have a 4K release! Anyway, it sounded amazing through this and brought me back to Christmas 204 when my local theatre showed this movie theatre showed this movie for the last time. Granted this is one of the lower end Dolby Atmos soundbars, but I still think the effect is pretty impressive, especially if you have this in a normal sized room. The upgrade here from your TV speakers is truly outstanding.

I actually watched many videos for this to see what other people thought about the Dolby Atmos effect this provided and the one I liked best was this Sony HT-G700 Review (Dolby Atmos Surround Sound for less than $500?) video. I have certainly had my hands on soundbars that offer Dolby Atmos which are better, but they are twice the price, if not more than what Sony is asking here. While it is easy to watch a movie like Ready Player One and be blown away by the amazing effects and soundtrack. However, the dialogue that this pumps out is amazing. A scene in this movie that is a great showcase of this is when Wade and Artemis are dancing in the club. There is music and gunfire, but the vocal clarity stays strong and you will not miss anything.

So, does this give you the same kind of “surround sound” experience that you get in a movie theatre? I would have to say no, but it does fill the room with sound and it really did impress me. I will say that I think Sony does have better Dolby Atmos soundbars than this one, but if you want to be a fair bit under the 400 bucks mark, you cannot go wrong with this.

The Verdict: Look, the Yamaha YAS-109 is a great sounding soundbar and it is a massive upgrade from any TV speakers that I have ever experienced. However, the Sony HT-X8500 is the clear winner here. It gives you Dolby Atmos for an affordable price, but it also sounds great when it comes to dialogue, and everything I tested through this sounded great!  

The Remote Control:

When you are spending a few hundred bucks on a soundbar, you deserve to get a good remote. It may sound weird, but when I put an article like this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 article together, I always look forward to talking about the remote control… yes I am kind of weird, but I accept that!

Yamaha YAS-109: Yamaha has been using a very similar remote for a while now and while they have not changed it considerably over the last few soundbars, I actually have no complaints about that. The reason for that is the Yamaha YAS-109 has a pretty awesome remote control. It is a nice and compact remote control and it gives you complete access to your soundbars features. Some of the features like Clear Voice and Surround Sound have their own dedicated buttons to make activating them nice and easy. You can also quickly change the volume of the sound overall and the bass. You also can play around with a handful of presets as well.

Sony HT-X8500: This is one of the slimmer remote controls that I have seen from Sony. I am used to Sony remotes having a certain kind of style and for the Sony HT-X8500, I feel like they were trying to make it a bit more streamlined and smaller. It gives you all the control over your soundbar that you need and some of the main features of the soundbar have their own dedicated button, clear voice for example. It is a very easy to use remote and I like what they have done here a great deal.

The Verdict: It is hard to pick a winner here as these are two very well-designed remotes. Yamaha pretty much nailed their remote design a soundbar or two ago and have not really changed it and with good reason, it is an awesome little remote. The remote for the HT-X8500 is a little larger but smaller than what I would expect from Sony. It may be close, but I think that Sony only just takes this one.  

What Is In The Box?

If you want to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase one of these then this is the category for you. This may not seem important, but at least you will know if there is anything else you need to order at the same time as your soundbar.

Yamaha YAS-109: As you crack open the box, you will find your very stylish Yamaha YAS-109 soundbar, its power cable, and the instruction booklet, in other words, the stuff you would expect. Yamaha does also give you a set of batteries for the remote which I give them a high five for. As far as connecting this to your TV goes, it is kind of strange, but they only give you an optical cable. This means if you want to use an HDMI cable, you will have to make sure you have one or get one like this Ultra High Speed 8K 60Hz HDMI Cable from somewhere like Amazon.

Sony HT-X8500: Of course, you get your Sony HT-X8500 soundbar, remote control, power cable, and instructions, but what else is in here? Sony gives you an HDMI cable for connecting this to your TV. You need an HDMI cable if you want to use Dolby Atmos so that makes sense. I do think that they could have thrown in an optical cable here for people who want to connect this to their TV that way, even if it does mean not getting that Dolby Atmos effect.

The Verdict: I have to give this one to the Sony HT-X8500. I think that the fact that the Yamaha YAS-109 gives you an optical cable instead of an HDMI cable makes this a pretty easy win for Sony. At the end of the day, if I am only getting one cable with a soundbar I would much rather get an HDMI cable.   

What Is The Best Soundbar?

I have to say that this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 battle is kind of unfair as there is a clear gulf in class between what these soundbars are offering. At the end of the day, the Sony HT-X8500 is giving you Dolby Atmos and the Yamaha YAS-109  does not. I have mentioned it a couple of times, but I do think that the Yamaha YAS-209 might have been a fairer matchup and that might be something we have to visit later. As you have probably figured out, my pick here has to be the Sony HT-X8500. It is a great entry level Dolby Atmos soundbar. I know that some “audiophiles” may turn their nose up at this soundbar and there are certainly better Dolby Atmos soundbars out there, but I think for the price, this is a very impressive soundbar.

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