Sony Soundbar Review: The Dolby Atmos Bar is the Year’s Best Value

Published on November 14, 2019
Sony Soundbar Review: The Dolby Atmos Bar is the Year's Best Value Sony HT-X8500

Sony Soundbar: Image Source

If you’re talking about a basic 3D Soundbar, you are not alone in this debate. Dolby Atmos is known to depend on the high-level information to create a truly intangible sound stage, but the new Sony HT-X8500 uses advanced audio DSP processing like its costly HT-ZF9 Predecessor to offset the absence of dedicated firing drivers.

Yeah, it’s got some cautions but the HT-X8500 could be the world’s best quality Soundbar right now with the price range of AU$599, USD $299, and € 350.


The HT-X8500 is an audio system that is autonomous. No separate wireless subwoofer nor unnecessary wireless surround speakers come with it. It’s a smart and special Soundbar which can be fitted anywhere.

The subwoofer can be integrated but the bar is slim. It has a small 89 cm in width and is suitable for 49-55-inch television.

The design is elegant. A rolled grill covers the front set, and a metallic grey finish adds interest. Up above are buttons for power, selection of inputs, volume and Bluetooth combination.

The range is low and only two HDMIs, one with an input and the other with an eARC output is available. An analog digital audio output is also required if ARC is not available. The Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG 4 K HDMI panel are compatible.

Generally, the compact design of the HT-X8500 is easy to use without a separate subwoofer. We have twin front-facing woofers, instead. The HDMI compatibility is minimal for a Dolby Atmos Soundbar shockingly and firing drivers are not included in it.


In order to keep costs down, Sony chose a stripped back. No smart Wi-Fi or on-screen menu is available. The Soundbar instead communicates with the DTS-X and Dolby Atmos via the LED lights and also through inputs selected.

The bar is powered by a small, buttons-filled remote control in the finger model. In addition to the processing modes all different sound presets are prominent.

This simplicity makes living with this simple process. You may simply sit it in front of the telly or wall-mount because it does not rely on reflected sound to produce its sound impact. No much adjustment is required to use it.


There have been some questions about the performance of this low cost Soundbar but we were blown away when we used it – the Soundbar is film-friendly. Sony’s proprietary vertical sound engine is the key to HT-X8500’s gutsy performance. Operating in conjunction with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio, the sound offers by it in the Dolby Atmos movies is clear and loud enough. Much better, Vertical S not only fits for ambient codecs-it is equally ideal to be used for two channels as an up-mixer, or traditional 5.1 audio sources. The internal subwoofer is perhaps the biggest surprise. The rumbles are not magnetic, but continuous, with a weak sensitivity to 50Hz. Some may even find the balance of these two front face woofers sometimes a little daunting, but it’s hard to blame their utter excitement.

But the bar is not flawless. Sony states that the HT-X8500 approximates a sound field that is somewhat extended, similar to the Atmos 7.1.2 setup. The HT-X 8500 is not created in the same way as a device 7.1.4 with overhead audio but produces a sound-base which is as large as it is wide. As we stopped in the sweet spot, we really had the feeling of sounds whipped out on either side.

In Dolby Atmos, Everest (Blu-ray) is freezing effectively. The HT-X8500 unleashes left and right ice pellets when the major storm arrives.

In reality it does not make a difference between a true 3D-film combination with specialized channel-codecs such as Dolby Direct HD or DTS-HD, as long as it has been through the vertical audio processor in Sony.

Should you buy it?

Sonos Beam is an acceptable replacement to the HT-X8500 if you don’t need Dolby Atmos. It’s also a lightweight, high-performance option, although one meant for those who have a Sonos Wireless device (or plan to buy).

This blends musicality with a lively quality and integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Panasonic SC-HTB900 (accessible outside of the USA) is a 3.1-set-tuned device with equivalent movie thrills. Like the Sony, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X can be purchased and used to uplifting drivers with the sonic. It’s available with a separate subwoofer and sounds wonderful, but you’ll pay a lot more.

Final Words

The Soundbar is good overall and beats many competitors when it comes to sound quality. It’s easy to mount, and great to watch film at home using Sony Soundbar with high-end cinematic sound.

Since compliant Soundbar of the Dolby Atmos counterpart usually sell at two times the cost, Sony’s HT-X8500 is a simple recommendation. Cost-cutting can be related to networking and functionality, but how good the HT-X8500 sounds is somewhat surprising. It is probably the best option to come this year when you want a home-theater Sound System, which doesn’t dissipate your plan.

Read Next: Review: Sony WF-1000XM3 is the Best Noise Cancellation Wireless Earbuds

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Sony Soundbar Review: The Dolby Atmos Bar is the Year's Best Value
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