This is Sony’s most affordable soundbar that simulates sound in height, to provides extra size of soundscapes from movies with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack. The HDMI input supports all video formats, including 4K with Dolby Vision. This means you won’t risk your display going black if you play a 4K Blu-ray movie (something we experienced with Philips B1).
HT-XF9000 is designed to fit under Sony’s new TVs in the XF90 series. It does not have any kind of display in the front. Instead, the information comes up on the TV screen. Also, the remote control has its own buttons for just about everything — including one for each of the sound modes — so you don’t have to press multiple times to reach a feature.
The movie experience is good. We get a good impression of the surround sound in the thriller Alien: Covenant. The dialogues are clear, although somewhat crass compared with Samsung and JBL. Here things happen in height, unless you’re too far from the soundbar. A maximum distance of three metres is fine, and the room should not seem very subdued.
The sub-woofer does a good job, although there is a little too much information in the upper bass and less in the deep bass. It can seem somewhat restrained at times. You can safely crank your bass almost all the way up. Stereo music works well, but you should turn off Vertical Surround. Otherwise it just sounds strange. The music sound mode sounds the warmest and richest. The voice of Lady Gaga is clear, but appears a bit sharp. Otherwise, the rhythms sound good and you get plenty of bass.
With simulated surround sound as well as a good impression of height in the soundscape, Sony’s soundbar engages you quite well when you watch movies, and the dialogue is clear.
It can, at times, feel somewhat crass and grainy. Music in stereo, especially, lacks a little magic. But the bass range is solid and on we are generally rather fond of Sony’s soundbar.
Also in this test
Does not follow up
A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.
JBL Bar 3.1
No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.
Let the sound flow
The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.
The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.
Small and half-hearted
The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.
Creative Sound BlasterX Katana
Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.
Surprisingly huge sound
Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.
Philips Fidelio B1/12
Better on TV than music
This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.