There’s something about watching a film in the theaters that you can’t quite get when you re-watch it at home. Well, I’ve got good news for you, you can now get that same surround sound experience with the Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar. And the best part? You don’t need to spend a fortune on a full sound system set to get good sound.

The Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar is pretty light and compact, with minimal wires and ports. It measures just 890 mm x 64 mm x 96 mm (35 1/8 in x 2 5/8 in x 3 7/8 in) and weighs 3.1kg. It can also be hung vertically if you want to maximize your space. It is primarily used to boost the sound from your television but as it is Bluetooth 5.0 enabled and can connect via HDMI, you can virtually play audio from any Bluetooth/HDMI capable device.

It connects to devices easily and switch modes when you need it to. Bluetooth range is great and it is able to stay connected even from another room—really handy if you’re using your smartphone, laptop, or tablet with it.   

You get 2.1ch Dolby Atmos along with its build in subwoofer and Sony’s DTS: X which all make for crisp dialogues, bright melodies, and deep bass. It uses virtual surround sound to create that all-around sound experience. It also supports 4K media with its 4K HDR 18 Gbps pass-through and HDCP 2.2/HDCP 2.3. It is adequately loud but perhaps one limitation it has compared to a multi-piece sound system is that for larger rooms, the surround sound only wraps around a certain distance and does not quite reach around the entire space.

 Aesthetically, it comes in a textured matte black that meets black steel mesh that encloses the sound drivers. You can find the touch controls on the top center of the bar, with the icons in a matte grayish-white, adding to the soundbar’s minimalist look. There are also white LED lights dotted across the top (but not quite parallel to the ‘buttons’ themselves) but they are linked to a specific function and does not correspond to the touch panel options. They do respond well to touch, though. There is also an included remote that might be easier to use. Here, you can change the input from Bluetooth, HDMI, and TV. You can also adjust the sound presets here with a range to choose from like: music, voice, auto, game, news, sports, standard, bass, night, cinema, and standard. You can play around with these to find which one gives you the best sound for whatever you’re listening to.  

Does it sound good?

For its price, the HT-X8500 drives a good bargain for a single soundbar solution. It offers solid surround sound and does not compromise on sound quality. I tried watching A Quiet Place with it—a film that relies heavily on sound to build the plot—and it did not disappoint. I could hear the crack of dry leaves and the small whoosh of wind as the creature approaches and the alarmed breathing of the main characters. It can sometimes get a bit bass-heavy with music and overpowers or muffles vocals. But it does not struggle with highs and lows and squeezes out every bit of detail really well, which I love.

Overall, it is a good sound solution for those looking for a single, no-frills audio system that can is easy to use and goes well with small spaces. It retails at P22,299.