Reviewing Sony Mobile ES™ car audio gear
The best of Sony audio, designed for the car
What is the Sony Mobile ES Series all about? The best of Sony's car audio technologies solidly built with the goal of providing the best sound quality on the road. Read on to learn about these Sony flagship stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers.
Since the late 1960s Sony has delivered the finest in audio quality for car stereo products. When they decided to introduce a product line to showcase the finest technology and sound they had to offer, they created the Mobile ES™ (Elevated Standard) series of products.
They adapted the most advanced materials, designs, and production techniques from their various audio product lines, including their flagship home stereo technologies, to bring their finest quality and superior sound to car audio. Their goal: sound so good you'll want to spend more time in your car.
Let's take a look at what they have to offer and what makes these products stand out.
Versatile, full-featured car stereos
The Sony Mobile ES head units are designed for amazing sound and versatility in system design options. Everything about these stereos is built for audiophile-level performance. Even the oversized, capacitive HD touchscreens are over-designed for quick, precise response and enhanced visual performance. A full connectivity suite includes Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, Bluetooth®, and a USB-C port to connect your smartphone or thumb drive.
Check out our expert's overview of the XAV-9500ES stereo:
Car stereos built for high-res audio – even over Bluetooth streaming
The XAV-9000ES and XAV-9500ES Mobile ES head units deliver incredibly detailed high-resolution sound, thanks to the onboard premium ESS digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with 32-bit processing and premium components. The stereos will play high-resolution WAV, FLAC, and ALAC audio files, and DSD files via 192 kHz/24-bit PCM conversion. Sony's proprietary LDAC™ audio technology allows streaming Bluetooth audio at bitrates up to 96 kHz / 24-bit sampling, much higher than conventional Bluetooth.
The digital signal processing (DSP) toolbox offers pristine sound processing and time alignment, a 14-band graphic equalizer, and an 8-band parametric equalizer. Together with the updated 3-zone crossover, which enables bi-amping the front 2-way speaker settings, you can dial in the perfect combination of front speakers, rear speakers, and subwoofers.
Superp build quality
Like everything in the Mobile ES line, carefully selected components ensure superb sound quality. Audiophile-grade capacitors deliver effortless power for clear, tight bass and help provide low overall harmonic distortion and natural sound. The left and right channels each have a dedicated power circuit, while the overall amplifier block includes precise circuit configurations and high-end components, minimizing interference.
The volume control circuit prevents distortion and noise, resulting in smooth highs, tight bass, wide dynamic range, and a more accurate soundstage. The dual-layer chassis design separates analog and digital circuitry, preventing electromagnetic interference.
All of this fancy talk means that these Sony Mobile ES stereos are designed to deliver incredible details and clarity from your hi-res music.
Cameras and steering wheel controls
You can view up to three connected cameras on the home screen. You can set up front view, rear view, side cameras activated by the turn signals, and of course, a standard backup camera. The backup camera view has an adjustable parking guide.
The Mobile ES head units are compatible with iDatalink's Maestro® RR and RR2 interface modules, allowing you to retain your vehicle's steering wheel audio controls, factory infotainment systems, and other factory features. Read more about vehicle integration and iDatalink.
Mobile ES amplfiers – clean, clear power
Sony's Mobile ES car amplifiers are designed with pristine, high-res sound as the goal in every detail. High-quality components yield superior performance, and the amplifiers' features give you flexibility in configuring your ultimate audio system.
These powerful Class D amps are available with up to eight output channels to give you the widest possible variety of system options. The series includes a mono amplifier designed to bring the best out of your subwoofers while working in tandem with your main amp.
The Mobile ES multi-channel amps feature signal summing, which combines the separated treble, mid, and bass outputs from your car's factory system to give you the full frequency range of your source material. You can also use the preamp outputs to send the combined line-level signal to other amps for even more system design options.
Here's Crutchfield trainer J.R. talking about these Mobile ES amplifiers:
Solid construction also aids in creating better sound. The amplifiers are built on a cross-braced bottom plate to reduce resonance by approximately 50% and shift resonance peaks away from the harsh vehicle vibration frequency bands. This dramatically upgrades noise damping over conventional amplifiers. Gold-plated terminals give you a solid connection and accept up to 8-gauge wire so you'll get clean, strong signal. The control panel is logically arrayed and clearly labelled for setup.
If you want more information about choosing the right amplfier for your system, read our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.
Full-range speakers with superb performance
For the best sound, you need speakers that reproduce sound with clarity and can handle sufficient power to rock your world. The Mobile ES car speakers are available in a variety of configurations to fit your needs and your vehicle, including 6-1/2" and 6"x9" 2-way coaxial speakers and 2-way and 3-way component systems for better sound and control.
Check out our Mobile ES speakers review video:
As Mobile ES gear, these speaks are over-designed to over-perform. The speakers will handle lots of power (90 watts RMS for the 6-1/2" speakers and up to 110 watts RMS for the 6"x9" speakers) and are built to turn that power into incredible sound. The tweeters use a soft-dome synthetic fiber and neodymium magnet for crystal-clear highs. Their upper-end frequency response of 40 kHz makes them perfect for high-res audio reproduction.
The woofer cones are made from a rigid, "cellular aramid fiber-matrix" woofer material that provides the stiffness needed to fight distortion and the responsiveness of a light-weight material. The rubber surround uses a proprietary design to help keep the cone moving smoothly, and a reinforced basket supports the cone for higher power handling and less distortion.
These speakers will fit in a lot of vehicles and will definitely sound best when powered by an aftermarket stereo or an outboard amplifier. Use our vehicle selector tool to see if these Sony speakers will fit in your car.
Mobile ES subwoofers – the living end in low end
For great sound in your car, you need the solid bass only a subwoofer can provide. The Sony Mobile ES Series subwoofers are engineered to handle up to 500 watts RMS of power (450w RMS for the 10" sub) for bass that can overcome any road noise and deliver the kind of clear, realistic sound that makes your music come alive.
The subwoofer cones are made of lightweight, rigid cellular aramid fiber-matrix material with a honeycomb structure that creates additional rigidity for reduced distortion. Sony's acoustically optimized spider and "five beam" basket are designed to support the cone for higher power handling and less distortion, while the proprietary surround helps keep the cone on track. These subs feature gold-plated terminals that accept wire up to 8-gauge wire for improved signal quality, and are available in 2- or 4-ohm impedance to fit into almost any system.
These subwoofers will deliver solid bass that sounds great. Your choice of box will determine whether that bass is tight and accurate or loud and boomy. Either way, these subs will deliver. Read our article about choosing a subwoofer box for more information.
Check out our Mobile ES speakers review video:
We hope we've made clear how outstanding this Sony Mobile ES gear is. Check out the full selection of Sony Mobile ES Series gear for all the details for each product.
If you're considering upgrading to Mobile ES, be sure to use our vehicle selector tool to find out if this premium gear is the right fit for your ride. And if you have any questions about this Sony gear or any other products we carry, you can contact our friendly advisors via phone or chat.