Gamers — even the casual ones — have held gameplay, aesthetic, and audio quality in the same regard when evaluating a video game.
There's a reason many still buy survival horror and action-adventure titles, despite the generally hit-or-miss storytelling. Some gamers are satisfied with the heightened sensory challenge and stress levels that a straightforward video game series offer via heart-stopping jumpscares and hype-inducing soundtracks.
SPIN Life recently tested Sony's HT-X8500 surround sound bar with basketball simulation title NBA 2K20 and realized that investing in high-end equipment for your gaming sound system might just be worth it.
The first thing you'll notice about the HT-X8500 is its compact design. For something that packs a lot of audio power, the soundbar is surprisingly slim (890 x 64 x 96 mm) and elegant. Despite having it for just a month, the sleek black unit didn't look cluttered with our humble gaming setup.
The HT-X8500 recreated NBA 2K20's defeaning home-court advantage and animated play-by-play using its advance DPS technology. Who needs to watch live games when you can feel the Knicks faithful booing their own team and the most impassioned calls by Kevin Harlan in maximum 7.1.2ch2 audio? Through digital signal processing, stereo audio is converted to cinematic surround.
The soundbar brought every virtual hoops highlight to life in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X quality with the help of Sony's latest surround technology Vertical Surround Engine.
Five different sound modes are available for your entertainment preference, and the Game, Sports, and Music options turned out to be most applicable in this particular setting (the other two are Theater and News).
The involvement of PlayStation developers were very much apparent in the enhanced gameplay audio (Game), while it was as if the HT-X8500 took the gamer courtside with the ambient crowd noise (Sports). It was also easy to get lost in all the button-mashing with the NBA 2K20 soundtrack blasting in the background (Music).
Whether you're a fan of Drake's cheesy brand of hip-hop or the Inside the NBA crew's hilarious debates, the soundbar guarantees crisp beats and banter.
The powerful built-in dual subwoofer enabled the deep bass sound of "Sandra's Rose" from the center, without taking up too much of the estate. On the other hand, its 4K HDR 18 Gbps pass-through and HDCP 2.2/HDCP 2.3 rendered the uber-realistic MyCareer cutscenes in full audio detail using the most recent home theater format specifications (for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma).
Steve May of TechRadar writes: "This compact Sony soundbar belies its mid-range price with a blockbuster audio performance. The soundstage is wide, with lovely wraparound sound processing courtesy of Sony’s clever Vertical S, and that internal subwoofer is a proper beast... Sony’s all-in-one Dolby Atmos bar may be the best value of the year."
If you're the type to immerse yourself in video games and obsess over its smallest elements and faintest tones, then you won't regret saving up for the HT-X8500.
Score Sony's HT-X8500 Sound Bar for P 22,299