Audio technology has come a long way in the past few decades. Remember John Cusack standing outside with a boombox to win over the girl of his dreams in the movie Say Anything? Well, boomboxes are now relics of the past. Bluetooth technology has played a key role in the audio industry with Bluetooth speakers now being staple in every household. Forget the hi-fi music systems of the late 90s and early 2000s, their place has now been taken by 5.1 channel, 7.1 channel, and even 9.1 channel surround sound audio systems which are capable of producing high-quality 360° audio.
But why to have an audio system with 5-9 speakers placed at different locations in your room when you can have a single system which not only fulfills all your home entertainment needs, but can also be dragged around to every party? That’s where the new generation of party speakers come in, which provide a high quality, portable audio solution. Sony, being one of the most renowned brands in the world of audio, has launched its loudest and most powerful party speaker yet, the Sony SRS-XV900. But does it cater to your every entertainment need?
I’ve spent a few weeks with the Sony SRS-XV900, and here’s how it went.
The Sony SRS-XV900 is strikingly similar to the other party speakers in its X-Series lineup, such as the SRS-XP500, in every aspect except one, it is huge. Standing at nearly 3 feet, it's not the pocketable Bluetooth speaker which sells hotly in the market these days. But this freakishly huge size doesn’t mean it cannot be moved around. Being a party speaker, the Sony SRS-XV900 has a handle at the top and two wheels at the bottom so that you can drag it to your party destination!
The wheels, combined with the lights at the bottom make it seem that the speaker is floating and it looks very cool, especially with the ambient lights (which are present at both ends of the Sony SRS-XV900) turned on. The lights can be customized with different patterns through Sony’s app. The speaker has a touch display at the top with various controls such as Play, Pause, Volume, Mega Bass and more options, along with different light controls.
The only drawback I could find in my time using it was the speaker could’ve been a little lighter. Weighing at nearly 26.6 kg, taking it out of the box and dragging it from one room to the other was a chore I dreaded, even with wheels.
Having said that, the Sony SRS-XV900 is the best sounding Bluetooth speaker I've ever heard. It might seem a bit over the top but the speaker is that good. The speaker has very few competitors in today’s market with JBL’s PartyBox 710 being one. But even then, Sony’s loudest and most powerful speaker blows everything else out of the water. The speaker has 6 tweeters at the front, back and sides to provide an omnidirectional sound, with a large X-Balanced speaker unit at the center. The mid-range drivers provide crystal-clear vocals, and horror-movie nights suddenly became a lot scarier as Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” screaming in the Shining sent shivers down my spine. Listening to lossless music on the Sony SRS-XV900 was a thoroughly pleasant experience with thumping bass and ridiculously well-balanced sound. Even at 50 percent volume, the speaker got loud enough, and started shaking windows when maxed out.
The speaker supports all popular codecs, including Sony’s LDAC codec, although that can only be enjoyed on Android devices. You get two dedicated sound modes – Live Sound and Mega Bass, which can be changed with Sony’s excellent companion app. The TV Sound Booster feature works well when connected to the speaker via the optical cable. The speaker also supports karaoke double tracking although I didn’t get an opportunity to test this feature. There’s a headphone jack and an optical port at the back along with karaoke controls.
The Sony SRS-XV900 will probably last longer than your party. Sony claims up to 25 hours of battery life with the ambient lights turned off and it lasted nearly the same. If you’ve got to rush to a party, charge the speaker for just 10 minutes and enjoy up to 3 hours of audio playback. The charging time is decent as well and it didn’t take ages to charge, as I initially expected. It has a dedicated battery care mode which limits the charging to 90 percent, to prolong battery life.
They say great quality comes with a high price, and it is certainly true in this case. At its price point of Rs. 79990, the Sony SRS-XV900 is certainly one of the priciest Bluetooth speakers in the market, but its surreal omnidirectional audio, thumping bass and excellent battery life makes it stand out. If you’re looking for an audio system which provides a theater-like experience, then this is not the system for you and you’d be better off going for a 7.1 channel or 9.1 channel surround sound system. But if you’re a frequent party host or want a powerful music system which can be moved around, the Sony SRS-XV900 is one of the best speakers you can buy.
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