Sonos Beam (Gen 2) vs Sony HT-X8500: Comparative Review
Sonos Beam (Gen 2) 5.0
Audio Quality ( Tested )
Audio Enhancement Features:
Supported Audio Format ( HDMI ARC)
Supported Audio Format (Full HDMI In' port ):
Audio Format Support ( Optical Port ):
Where to Buy
Sonos Beam vs Sony HT x8500: Design & build quality
The black and plain looking Sony HT-x8500 comes with a metal grille on the front along with a faux leather on the top. Other than that, its bar is composed of plastic. Moreover, there are two ports on either side of the soundbar as the subwoofers are built within the bar.
On the other hand, the Sonos bar and the original Sonos Beam have extremely similar designs. Most of it is plastic. Furthermore,the front is protected by a plastic grille rather than fabric, which also gives it a better look. The Sonos Beam does not come with a sub, but you can buy it separately if you want to upgrade your system.
The dimension of HT-x8500 is a bit bigger, which is why it might be difficult to put it within the feet of most average sized TVs. Even so, the bar isn't particularly tall, so unless your TV is flat with the table, it probably won't block the screen.
On the contrary, the Sonos beam is smaller in size, which helps it to fit in. Plus, it is not particularly tall, so similar to HT-x8500, it won't block your TV's screen.
Additionally, Sony's rear is fairly unadorned. The left side has an opening for something like the power wire, while the right side has another one for the input pins. Additionally, the back of this bar contains universal mounting holes for wall mounting.
Similarly, there is also an opening in Sonos Beam, at the back of the soundbar for power cable. One can also mount the device to the wall with the help of an opening at the bottom. But, you have to purchase the exclusive wall mount separately.
Altogether, the build quality of the Sony HTX8500 is satisfactory. Its speakers are shielded by a metal grille, which is composed of durable matte plastic. The bar contains inbuilt subwoofers that are shielded by a metal grille. However, the Sonos Beam is not lagging behind. It is really well constructed which feels very sturdy and long-lasting.
Winner: Sonos Beam; its built quality is slightly better.
In terms of features the sony HT-x8500 comes with a limited number of sound-improving functions. Although it lacks a graphic EQ, it features a number of EQ presets, to assist you find the ideal fit to suit your audio demands. In addition to that, the "News" preset also serves as a speech enhancement tool, making voices sound clearer and more detailed. The DTS:X content also triggers the Surround Engine feature. However, due to the lack of room correction options, the quality may vary based on the space you are enjoying it.
Moving on, there is a room correction (true play) feature in Sonos beam. But it can only be used in iOS. Furthermore, the dialog Enhancement tool aids in the clarification of speech, as well as its Night Audio setting can lessen abrupt volume shifts during nighttime listening. Plus the soundbar supports Google assistant and Alexa. Muting the microphone is also possible here. Interestingly, Sonos has an app which works as a tool to control the device’s settings, isn;t it cool?
Winner: Tie. Sony HT-x8500 has more connectivity options and Sonos beam has better sound enhancement features.
The Sony HTX8500's stereo frequency response is fair. Despite having built-in subwoofers, it has trouble reproducing the low-bass rumble and thump. But. vocals are still rendered pretty clearly and precisely despite the sound profile being a little boxy and gloomy.
This soundbar features a slope that is closer to zero, which results in a more balanced sound. It still fails to replicate the low-bass though. But, the vocals are rendered with clarity and thanks to its fairly neutral mid-range for that.
That said, the stereo frequency of Sonos Beam is good. It has a feature named Trueplay that allows it to alter its output according to the particular acoustic properties of your environment, making it a premium bar. Sadly, only the iOS users can use it. Moreover, the majority of vocals are reproduced in the mids, which are where its sound profile is most evenly distributed.
Furthermore, with the use of its treble and bass controls, you can alter its output if you favor a more well-rounded audio experience with stereo music. As a result, you can hear less kick in the mix, which makes the sound a little bit fairer, particularly in the high-bass frequencies.
In brief, the Vertical Stereo Engine tech developed by the manufacturer is used by the Sony HTX8500 to mimic an Immersive experience. It must downmix Atmos video into surround in order to render it, which results in a less immersive audio experience. Also, the surround sound of this device is very poor as it fails to produce accurate representation of surround objects. So, in this regard the Sonos beam is better. You will get a passable output, but for better experience using separate rear speakers is recommended.
In addition, the sound stage of Sonos beam is wide. And in spite of supporting Atmos, it doesn't sound that immersive; especially in the action scenes.
Winner: Sonos Beam; it has better bass accuracy, audio latency and sound quality.
Your priorities will play a big part in determining which bar is best for you. Not to mention, if you already have the Sonos multiroom system, then the Beam is child’s play! You can easily use it with other devices within your network. On the other hand, Sony HT x8500 supports a good range of audio formats; so you have a lots of options here as well.
Overall, the Sonos beam is fantastic with music and television. Surprisingly, it sounds larger than it actually looks. It also helps to make your TV sound better.
Nevertheless, the HT-X8500 is a wonderful option if you're more into movies and TV shows. With object-based soundtracks like Dolby Atmos, it gives more options in regards to HDMI connectivity as well as provides a pleasantly authentic experience.
Although the Sonos still remains the hi-fi lovers' preferred option, it also sounds great with music, making it an excellent all-around acoustic speaker.
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