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Sony UBP-X800 Ultra-HD Blu-Ray Player

Prefer listening to your favorite immersive music on Blu-Ray discs? You’re going to need a player that doesn’t lose a single detail.
By Ben Jacklin

Many audiophiles have found that one of the easiest ways to listen to high resolution audio formats through a surround-sound system is by using a Blu-Ray player. One of the very best for audio is the Sony UBP-X800 Ultra-HD.

Of course, we’re not just discussing audio, and in this review we delve into the merits of this player for both watching UHD video and listening to crystal clear audio.

Video Capabilities

We know that the majority of our readers want to know the audio functionality first and foremost, but there’s no point in buying a UHD player that can’t spin disks in the most incredible resolution, especially with the current trend towards 4K and above.

The UBP-X800 interpolates UHD with up to 4:4:4 subsampling, and doesn’t use color bands, so it is always sending the maximum data to the screen. 4K TVs can handle frame rates of 60FPS and deep 12 bit color. The player automatically detects what resolution, frame rate, dynamic range and colors your screen can handle, and it will alter the data accordingly.

If you want the UBP-X800 to watch movies in Ultra HD, you won’t be disappointed. It even does a great job of upscaling standard Blu-Ray discs.

Connectivity

Where audio is concerned, you need to ensure that you get plenty of connectivity so that you can play from a number of sources, but also to send the audio from the Blu-Ray to your audio hardware. With HDMI outputs, one v2.0 HDCP 2.2 enabled, you can support 4K video passthrough as well as carrying high-quality audio. It supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD to listen in lossless 7.1-channel audio you could confuse with being in the theater.

The UBP-X800 also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

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Audio Quality

Tested with a number of different file formats and a number of different audio hardware, the capabilities of this player continue to impress.

The audio supported include lossless WAV and FLAC files in up to 24-bit. For those who want to listen to immersive audio, this makes it incredibly easy to load up a disc of your favorite tracks and stream it through a 5.1 or 7.1 system, or even a soundbar.

If you are using lower-quality lossy files, Sony’s Low bitrate DSEE-HX sound enhancer is not just a clever bit of branding, it genuinely seems to enhance and improve the dynamics of tracks saved as MP3s, for instance.

Summary

There are a couple of downsides to consider, especially if you are looking to use this for video. The lack of Dolby Vision support means that you can’t enjoy the HDR features of some video sources. However, for audiophiles, you will struggle to find a Blu-Ray player with a better set of features.

The player is not cheap, but its modern features and clever ability to upscale video and audio files are worth the investment for many.

For an easy way to play multi-channel, high resolution audio, the Sony UBP-X800 Ultra-HD Blu-Ray Player fits the bill.

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About the Author

Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his own site, subreel.com