When it comes to audiophiles, Bluetooth is a dirty word. While the transmission standard has been readily adopted across a variety of products, the fact that it is a lossy format is anathema to music lovers. Even with codecs, such as Apt-X, to reduce data transmission losses audiophiles remain unconvinced.
It is no surprise then that manufacturers of Bluetooth speakers tend to position their products with a lifestyle angle. But Sony might just have unveiled a version of the Bluetooth speaker, in the shape of the SRS-X9, that might just appeal to audiophiles. The speakers are a 2.1-channel system with a bi-amped subwoofer and dual passive radiators. The eight-channel S-Master HX Audio Amplifier delivers an impressive 154W of music output power. Combined with Sony's ClearAudio+ technology for enhancing bass, the speakers might have the hardware to perform at a high level.
But the most interesting feature of the SRS-X9 is Sony's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX). This technology is touted to be able to refine and restore an audio signal, recreating the subtle high frequency harmonics that are lost in compressed files. How the feature works out in reality remains to be seen. The SRS-X9 also comes with NFC compatibility, integrated Wi-Fi as well as DLNA and AirPlay capabilities. Additionally you can also access music streaming services, such as Spotify, directly from the speaker itself.
Sony's 2013 top-end Bluetooth speaker, the SRS-BTX500, was an exceptionally good product. It sounded good for its price and the limitations placed on it due to design. But whether the new SRS-X9 can take it up a notch remains to be seen.