Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-X9000F which is better?

Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-X9000F which is better?

Today we have quite an interesting battle for you with the Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-X9000F. I looked at the Sony HT-X8500 recently in your Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sony HT-X8500 which is a better soundbar? article that was fun. I think that the Sony HT-X9000F is a good matchup for the HT-X8500. They are not too far apart from each other in price, they both offer Dolby Atmos and they both have that Sony quality. As a massive fan of Sony products since the 80s, I always enjoy it when I get to put two Sony products head to head and that is exactly what we are doing today.

The Price:

I have put together many of these VS style articles on the site and this is not the first time Sony has fought with itself! What is different about this Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-X9000F showdown is that these are quite similar in their pricing so that makes them much more interesting to look at. I also have to say that if you want a Dolby Atmos soundbar that is way under that 500 bucks mark, you cannot go wrong with either of these.  

Sony HT-X8500:

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

I am always very complimentary about the price of the Sony HT-X8500. Even though Amazon no longer seems to carry this, you can still get it at some pretty reliable retailers. Walmart is your best bet as they have this listed for $398 which I think is a great price. Walmart are also an official Sony dealer which is cool. I think that getting a Dolby Atmos soundbar for under 400 bucks is one heck of a deal. You can look on eBay (which I did) and there are some deals to be found, as of writing, the cheapest I saw this was $349.99 which is a great price. Just be sure to check the seller’s feedback to see if they are trustworthy.

Sony HT-9000F:

Sony HT-X9000F Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer: X9000F 2.1ch Dolby Atmos Sound Bar and Subwoofer - Home Theater Surround Sound Speaker System for TV - Bluetooth and HDMI Arc Compatible Bar

As of me writing this Amazon does not actually have the Sony HT-X9000F for sale themselves. There are a couple of used ones on there for 380 bucks from 3rd party sellers. The best place to get this is once again Walmart. Walmart has a special relationship with Sony so they always seem to be best when it comes to their selection of Sony soundbars. Currently, at Walmart, this is priced at $299.99 which when you consider this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar and that it has a dedicated wireless subwoofer makes it a very attractive option for people. There are a few on eBay and the best price I saw this going for on there was 330 bucks so you are best sticking with Walmart.

The Verdict: These are two of the best more budget friendly Dolby Atmos soundbars on the market right now and I am having a hard time picking between the two. I guess the fact that the Sony HT-9000F comes with a subwoofer, but is also cheaper right now does mean that you are getting more bang for your buck with that soundbar.

The Design:

Sony always makes great looking stuff so this is probably the category in our Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-9000F fight that I am most excited to write about. No matter if it is something like this Sony UBP- X700M 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Streaming Blu-ray Player or this Sony Compact Stereo Sound System, Sony products always have a really “Sony” look about them that I just love. I hand on heart do not think anyone has made as consistently good looking tech as Sony has.

Sony HT-X8500:

Before I give you my thoughts on the design of the Sony HT-X8500 I suggest you check out this Sony HT-X8500 Sound Bar System unboxing video which gives you a closer look at this soundbar. I feel that out of the many soundbars that Sony has done, the HT-X8500 is taking more chances in terms of the design. It still has that Sony style to it, but there is one thing on here that makes it different and that is the top. I was a huge fan of how Bose used glass for the top of their Bose Smart Soundbar 900 (as they did the 700) and Sony did something similar here. It is not glass, but it is this faux leather that they have on the top. It is a very interesting design and one that I do like, I also think it has a bit of the 80s about it actually. Of course, you will have to keep this free from dust and you do not want the kids or pets touching it as it could be damaged.

The rest of the soundbar is made from a nice and strong plastic and I was impressed with the build quality. The sides of the soundbar have your subwoofer opening to allow the built in subwoofer to do its thing. The dimensions of this are 6.75 x 37.25 x 6.25 which are about average for a soundbar. It is going to fit between the legs of larger TVs and look very cool in the process. If you have a Sony TV, you are going to love the way this looks underneath it. Actually, this soundbar has so much style that it would fit in great with any TV. I have an LG 80 Series 65” Alexa Built-in, 4K UHD Smart TV in the living room and had this underneath it while I was testing it and it fit in perfectly.

When you look around the back of the Sony HT-X8500, you will see what it has in store for you in regard to connecting this to your TV. While you will need an HDMI cable to get Dolby Atmos out of this, it does also have an optical port as well if for some reason you want to hook this up that way. You also have a USB port on the back of here too which is there for any firmware updates that may need to be done.

Sony HT-9000F:  

Be sure to have a gander at this Sony Dolby Atmos Soundbar HT-X9000F video that gives you a closer look at this awesome soundbar. I really do like the design of the Sony HT-X9000F as it has that classic Sony style that I am a massive fan of. The dimensions of this are 43.2 x 20.4 x 9.8 inches which makes it a bit longer than the HT-X8500 so that is something to take into consideration. For a soundbar that costs around 300 bucks, this has a very premium feel to it. When I took it out of the box, I was very impressed with how high-quality the plastic they used feels. This does not have that faux leather top like the X8500 does and I actually prefer that. On the front of here, Sony have their signature metal grille that really does give this a very “Sony” kind of look. I really could not be any more impressed with the design this has.

The sides of the soundbar are angled instead of being curvy or straight and that is a very interesting look Sony has gone for here. Round the back of the soundbar, I was very surprised to see a standard analog in port that many soundbars do not usually have these days. There is your HDMI in and out so you can dive into that lovely Dolby Atmos this soundbar offers, but there is also an optical port on here too. If you want to connect it with an optical cable that is fine, but you cannot get Dolby Atmos that way. You also have your standard USB port which is there in case you ever need to update the firmware of the soundbar.

With the Sony HT-X9000F, we do have an extra element that we have to talk about and that is the subwoofer. Coming in at 7.4” x 15.0” x 15.3” it is not the largest subwoofer around, but man, I was very impressed with the quality of this thing. Even at the budget price point, Sony has given us a fantastic subwoofer as part of this package. It is well made and I like how the front has a glossy finish to it, they also have a metal grille on here too which finishes it off nicely and makes it fit in with the style of the actual soundbar as well.

The Verdict:

While I think that the faux leather top the Sony HT-X8500 is an interesting choice, I do have to say that overall, I think I like the design of the Sony HT-9000F more. It feels like a stronger built soundbar and the included subwoofer is a nice touch too. While I like the design of both of these soundbars, I do prefer the more streamlined look that the 9000F has going on more. Truth be told, you could make an argument for either of these to be the winner here.

The Sound:

The next round in our Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-X9000F battle is sound, the most important category. Of course, Dolby Atmos is the main draw here for me, but truth be told, even if that does not interest you, both of these are great sounding soundbars and a massive and I mean massive upgrade from your TV speakers that is for sure.

Sony HT-X8500: I would put the Sony HT-X8500 towards the bottom end of the Dolby Atmos spectrum. That is not to say it is bad or anything like that, you just cannot expect to compare something like this to the Sonos Arc which is double the price! Still, I think that for a lower end Dolby Atmos soundbar, the effect here is decent enough. One movie where I noticed the effect really well was The Martian which is a fantastic movie. There is a scene where they get stuck in a sandstorm and the Dolby Atmos really comes into its own here, actually this movie was the best height performance I had experienced with this soundbar.

I found this awesome video from Sony Japan that gives you a better idea about how Dolby Atmos works. It may not completely surround you with sound like some of the higher end Dolby Atmos soundbars do, but sitting with this thing in front of me, it came pretty damn close and it does give you that cinema style sound you would want with a soundbar like this.

Even without focusing on Dolby Atmos, this is a very impressive soundbar in pretty much every regard. It has a built-in subwoofer and it packs way more of a punch than I expected and I was impressed. The opening scene on the beach in Saving Private Ryan was truly amazing, I had the sound cranked up loud and it was just like being in the movie theatre. While I am always more of a dedicated soundbar kind of guy, I think that this is one of the better internal subwoofers I have experienced in a soundbar. Even just watching TV through this was impressive, actually, everything that I threw at this sounded good!

One of the main reasons that many of us want a soundbar is because modern TVs just do not cut it when it comes to sound. In my experience, they tend to be way too loud with action scenes and quiet with the dialogue. As you would expect, the Sony HT-X8500 has a “clear voice” style function which makes sure that you never miss any dialogue. I watched a couple of episodes from The Simpsons – The Complete Third Season and found it to be incredibly clear in terms of hearing the character’s talk.

Sony HT-9000F:

The first thing we have to talk about with the Sony HT-X9000F is how is the Dolby Atmos? While this Developing Sony Soundbars with Dolby and Sony Pictures  video covers the Z9F too, it gives you a good idea of what Sony are going for with this soundbar in terms of Dolby Atmos. I think that in direct comparison with the Sony HT-X8500 in terms of the Dolby Atmos, I think this one is just slightly less impactful. Still, most people are not going to be doing direct comparisons and I would wager that most people would be amazed at how good the Dolby Atmos this provides is. I am actually going with a Sony movie (and it was in that video I just mentioned) Spider-Man: Homecoming which is a fun movie and if you watch it with this soundbar, you are getting very close to a movie theatre kind of experience with the audio. This is at the lower end of the Dolby Atmos spectrum, but it still works and works well enough, especially considering the 300 bucks asking price.

As well as being a soundbar that is great for action movies like Spider-Man, the Sony HT-X9000F is also great in terms of how clear dialogue is. That 70’s Show is one of my favorite comedy shows and I was very impressed with how clear each and every “burn” that the gang did sounded when played through this soundbar. Anything you watch through this is going to have a massive step up from your TV speakers when it comes to the dialogue. Sony does the whole “clear voice” thing arguably better than most and even though this is one of their more modestly priced soundbars, it still offers a phenomenal clear voice.

Of course, we have to talk about that subwoofer that comes with this! I think this is a very stylish looking subwoofer and while it is not one of the higher end subwoofers on the market like the Bose Bass Module 700 for example, it more than holds its own. I watched Space Jam: A New Legacy with my son and the movie was fun, not as good as the original Space Jam, but still a fun time. Anyway, the level of bass that this adds to the soundbar is fantastic and I was very impressed at just how loud you could crank this whole thing up and not have it lose any clarity in the process.

The Verdict: This is one that is really, really hard to judge. They are kind of similar in what they are offering. You may think that the dedicated subwoofer that comes with the Sony HT-9000F would make that the clear winner, however, it is not that simple. I think that side by side the Sony HT-X8500 did have the slightly better Dolby Atmos effect, there was not much in it, but I certainly noticed a difference. On the flip side of this, the Sony HT-9000F is much louder. Hmm, I think I am going to have to give this one to the 9000F, but if you asked me again next week, I could probably change my mind, that is how close this is.    

The Remote Control

Sony are the best of the best when it comes to remote controls that they offer with their products. They all have a similar style to them, well except for the new PlayStation Media Remote which is done in the same white style as the PS5. Anyway, back on track, this next category in our Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-9000F battle is looking at the remote controls.

Sony HT-X8500: For the Sony HT-X8500, Sony went for a very slim and sleek kind of design and I think that it is very cool looking. While it looks cool and is comfortable to hold, it is also packed with all the features you need. Sony has made sure that you have complete control of all aspects of your soundbar and that is all you can ask for at the end of the day. It is not overloaded with buttons either so it is very unlikely that you are going to press the wrong buttons or end up messing with the settings.

Sony HT-9000F: The Sony HT-X9000F comes with a fantastic remote control. It is larger than the one that comes with the HT-X8500 and it also has a ton more buttons on here. It gives you complete control of your soundbar and subwoofer and I like how it has dedicated buttons for some presets like cinema, sports, and games. While it has a lot of buttons, the remote control is very easy to use as the buttons are very clearly labeled. Sony has never disappointed me when it comes to the remote control that they include with their tech and they have not started that here! This really is an awesome remote, so much so that Sony have used a very similar one for another one of their soundbars.

The Verdict: Either one of these remotes could take this one and to be honest with you, it is all down to personal preference if you ask me. While I like what Sony has done with both of these remotes. For my personal taste, the Sony HT-9000F is the winner as I like how it is a bit larger and packed with buttons. On the flip side of this, I could see why someone would prefer the more streamlined design that the remote for the HT-X8500 has.

What Is In The Box?

Here you will find out what is waiting for you when you get either of these massive boxes home! A little pro tip for you, if you are expecting a massive package to arrive at home and you are not home. Give your wife or significant other a heads up or you will be in a lot of trouble when you get home!

Sony HT-X8500: To start with the Sony HT-X8500 was nicely and securely packaged. You will have your soundbar, power cable, and remote control. The instructions they give you are easy to follow too which is a nice touch. As this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar, Sony have included an HDMI cable. I can appreciate that, but if you do want to connect this via an optical cable, you will need to purchase one as there is not one in the box. I talked about this when I looked at this soundbar before, but I wish they threw in some kind of cleaning cloth for that faux leather top.

Sony HT-9000F: Well, as this has a larger soundbar and a subwoofer, the box is massive and also an awkward shape. You get an HDMI cable, remote control, batteries, and of course the power cables along with your instructions. Sony gives you everything that you need to get this thing hooked up to your TV. Like I said about the HT-X8500, you will need to purchase an optical cable if you want to hook it up that way like this, Optical Audio Cable for example. As I have said a few times in this article, you can use an optical cable, but you cannot get Dolby Atmos with one.

The Verdict: You really cannot pick a winner here as they both give you what you need to get started. I think that if I do have to pick one, it has to be the Sony HT-X9000F, not because it has some kind of hidden extra or even because it has a subwoofer as part of the package. It is more the fact that I think Sony should have thrown in a little cleaning item for the X8500.

What Is The Better Soundbar?

I have done many of these VS articles and always had a fun time. Sometimes there is a clear winner and other times, as is the case with this Sony HT-X8500 vs Sony HT-9000F article. Both the Sony HT-X8500 and the Sony HT-X9000F are great soundbars. They are very close in what they offer and I said this before, but if I were to revisit this battle again, I could possibly change my opinion as that is how close these two are. I think that I have to give this one to the Sony HT-9000F. I think the lower price, the included subwoofer, and the fact it is still a Dolby Atmos soundbar make it the better deal overall. Still, I could easily make the argument that the Sony HT-X8500 is worth that extra 100 bucks thanks to the impressive built in subwoofer and the slightly better Dolby Atmos.

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