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Sony Readies Hi-res Audio Car Media Receiver

Sony’s XAV-9500ES in-dash media receiver will be one of the first to support hi-res lossless audio in automobiles. Coming November 2021 for $1,299.

Sony XAV-9500ES In-Car Media Receiver

With Apple Music now streaming Hi-res Lossless Audio, you’ll need upgraded hi-fi components in your automobile to fully decode larger audio files. Using Bluetooth from your phone to your car stereo won’t cut it. Bluetooth simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to transmit hi-res lossless audio.

Since most car audio systems weren’t designed to support hi-res audio, consumers can either upgrade their car stereo or use a wired connection with a hi-res capable dongle DAC such as the THX Onyx — if you car stereo accepts a USB input. As we’ve learned, connecting it up can be a bit clunky.

Fortunately, Sony has announced an elegant solution for automobiles with single-DIN slots. Arriving November 2021, Sony’s XAV-9500ES in-dash media receiver will be one of the first to playback hi-res audio in the car. It uses an ESS DAC chip capable of decoding 192 kHz / 24-bit WAV, FLAC, ALAC audio files, and DSD (22.4MHz) files via 192 kHz / 24-bit PCM conversion. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ are supported, although it’s unclear if a wired connection (via USB) is required to playback Hi-Res Lossless.

Sony XAV-9500ES Floating Display

All features of the XAV-9500ES can be controlled via 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1280 x 720). The screen itself “floats” and works in four directions. The base installs via single-DIN rear chassis, making it compatible with a variety of vehicles.

Sound

Sony XAV-9500ES Internals
  • Built-in Premium 4-channel Class A/B Amplifier: To provide unmatched audio quality, the dedicated power circuit is designed for left and right channel amplification, while the overall amplifier block includes updated circuit configurations, patterns and components that minimize interference. Together with the electric volume circuit utilizing a select audio IC with less distortion and noise, customers can enjoy smooth highs, tight bass, wide dynamic range and more accurate sound stage. 
  • Optimum Audio Components: Carefully selected components ensure superb quality sound. The dedicated choke coil in the power supply block features powerful bass while filtering unwanted frequencies, for controlled and dynamic audio reproduction. Audiophile-grade high polymer solid electrolytic capacitors (FT CAP2), custom-made for Sony’s high-end products, deliver stable power to the ESS D/A converter for clear and tight bass, while multi-layer polymer capacitors ensure low overall harmonic distortion and natural sound. 
  • Anti-resonance Dual-layer Chassis: The dual-layer design of the chassis separates analogue and digital circuitry, preventing electro-magnetic noise for uncompromised sound quality. The lower layer stores circuit boards, which are dedicated to the audio and analogue process, and the fully shielded upper layer separates the digital circuit boards. 
  • Sound Customization: The high grade 192 kHz / 24-bit DSP offers pristine sound processing and time alignment down to a remarkable 1 cm for each of the 6 addressable channels (4 speakers + 2 subwoofers via pre-out). A 14-band EQ lets customers adjust the overall sound to their music or taste, and each of the 6 channels features independent 8-band parametric EQ to get optimum performance across different speaker configurations. Together with the 3-zone crossover, users can dial in the perfect match of front, rear and subwoofers.

Smart Connectivity 

Sony XAV-9500ES In-Car Media Receiver Streaming Music
  • Wire-Free Smartphone Connectivity: Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi and the supplied GPS antenna, users can leave their smartphone in their pocket and still access full device integration. 
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay: Apple CarPlay integrates iPhone with the car audio’s display and controls, enabling users to make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions optimized for traffic and more while the driver stays focused on the road. Supporting third-party navigation apps, Apple CarPlay provides even more choices to get to the destination.
  • Wireless Android Auto™: Designed with safety and convenience in mind, Android Auto is a simpler way to use a smartphone with the car’s display. Drivers can talk to Google on Android Auto and stay connected, entertained and informed while keeping their eyes on the road. Just say “Hey Google” or press the voice control button on the 9500ES.

Usability 

Sony XAV-9500ES Single-DIN Head Unit Rear
  • USB Type-C® Compatible Rear Connection Terminals: USB Type-C terminal is available for any compatible device, allowing high-current charge up to 3A. 
  • Quick Wake Up: With the quick wake up feature in less than 6.5 seconds, customers are ready to go right after turning on the ignition. (Time measured approximately until safety caution is displayed.)
  • Rear View Camera Ready with Adjustable Parking Guidelines: Customers can see the images of up to three connected cameras when they shift the vehicle’s transmission lever to the reverse position or tap the dedicated icons on the home screen. 
  • Ergonomically Designed Physical Key Terminal and Customizable Large Front Keys: The ergonomically designed physical key terminal gives instant access to basic operations to minimize distractions behind the wheel. Two customizable large keys are also available that users can assign various functions like Mute, Display Off, Source, Home, etc.

Extensibility 

  • iDatalink® Maestro® Compatible7iDatalink® Maestro® (sold separately) compatibility connects the 9500ES to the vehicle’s onboard computer, turning it into a customized display for factory-equipped functions and features. Users can interact with vehicle infotainment and information directly on the 10.1″ touchscreen. 
  • Enhanced 5V 3-pre Out Connectivity: For future expandability, the 5V 3-pre out connectivity allows customers to build a full acoustic system, including a newly available stereo subwoofer connection, and a 4-channel stereo amplification for even louder and more powerful sound reproduction.
Sony XAV-9500ES In-Dash Hi-res Audio Player Front

Pricing and Availability

The Sony XAV-9500ES will be available in November 2021 for a suggested retail price of $1,299.99, including a three-year warranty.

For more information: Sony XAV-9500ES (sony.com)

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