Sony HT-X9000F Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 08, 2020 at 08:16 am
Sony HT-X9000F Picture
6.8
Mixed Usage
7.5
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.4
Music
6.7
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 channel soundbar from Sony's 2018 lineup. Unlike most competing 2.1 soundbars, it can play Atmos content using Sony's Vertical Surround Engine, which simulates an Atmos experience by downmixing this content into stereo. It can also support all common audio formats through its HDMI ARC and Full HDMI In ports. Although its sound profile is bright and a bit boxy, there are seven EQ presets available that can help give you a more tailored audio experience to the kind of content you like to listen to. However, while it can get loud enough to easily fill a large or crowded room, you may hear quite a bit of thumping and compression artifacts at max volume.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed Usage

The Sony HT-X9000F is okay for mixed use. While its boxy and bright sound profile may not please all listeners, there are seven EQ presets available to help give you a better-suited sound experience. If you like movies, this bar supports Atmos as well as DTS content. It also reproduces vocals accurately and clearly, which is great for watching the news or listening to your favorite podcasts. While music isn't its strong suit, as it lacks a hearty bass, it can get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room. However, there's a lot of thumping and compression artifacts at max volume.

Pros
  • Can play Atmos and DTS content.
  • Several EQ presets available.
  • Can get very loud.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • No room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Sony HT-X9000F is good for dialogue and TV shows. Although it has a bright and boxy sound profile, it's able to reproduce vocals accurately and clearly. It can also get pretty loud, and there's a 'News' EQ preset that can help further enhance vocal clarity. You can also stream your favorite podcasts or audiobooks directly from your phone using Bluetooth, which is nice.

Pros
  • Several EQ presets available.
  • Bluetooth compatible.
Cons
  • No room correction feature.
6.4 Music

The Sony HT-X9000F is passable for music. Even though it has a subwoofer, it lacks low-bass, and as a result, its sound profile is more bright and boxy-sounding. Luckily, there are several EQ presets available including a dedicated 'Music' mode which can help improve your audio experience. There's also an 'Auto Sound' EQ preset which can automatically adapt its sound profile to suit your music, but we don't currently test it. It can also get loud enough for a large room or a crowded party, but there are a lot of compression artifacts at max volume. Its soundstage is also limited to the size of the bar and its focus is a bit diffused.

Pros
  • Several EQ presets available.
  • Can get very loud.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • No room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
6.7 Movies

The Sony HT-X9000F is satisfactory for movies. It has a bright and somewhat boxy sound profile that lacks low-bass. That being said, it has a 'Cinema' EQ preset that can help enhance your movie experience. There's also an 'Auto Sound' EQ preset that can automatically adapt its sound profile to your audio content, although we don't currently test this. Unlike most other 2.1 setups, it supports Atmos content, but it does this by downmixing it into stereo. Thanks to its Full HDMI In port, it can also support eARC as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS content.

Pros
  • Can play Atmos and DTS content.
  • Several EQ presets available.
  • Can get very loud.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • No room correction feature.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • 6.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.4 Music
  • 6.7 Movies

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 soundbar from Sony's 2018 lineup. It has a unique angled design to fit the legs of the Sony BRAVIA X900F TV. Like many other Sony soundbars, it has an always-on surround sound mode called S-Force PRO. However, this bar can play Atmos content by downmixing it into stereo, which is rare in a 2.1 channel setup. Its main competitors are the Yamaha YAS-209, the Sonos Beam, the Vizio SB36512-F6, and the Sony HT-X8500.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Sony HT-X9000F has a slightly angled, sleek black design. The bar is made from good quality plastic and it has a long metal grill on its front, which gives it a premium look and feel.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer's case is made from black melamine. Its front face has a glossy finish and there's a nice metal grill to cover the woofer. The back is covered with a metal plate as well.

Design
Style - Satellites

There are no satellites in this soundbar setup.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 36.7" (93.2 cm)
Bar Height 2.2" (5.7 cm)
Bar Depth 3.3" (8.5 cm)

This bar is fairly wide. Although it's slightly angled to fit between the Sony X900F legs, it probably won't be the right fit for most 55" TVs. On the upside, the soundbar isn't too tall, so it's unlikely to block the bottom of your screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width 7.4" (18.8 cm)
Sub Height 15.0" (38.0 cm)
Sub Depth 15.2" (38.6 cm)

The subwoofer of the Sony HT-X9000F is about the size of a desktop computer. It can be placed next to your couch or TV stand.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the Sony HT-X9000F has two openings. The one on the left is for the integrated power cable. The opening on the right side has all the input ports. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with mounting brackets or screws, so if you want to put this on your wall, you'll need to purchase these accessories separately.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the Sony HT-X9000F is very simple. It's made of black metal and it only has an integrated cable at the bottom.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Sony HT-X9000F has a good build quality. Its metal grill has a nice silver lining at its base while the rest of its body is made from a sleek, black plastic. The subwoofer also has a nice feel to it as its front has a glossy finish and the woofer is covered with a metal grill. It feels sturdy as its casing is made from melamine and the back is covered in a black metal plate.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Manuals
  • Remote
  • 2x AAA batteries for its remote
  • HDMI cable

Sound
6.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
0.40
ST Std. Err.
3.40 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.6 kHz

The Sony HT-X9000F has an okay stereo frequency response when tested on Standard mode. Even with its subwoofer, it struggles to produce a thumpy, punchy bass, and it sounds boxy and bright. While this preset may not be well-suited for bass-heavy music like EDM or fast-paced action flicks, it's still suited for more voice-oriented content such as audiobooks. That being said, there are six other presets available, each of which may be better suited for your audio needs.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.66 dB

The stereo soundstage of the Sony HT-X9000F is just passable. It's about as wide as the bar itself, and the bar doesn't do any tricks to help widen it. While the soundstage sounds decently focused, it still seems a bit diffused, which makes objects sound like they're coming from more general areas rather than precise, accurate locations. The focus may also be perceived as moving slowly in space, and a sound may stay too long on either side of the bar before moving, which could potentially affect immersion into your favorite films or games.

6.8
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
94.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
3.99 dB

The Sony HT-X9000F has okay stereo dynamics. While it can get loud enough for a large room or a crowded party, there's a lot of pumping and compression artifacts at max volume, especially in the bass range.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.31
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.56

The Sony HT-X9000F has a great THD performance. At a normal volume, it produces clear and pure sound. While there's a slight jump in the bass range when listening at max volume, it shouldn't be audible to most people, especially with real-life content.

6.5
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
0.09
C Std. Err.
7.28 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
93.1 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.52
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.87

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 channel soundbar, and it doesn't have a dedicated center speaker. Instead, it uses its left and right speakers to simulate a sound in the center, and as a result, it sounds more diffused and less clear than a discrete center. That being said, its center channel performance is passable. Although its tonal balance is neutral overall, some voices on this bar sound a little weak while others may be more piercing. They still sound fairly clear and accurate though.

4.1
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
No
Sr Slope
-0.34
Sr Std. Err.
7.10 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
93.0 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.53
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.87

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 channel setup, so it downmixes surround content to stereo, producing an experience that doesn't feel as real as discrete tower speakers as surround objects aren't accurately or clearly represented. It has a somewhat excited, v-shaped sound profile, which means that it has an emphasis on bass and treble sounds. Like many other Sonys, it also has an always-on surround sound mode.

4.8
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
Surround (Downmix)
H Slope
0.98
H Std. Err.
5.82 dB
H SPL @ Max Volume
79.8 dB SPL
H Weighted THD @ 80
7.75
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.30

This 2.1 soundbar supports Atmos, although it has to downmix it into stereo to play it. It also uses Sony's Vertical Surround Engine to simulate an Atmos experience. It's not as immersive as soundbars with upward-firing speakers or dedicated satellites such as the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch, though, and it lacks a lot of bass.

5.9
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Sony HT-X9000F has sub-par sound enhancement features. It lacks room correction, so your soundbar could sound differently depending on which room you've set it in. Luckily, there are seven EQ presets to help give you the best sound possible: Standard, Auto Sound, Cinema, Music, Game Studio, News, and Sports. Similar to the Sony HT-S200F, there's an S-Force Pro surround sound feature that can't be turned off. There's also a Vertical Surround Engine feature, which is supposed to simulate an Atmos experience, and this can be turned on/off.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

This soundbar has quite a few inputs. There's an Optical Audio In as well as an HDMI ARC. There's also a Full HDMI In so that you can connect it to external devices like a gaming console. There's even a USB port so that you can play music directly from your thumb drive. Unlike the Sony HT-X8500, it also has an analog Audio In port, so you can play music from older devices.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
Yes
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Yes
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The Sony HT-X9000F can play all standard surround formats thanks to its HDMI ARC port. As it also has eARC, it can play object-based surround signals as well as lossless formats.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
Yes

The Sony HT-X9000F has a full HDMI In port, so it supports all the same formats as its HDMI ARC port.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

The Sony-HT-X9000F supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via its Optical Audio In. This content is usually found on Blu-ray discs as well as streaming platforms such as Netflix.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

Like many other Sony soundbars, its wireless playback options are mediocre. You can only connect it via Bluetooth, which is handy if you're streaming music from your smartphone or tablet, but the lack of Wi-Fi support is a little disappointing.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

If you have devices connected to your soundbar, you can pass through the highest quality signals without a problem. It supports 4:4:4 too so that when you're using your PC, the text remains clear and easy to read on your TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The Sony HT-X9000F's subwoofer has an integrated power cable, so it can't be removed. The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface of the Sony HT-X9000F consists of five lights on the top-front of the bar. They light up to tell you what setting you're on. When using the HDMI In cable, you can see the menu on your TV screen.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This bar has touch-sensitive controls located on its top. You can turn the bar on/off, switch to a Bluetooth connection, change wired inputs, and raise/lower the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Sony HT-X9000F has a remote that allows you to control all of the soundbar's settings.

Additional Features
App
App Name N/A
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Sony HT-X9000F enters 'Standby' mode after 20 minutes of inactivity. It also supports CEC, so you can use your TV's remote to control this soundbar.

Compared to other soundbars

The Sony HT-X9000F is a 2.1 channel soundbar from Sony's 2018 lineup. This soundbar stands out from the crowd as it supports Atmos content, which is pretty rare in a 2.1 setup. It uses Sony's Vertical Surround Engine to simulate an Atmos experience by downmixing this content into stereo, and its surround performance is more on par with a phantom front-firing bar like the Sony HT-Z9F. Unlike most 2.1 soundbars, it also supports all common audio formats via its Full HDMI In as well as HDMI ARC port. If you're looking for more soundbars, check out our recommendations for the best Sony soundbars, the best soundbars with subwoofer, and the best soundbars for movies.

Sony HT-Z9F
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Sony HT-Z9F is a better soundbar for mixed use than the Sony HT-X9000F. The HT-Z9F is slightly better built, it can deliver a slightly more balanced bass range, and there are fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It has an excellent discrete center channel, you can stream music over Wi-Fi, and it has two Full HDMI In ports. As it uses phantom front-firing speakers to create height channels, it also feels a touch more immersive than the HT-X9000F's downmixing.

Sonos Beam
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Sonos Beam is a slightly better overall performing soundbar compared to the Sony HT-X9000F. The Sonos is smaller, its sound profile is better balanced, and it has a better soundstage. It also has an outstanding discrete center channel, as well as a room correction feature. However, it lacks low-bass. The Sony, on the other hand, can support Atmos content by downmixing it, it has a Full HDMI In port, and it can stream audio via Bluetooth. It can also pass through high-quality signals so if you have it connected between your PC and TV, text on the screen will be crisp and clear.

Sony HT-X8500
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony HT-X8500 and the Sony HT-X9000F are similarly performing soundbars. While both soundbars can play Atmos content, the HT-X8500 has a better height performance. It has a bit better-balanced center channel, even though it doesn't have a dedicated center channel either. Although it can't get as loud as the HT-X9000F, it also can reach its max volume with less thumping and compression artifacts. Conversely, the Sony HT-X9000F feels slightly better built, and it has a standalone subwoofer. It also has both an Analog Audio In port as well as a USB input.

Sony HT-S200F
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Sony HT-X9000F is a slightly more versatile soundbar than the Sony HT-S200F. It has a bit better build quality, and its sound profile delivers more bass and treble. It has seven EQ presets, its surround performance is slightly better, and it even supports Atmos content by downmixing it, which is unique in a 2.1 channel setup. It also has a Full HDMI In port, and it can pass through high-quality signals. However, even though the HT-S200F can't get as loud, it has less thumping and compression artifacts at max volume. It also has a slightly better performing phantom center channel.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 and the Sony HT-X9000F are very closely performing soundbars but the Sony is more versatile. The Sony has a slightly better build quality, it has a better center and surround performance, and it can even support Atmos content, although it has to downmix it to stereo to play it. It also has a Full HDMI In port, so it can support eARC, DTS, and Dolby Atmos content. It can even passthrough high-quality signals. However, the Polk delivers a more punchy, boomy bass which can be adjusted, and it can get slightly louder with fewer compression artifacts.

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