Sonos Beam (Gen 2) vs Sony HT-X8500: Comparative Review


Sonos and Sony always come up with similar devices however their goals are completely different. The setup, performance along with surround sound keeps the Sonos Beam ahead in this competition. But on the other side, Sony HT x8500 gives top quality passthrough as it features full HDMI in port. Both the devices are fantastically loaded with amazing capabilities to elevate the user's audio experience. In the sense of build quality and sound quality Sonos Beam is batter soundbar.

Pros
  • Supports wireless multiroom
  • Sonos S2 app
  • Creates multi-dimensional sound
  • Speech enhancement option
  • Supports Airplay
Cons
  • No dedicated sub.
Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement option
  • Best for compact spaces
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Low latency
  • Sleek and slim design
Cons
  • No room correction feature
Where to Buy

Advance Comparison

Model

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) | Compact 5.0 ch Smart Soundbar

Sony HT-X8500 2.1ch Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Brand Name

Sonos

Sony

Rating
Mixed Usage
7.6
6.4
SOUND QUALITY
7.2
6.8
BASS ACCURACY :
7.3
6.8
AUDIO & VIDEO LATENCY:
8.9
7.5
AUDIO ENHANCEMENT FEATURES:
6.2
4.1
BUILD QUALITY :
8.5
7
GENERAL
Number of Channel
5.0 Channel
2.1 Channel
Placement Type
Wall-mountable
Table-top , Wall-mountable
Connectivity Type
Both (Wired & Wireless)
Subwoofer Feature
Separate Subwoofer
Without Subwoofer
Rear Speaker
N/A
N/A
Central Channel Speaker
Yes
N/A
Audio Enhancement Features
Yes
Yes
HDMI input/output
Yes
Yes
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
N/A
N/A
Loudness
Moderate ( ± 80db)
High Volume ( > 92db )
Warranty
12 months Months
12 months Months
Connectivity:
Digital Optical Audio Input ( Toslink )
Adapter into HDMI ARC
1 Optical Audio Input
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
None
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
3
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
None
None
RCA Ports
No
No
USB Port
None
None
Ethernet Jack
Yes
No
Audio Quality ( Tested )
Dialogue & Vocal Accuracy
Frequency deviation from target is less than standard error (3.4 dB ); which means soundbar is very good to reproduce dialog and instrumental music
Frequency deviation from target is less than standard error (3.4 dB ); which means soundbar is very good to reproduce dialog and instrumental music
Bass Accuracy ( for music, film scores, movies, and games)
Soundbar 's Low-Frequency-Extension is more than 35 Hz. Which means It can reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass accurately.
Soundbar 's Low-Frequency-Extension is more than 35 Hz. Which means It can reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass accurately.
3- Dimensional Sound Accuracy ( Sound Stage)
soundstage has good focus overall but but some sound tracks seem to be bit more diffused and lack separation.
soundstage has good focus overall but but some sound tracks seem to be bit more diffused and lack separation.
Total Harmonic Distortion ( Center Channel )
It has dedicated center channel speaker and Total Harmonic Distortion of center channel @80dB is less than standard value(>0.7). So soundbar produce more clear and accurate audio of the dialogue in movies.
No Dedicated Center Channel Speaker. So, it can not produce sound quite as clear as 3.0, 3.2 , 5.1 or 7.2 channels Soundbar. But It has decent center performance to produce accurate audio and dialogue.
Surround Sound Imaging ( Rear Channel )
Dedicated Rear channel speaker produce discrete surround sound like tower speaker
No dedicated or alternative channel for surround content. So it downmixes surround content to stereo.
Streo Dynamics ( Loudness ):
Dynamic Range Compression @ Standard Volume (80 dB) is more than standard deviation (<2 dB).
Dynamic Range Compression @ Max Volume is little bit more than standard deviation (<2 dB) and maximum valume is over 92 dB SPL
Audio & Video Latency
Here no visible latency via ARC (-23 ms) and Optical (5 ms) but visuals difference may found via Full HDMI Input (-126 ms).
Audio Enhancement Features:
Digital Room Correction:
Yes
N/A
Auto Volume Adjustment/ Night Mode:
Yes
Yes
Equilizer Options:
None
Presets
Bass Adjustment ( Thump & Punch of sound)
Yes
Yes
Treble Adjustent ( Brightness and Clarity od Audio)
Yes
N/A
Surround Level Adjustment:
N/A
N/A
Virtual Surround Effect:
N/A
Yes
Supported Audio Format ( HDMI ARC)
eARC Standard
Yes
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
Yes
DTS
Yes
Yes
DTS: X
N/A
Yes
Dolby True HD ( eARC only )
Yes
Yes
DTS- HD MA (eARC only)
N/A
Yes
5.1 PCM ( eARC only )
Yes
Yes
Supported Audio Format (Full HDMI In' port ):
Dolby Atmos :
N/A
Yes
DTS:X :
N/A
Yes
Dolby Digital :
N/A
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus:
N/A
Yes
DTS :
N/A
Yes
Dolby TrueHD :
N/A
Yes
DTS-HD MA :
N/A
Yes
5.1 PCM
N/A
Yes
Audio Format Support ( Optical Port ):
Dolby Digital :
Yes
Yes
DTS :
Yes
Yes
Build Material
Enclosure
Passive Radiator
Integrated
Finish
It's made mostly plastic. It's feel very solid and durable.
The Bar is very good build quality, with robust matte plastic, and it has a metal grille to protect its speakers.
Color
Black
Black
Soundbar Width
25.6
34.9" (88.7 cm)
Soundbar Height
2.6
2.5" (6.3 cm)
Soundbar Depth
4.0
3.9" (9.8 cm)
Subwoofer Width
N/A
N/A
Subwoofer Depth
N/A
N/A
Drivers Specs
Tweeter Size and Type :
Dome tweeter (1)
None
Midrange Size & Types:
Full-range cones (4)
None
Woofer Size & Type :
Passive Radiators (3)
None
Subwoofer Driver
None
None
Other
Where to Buy

Comparatives Review


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.

Audio Features:

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.

Sound Quality:

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.

Final verdict:

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.

Where to Buy

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