Sony HT-X8500 Single 2.1Ch Soundbar Review: How good is a soundbar without a subwoofer?

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Within the final couple of years, sound bars have turn into well-liked to compensate for the poor sound high quality coming from TVs. In the present day, soundbars have nice benefits by way of each sound and performance. From the presence of built-in sensible assistants, modular nature and even a full-fledged house theater, soundbars immediately have turn into a complete class in themselves.

Over the previous 12 months, we have seen many manufacturers launch soundbars without a subwoofer, such because the Mi Soundbar ( overview ), the Bose Soundbar 700 ( overview ), and extra. In the present day we now have a new addition to this class – the Sony HT-X8500. The unit is compact, comes without a subwoofer, and is the primary soundbar we have examined that boasts eARC. At Rs 29,900, is the Sony HT-X8500 a worthy contender, or are you higher off taking a look at different soundbars within the sub-30k worth vary? Let’s discover out!

What’s within the field

Within the field you get the sound bar itself together with the distant management. You additionally get two AAA batteries, an HDMI cable, and naturally, a energy cable. It is value noting that the adapter is exterior, and in case your outlet is additional away from the place you wish to place the soundbar, you may wish to suppose strategically about how you can cover the ability provide. I additionally want the cable connecting the PSU to the wall was a bit longer, as our setup had the PSU hanging off the desk a bit. The distant that accompanies the system is easy and in step with what we have seen from Sony up to now. There’s a Vertical Encompass button on the distant management, and we’ll cowl that within the following sections. Know that once you use ARC to attach your soundbar to your TV, you possibly can management your soundbar from the consolation of your TV distant.

Connection choices

When it comes to connectivity choices, the soundbar has an HDMI port for eARC/ARC and one pass-through HDMI port that helps 4K HDR transmission. In the identical worth vary, we have seen soundbars just like the JBL SB450 (overview) with 3 pass-through HDMI ports able to 4K HDR. The Sony HT-X8500 additionally has an optical port and Bluetooth 5 connectivity. Talking of supported codecs, the speaker boasts DTS-X and Dolby Atmos assist, which is good. Nonetheless, with no high audio system or rear audio system, we had been to see how object encompass sound carried out on this panel. This speaker additionally doesn’t assist Alexa or Google Assistant.

Sony HT-X8500 settings

Organising the speaker is as simple as inserting it underneath the TV, connecting by way of HDMI, and also you’re good to go. Nonetheless, one factor ought to be remembered right here. Should you’re utilizing a sensible TV with HDMI 1.4, you will not see the “Dolby Atmos” tag on the corresponding Netflix content material. When related to a TV by way of HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2 assist), we noticed a Dolby Atmos tag seem in Netflix content material, one thing to bear in mind when buying a soundbar. It should work along with your present FHD (HDMI 1.4) TV, and once you improve your TV to 4K, you’ll discover a slight distinction in sound high quality. This is nice as a result of it would take a look at your sound settings sooner or later.


Construct and design

If we speak in regards to the design of the soundbar, then it is obtainable in just one colour – black. The highest of the soundbar has a matte textured end with LED indicators and contact buttons for features akin to energy, supply, Bluetooth and quantity management. The contact buttons are fairly delicate and may be operated with a gentle contact. However they aren’t gentle sufficient to reply to unintended touches. LED indicators symbolize Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, Vertical Encompass, TV, HDMI and Bluetooth. As soon as you understand which LED is for what, it is simple to find out which supply is at the moment lively. Nonetheless, some might choose a conventional show for supply and quantity data. If you modify the amount, all of the LEDs gentle up in sequence to point out the output sound degree. All of them gentle as much as point out full quantity, after which from proper to left they step by step begin to dim, one after the other, to point quantity discount. This is a small change that eliminates the necessity for a show on the soundbar. LEDs are usually not too vibrant, so utilizing them in a darkish room doesn’t intervene with the sensation. The textured matte floor is good, does not entice fingerprints or mud and provides the soundbar a clear look.


All connection ports are situated on the again, within the cavity on the fitting. It is simply accessible and neatly laid out. On the left is one other cavity that homes the ability port. You even have the choice of wall mounting the soundbar when you choose.

It has a metallic end on the underside with rubber ft which can be strategically positioned to forestall vibration. The rubber ft are small and do not raise the soundbar an excessive amount of, which is good.

The entrance of the soundbar is dominated by a metallic grille, and when you shine sufficient gentle on it, you possibly can see the 4 drivers powering it. Two are within the center and one on both sides. To the fitting and left of the soundbar there are channels for outputting bass.

General, the construct of the soundbar is extraordinarily strong, higher than the JBL SB 450, has a clear look and end, and appears minimalistic in a house theater setup. Simply the best way we prefer it.



For about the identical worth (plus or minus a few thousand rupees) you may get soundbars with a subwoofer. So, how does the Sony HT-X8500 carry out? In a nutshell, the soundbar has good sound copy and channel shifting, particularly when you use it in a bed room (12ft by 15ft). In a bigger room, the three-dimensional impact is misplaced. Evidently, the digital encompass sound characteristic is simply fancy. This expands the soundstage of the audio coming from the speaker, nevertheless it’s nowhere close to as good as Dolby Atmos.

We’ve divided the efficiency part into films, music and gaming efficiency.



Watch films and you’ll notice that the sound bar has clear sound copy. Dialogue is clearly audible even with the rating taking part in within the background. From the bike chase in Mission: Inconceivable to the weapons firing in all places in The Matrix, and even in exhibits like Altered Carbon the place you could have gunfights and bullets whizzing by, the soundbar does a nice job of immersing you. Although the sound is coming proper in entrance of you, the channel separation is good. Bass, whereas current, appears missing, particularly once you’re watching an motion film like Mission: Inconceivable. The thump that propels you into motion is current, however missing. The dialogue is very clear, even within the warmth of battle in a film like John Wick.



Sony soundbar music is what you anticipate from a Sony speaker. It additionally relies on the kind of music you take heed to. So traditional rock, the place the bass is not essentially overwhelming, sounds clear. Vocals may be distinguished from devices, and excessive frequencies are clear. Digital music like Daft Punk has understood the place you possibly can dissect synthesizer sounds. Heavy metallic followers will really feel the shortage of bass. The speaker does not distort at excessive volumes, and you should utilize it because the centerpiece of a occasion at house. At 70 p.c quantity, the soundbar is very loud and also you need not pump it any greater. However you possibly can, and we went as much as 90 p.c and the sound did not distort. Though it turned very loud.


Video games

For video games, we performed Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of Warfare and Doom. Channel separation works effectively in all video games, and once you flip your character round throughout a dialog or battle, the sound goes to the speaker as effectively, which is good. In a sport like Doom, the sound of the shotgun is dominated by the subwoofer, however to be sincere, I did not miss it. In fact, once you swap to a soundbar with a subwoofer, you possibly can clearly see the distinction, however contemplating the efficiency of the system as a bar, it really works fairly effectively. Even in “Spider-Man” the noise of the wind and the splash of the net are effectively expressed.

All in all, when you’re quick on house, or do not want a subwoofer for some cause, or need a easy plug-and-play answer and are anxious about shedding bass, don’t be concerned. For a medium-sized bed room, this is a good no-nonsense soundbar. Nonetheless, remember that in the entire exams above, we toggled the digital encompass sound mode on and off. It did enhance the soundstage a bit, nevertheless it does not come near a true Dolby Atmos expertise.


For highly effective bass in a giant lounge, you possibly can take a look at the JBL SB 450 (overview).

distant management

The distant management included with the soundbar is easy and conventional, one thing we have seen with many Sony sound programs. All buttons are situated on two vertical columns with quantity controls within the heart. The distant management has enter choices, management of varied modes, and a mute button. Buttons like “Voice” and “DTS Dialogue” assist enhance vocals when desired, whereas options like “Evening” be sure that loud explosions and weapons in motion scenes do not get too loud. You possibly can discover the distinction when switching between the completely different modes, and people who do not wish to dig into the settings can use the Auto Sound choices.


The underside line

So, right here is the at all times necessary query. Do you have to spend 30k on this soundbar? Nicely, the reply is precisely what you’re searching for. Should you want massive bass and are searching for an immersive house theater expertise without compromising on bass, there are different choices to select from. Nonetheless, when you’re searching for a bar to boost the sound of your TV and in addition wish to use it as a multimedia speaker, then you definately may wish to take into account it. It is good for watching content material akin to films, video games and even music. It additionally helps codecs like DTS-X and Dolby Atmos. Nonetheless, other than the marginally improved accuracy, do not anticipate to listen to sound from in all places, because the vertical encompass results are gimmicky.

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