Sony’s HT-X9000F is a unique device. It doesn’t cost a bomb, yet has Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and UltraHD video Passthrough support. It is 2.1Ch soundbar but can mimic 7.1.2Ch with a single click, thanks to its in-house Vertical Surround Engine. It is a bright sounding bar with seven EQ presets to tweak the output.
The Sony HT-X9000F has a lot of ports, with support for HDMI ARC and Full HDMI In. It also comes with a 3.5 mm jack and USB audio, never to hinder your music experience. The 300W total output can get pretty loud for most rooms, and the wireless subwoofer adds the thump. So is it a product worth buying?
Let us find out.
Here is our Sony HT-X9000F full review.
List of specifications
|Product Dimensions||36.7 x 2.2 x 3.3 inches (Soundbar)
7.4 x 15.0 x 15.2 inches (Subwoofer)
|Weight||2.5 kb (Soundbar)
7.8 kg (Subwoofer)
|Amplifier output||200W (Soundbar)
|Wireless Audio Protocol||Bluetooth 4.2|
|Audio Decoding Codecs||Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby Dual Mono
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI (In/Out)
1 x Optical TOSLINK
1 x 3.5 mm jack
1 x USB
- It has support for Atmos and DTS
- Generates a higher-than-average loudness
- The overall sound output is not for everyone
- Creaks at max volumes
- Lacks room correction
What’s in the box?
- Sony HT-X9000F bar
- Remote control
- 2 x AAA batteries
- HDMI cable
Design and build
The design of Sony HT-X9000F resonates with its 55-inch X900F TV. The bar is slightly angled at the edges and made from excellent quality plastic. A long metal grille covers the front for added protection and also to elevate the overall look and feel. It’s also fairly broad with the dimensions being 36.7 x 2.2 x 3.3 inches.
Even though it matches the dimensions of the X900Fs, most other 55-inchers would struggle width-wise. Thankfully, it is not too tall, which will make it easier to accommodate the bar without blocking the bottom of your wall-mounted screen.
The subwoofer is what we have come to accept from most soundbars in the market. It is the size of a desktop computer, and the user can place it close to the bar. If we talk about dimensions, it stands at 7.4 x 15.0 x 15.2 inches, which is perfectly acceptable.
The subwoofer has a glossy finish for the front and opts for a black metal housing at the back. The overall body is made from melamine and feels solid. The bar stands at 2.8 kg, and the subwoofer weighs substantially at 7.8 kg, which is again perfectly acceptable. Overall, users will hardly have anything to complain about the materials used in Sony HT-X9000F.
Most budget bars opt for physical buttons on the bar to manage the settings. The Sony HT-X9000F instead opts for touch-sensitive controls located on the top of the bar. It lets the user power on/off the device, manage volume levels, switches to Bluetooth source, and change the wired input source.
The top-front of the bar also has five indicator lights to inform users about the current settings and what input they are currently using. There is a separate menu that pop-us on your TV when you connect via a HDMI In cable.
Sony HT-X9000F comes with a basic remote in the package. You can control all the necessary settings via the infrared sensor. Unfortunately and amusingly, it doesn’t have support for any companion app on Android or iOS, which is a weird omission in 2020.
Due to the HDMI CEC being available onboard, you can use the TV’s remote to manage the basic features of the soundbar. It also has Power Saving which ensures that it goes on ‘Standby’ mode after 20 minutes of inactivity from the user.
Sony HT-X9000F hosts a full pack of inputs. You have an Optical Audio In, HDMI ARC, HDMI In/Out, Full HDMI In, Aux connectivity, and USB ports. It allows you to connect to a plethora of devices, be it gaming consoles or your smartphone. It connects wirelessly to the subwoofer. The ports are well-thought-out, and cable management won’t be an issue for the user.
Not only is it full of ports, it also has support for all the popular audio codecs, which is a rarity in its price range. Users get Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Digital, Digital Plus, DTS, PCM, and Dolby TrueHD. The addition of Full HDMI In ensures that you are never short of options.
Unfortunately, wireless connectivity is a different story altogether. It has a dated Bluetooth 4.2 on board as the only option. There is no Wi-Fi, Chromecast or Apple AirPlay support, which can disappoint most users.
Diving deep into weird choices, it has support for full 4K Passthrough, which we haven’t seen in a device this cheap. It also has 4:4:4 support to ensure that connecting your PC to your TV screen is seamless.
With its 300W output and Sony’s audio expertise, we expected the HT-X9000F to excel, despite its hardware limitations. Unfortunately, it is not the exact verdict that we can give for its sound output. It has an okayish stereo output, but the subwoofer underperforms. The bass is missing the thump and the punch, and we found it to be bright with the treble on the higher side.
The users have several presets to tweak the sound out-of-the-box, but the soundstage is limited too. It is as wide as the bar, and the soundbar does nothing to widen the range. The preciseness is missing, and users will find that the sound is coming from a side generally instead of precisely being able to pinpoint the source.
Even though it gets loud enough to accommodate large rooms and a relatively good crowd, there is a lot of compression going on at max volume, and the underwhelming bass doesn’t help either. It makes it passable for action movies or FPS games, but it is a treat for content-driven output lovers.
It is excellent at THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) and produces crystal bright voice output at acceptable volume levels. There is no dedicated center channel on board, which means it uses the side speakers to simulate sound, which gives relatively mixed results. However, whatever the situation, the voices are audible and accurate.
Every 2.1Ch configuration falters in creating surround sound impact, and Sony HT-X9000F is no different. There are no height towers in the package, and it has to downmix the stereo content to accommodate them. Even though we have Vertical Surround Engine to fake a true-Atmos experience, the results are what we have come to expect from the setup.
Another aspect where the Sony soundbar underperforms is the Sound Enhancement section. There is no room correction on board, and you cannot adjust bass or treble directly. The presence of seven presets let you choose the default EQ for different scenarios, and it makes a slight difference to the overall sound output.
There are a lot of unique features in Sony HT-X9000F which has allowed it to still find the audience’s love, even after two years of its release. But let’s see how the competition stacks up against it –
There are a lot of aspects where the Sonos Beam pulls ahead of Sony HT-X9000F. It has a better soundstage, and the sound is better balanced. There is a dedicated center channel and has a smaller form factor. The presence of room correction makes it better in adapting to varying situations.
But the HT-X9000F claws back with a Full HDMI In support, Dolby Atmos compatibility, and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a 4k Passthrough which makes it better for connecting your PC and other 4K inputs.
The overall sound signature of the Sony HT-S200F is better than the HT-X9000F thanks to its better handling of bass and treble. The build quality is also better, giving it a more premium feel. But it doesn’t get as loud, and that can be a concern.
As with Sony’s smartphone division, its HT-X9000F is not for everyone too. It offers a lot of unique features, but it looks a better prospect on paper than in real life. It lacks a center channel, but the dialogue is its strongest suit. It has a plethora of input ports and supports all the high-end codecs, but doesn’t have the hardware configuration to utilize its abilities fully.
Sony HT-X9000F is a decent upgrade over your regular TV speakers, and it performs amicably well for what it’s worth. It has an excellent loudness and can cater to a considerable crowd easily, but it has an underwhelming bass output, which can be a bummer. It produces vocals accurately making it great for podcasts and news but fizzes out at max volumes. The soundstage is relatively limited but does the job for its price.