The Sony HT-X8500 is a cheaper soundbar with a lot of possibilities, but the most important thing is still the sound reproduction. And although there is no connection stress, this is precisely the point where the soundbar is not always convincing.
Sony HT-X8500 – design and specs
Sony delivers a sleek soundbar with the Sony HT-X8500 that would not look out of place in an average household in terms of design. This midrange soundbar is wide enough to place neatly under 40-inch or slightly larger televisions. There are two openings on the right and left for the double subwoofer, while on top are the LED lights (which indicate the position of the soundbar) and on the back are the connections. There we find a USB and optical audio port, as well as two HDMI ports, one of which is equipped with HDMI-Arc .
As one of the few soundbars in the cheaper segment we see that Sony is the another HDMI port has equipped with support for high dynamic range (hdr) hybrid log gamma (hlg) Dolby Vision and 4k throughput. In addition, the device supports various audio formats from Dolby, such as Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos, and we find things like DTS HD and more. So there is broad support for all kinds of formats, so that you should be able to use the soundbar broadly.
Sony HT-X8500 – installation
Installing the Sony HT-X8500 happened in no time. You can do that via an HDMI or optical audio cable. The latter is included, so you can get started right away. You put the cables in the soundbar and in the TV and everything works immediately afterwards. Do not forget to switch off the speakers of your television when you use the optical audio cable, otherwise you will hear the sound twice. When you connect the HDMI cable to an HDMI-Arc connection, you can operate the X8500 with the remote control of your television.
Sony HT-X8500 – use
You can use the Sony Use HT-X8500 in three ways: using the buttons on the soundbar, with the supplied remote control and with the remote of your TV. When you use your television’s remote control, you can adjust the volume and turn the soundbar on and off. If you use the buttons on top of the wide speaker, you control the volume, the input and switching on and off. Of course you get access to all functions when you use the remote control that belongs to the Sony HT-X8500.
You have to keep that remote control, since you can quickly switch between the different sound modes in this way. You have the traditional options such as cinema, music, voice and night, and you will also find the options game, news, sports and standard at the bottom. At the top you can activate the vertical surround sound for spatial sound and it is possible to adjust the level of the bass sound. If the sound is not completely synchronized, you can slow down the sound somewhat by pressing the appropriate button.
Sony HT-X8500 – audio quality
With support for Dolby Atmos, Sony has something to prove with this soundbar. Few people are fans of digital surround sound solutions, because the sound often sounds messy and unpleasant. We look back with mixed feelings on our experience with the X8500. Not because the soundbar is unable to send such sound into the room. On the contrary: the soundbar succeeds perfectly in moving the sound through the room. However, the quality is not always yours. There is a clear limit on the range.
And that is actually not surprising when you look at the relatively compact size of the device. There is little room for the sound to sound through. So basically it works, but you may wonder aloud whether this is the quality you are looking for in a soundbar. We have to conclude the same about the bass sound. Also that does not get enough space to get the most out of it, which means that you are sometimes watching the action scenes of your films, series or video games with a slightly disappointing feeling.
In general, the sound is not bad that off this soundbar is coming. But for 399 euros (the initial sales suggested retail price) you can expect something more. Fortunately, there are enough sound modes for many different types of content, such as music, gaming and film. And although the sound reproduction differs per component, we come to the conclusion time and time again that the sound field is not super wide. Voices are well understood and background music never takes the upper hand, but the clear limit is constantly audible.
Sony HT-X8500 – conclusion
And that is actually what keeps the Sony HT-X8500 from it to be a soundbar that is worth its price of 399 euros. It is clear that Sony wanted to bring a product on the market that caused little to no installation stress and gave users a lot of possibilities in terms of sound modes and connections, but the sound quality was not so strong that we could immediately recommend the device. If the device falls sharply in price then it is another story, but for now you can look further ahead.